- Global Positioning System (GPS)
GPS uses satellites to compute positioning in 3D space, allowing automatic mapping and advanced navigation. The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite on October 4, 1957. Sputnik did nothing but send out radio pings audible on radio receivers on earth. Conveniently, they launched the satellite to fly over then arch-enemy the United States. As scientists … Continue reading "Global Positioning System (GPS)"
- Assault Rifle
Assault rifles can shoot repeatedly and rapidly without reloading. Nazi’s realized that in most fire-fights soldiers were less than 400 meters. While traditional machines guns could shoot considerably further, their range was unhelpful. Furthermore, the weight of both the weapons and ammunition became a liability. In response, Nazi’s invented a light weapon with smaller and … Continue reading "Assault Rifle"
- Surgical Anesthesia
Anesthesia enables modern surgery, reducing pain and risk. Before anesthesia, patients were held down and surgeons would have to operate quickly. Amputations were common because surgeons did not have the time to do more complicated work before a patient went into shock from the pain. Ether is the first anesthesia. William Morton, a dentist, is … Continue reading "Surgical Anesthesia"
- Blue Ocean Strategy Basics – Value Innovation
An introduction to the core of blue ocean strategy Blue Ocean Strategy is a strategic framework and the name of a bestselling 2005 book written by Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne published by Harvard Business Review. The book is based on a series of articles published in Harvard Business Review starting in the 1990s. This … Continue reading "Blue Ocean Strategy Basics – Value Innovation"
- Why not Wikipedia? Deletionists.
There is a major problem with Wikipedia, deletionists. Deletionists, as the name suggests, get off on deleting things. They tear down rather than build up. Why would they want to do this? There are two primary reasons. First, it is an easy way to increase the number of Wikipedia edits which increases the visibility and … Continue reading "Why not Wikipedia? Deletionists."
As described in the post about rubber, Charles Goodyear created the vulcanization plastic making mass-market rubber possible. Goodyear’s durable rubber enabled an entire field of new products from tires to raincoats. However, rubber is both thick and spongy, giving it limited utility. Nobody is going to create a rubber telephone and a rubber water bottle … Continue reading "Plastic"
- Portable Ventilator
Ventilators breathe for people when they cannot breathe on their own. John Emerson was a physician focused on breathing devices who developed the first mass produced iron lung. Building on Emerson’s work, Bird developed the portable ventilator and, later, created a company, Bird Corp., to commercialize it. Bird Corp. created a home ventilator in 1965, … Continue reading "Portable Ventilator"
- Peer-To-Peer File Sharing (Napster)
File sharing allows one computer to connect anonymously with others, sending and receiving files. Most files were single-track MP3s of copyright music. Background The original theory was that because mixtapes were legal then noncommercial “sharing” of any music was legal. The legality of mixtapes, a collection of songs from other tapes, stems from a US … Continue reading "Peer-To-Peer File Sharing (Napster)"
- American Pop Culture
In the roaring ’20s, after WWI, Americans were coming into their own, developing a culture that was distinctly not European but also no longer a country of rugged settlers. Background At 26, Walt Disney was on the train to success, literally. Riding from his upstart studio in Los Angeles to New York to finalize and … Continue reading "American Pop Culture"
- Hybrid Corn
Genetic modification by people have produced virtually all plants and animals in the western world. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts are all derived from a wild mustard plant in Europe. None of these vegetables exist but-for early genetic engineering. Similarly, all dogs, cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens are modern man-made creations. Scientists … Continue reading "Hybrid Corn"
- Electric Arc Furnace
Electric arc furnaces are giant pots that melt steel. They enable the recycling of scrap steel. Recycled steel both costs far less than creating steel from raw materials and has a lower environmental impact. The process involves three-phase electrodes which create an arc that reaches about 3000°C (5400°F). Frenchman Paul Héroult (co-inventor of aluminum smelting) … Continue reading "Electric Arc Furnace"
- Integrated Circuits (Microchips)
In early electronic computers, each circuit involved a vacuum tube. They were large, relatively slow, and consumed a lot of power. Shockley, Brattain, and Bardeen created the semiconductor. Their circuits eliminated the need for vacuum tubes. Kilby and Noyce discovered that semiconducting material held burned-in semiconductor circuits. Their printed circuits worked like the much larger … Continue reading "Integrated Circuits (Microchips)"
- Modern Management (Wedgwood)
Modern management, marketing, and high-end sales to ordinary people make pottery company Wedgwood a management innovator. Pottery dates back to ancient times. Fragments of pottery in China date back 20,000 years. Since then, for the most part, wherever archeologists find people they also find pottery. Therefore, opening a pottery manufacturer, especially in the 1700s, intuitively … Continue reading "Modern Management (Wedgwood)"
- Controlled Drug Delivery
Controlled drug delivery is a simpler and more convenient way to slowly release drugs than taking low-dose pills or injections at frequent intervals. Additionally, it also lowers the risk of incorrect dosage. Zaffaroni invented controlled (slow) release drugs, mimicking the way the body releases hormones. Eventually, he created many pharma companies that went on to … Continue reading "Controlled Drug Delivery"
- Overnight Mail
FedEx is the first overnight mail delivery service. At the time, the idea was widely derided. Before FedEx, the only way to reliably deliver a package quickly was via overnight courier, an extremely expensive option. In 1965, Yale undergrad student Fred Smith wrote a paper describing the idea as an undergraduate in Yale. Smith reasoned … Continue reading "Overnight Mail"