Crazy Ideas and What to Do About Them
By Ryan McGreal
Published November 09, 2012
John Graham-Cumming is an English programmer well-known in tech circles for his creativity, playfulness and audacity. He is best known for having led the successful campaign to get the British goverment to apologize posthumously for persecuting Alan Turing after World War II.
In addition to his full-time job, he is currently running a non-profit organization with the goal of building Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, the world's first computer, which Babbage designed in 1837 but never built. He is also the author of The Geek Atlas, a 544-page travel book for nerds, and maintains a popular blog on his website.
Some of his recent pet projects include a computerized high-altitude balloon, a homemade water rocket, robot odometer, a "Simon" game in an Altoids can, and a live bus monitor inside a model bus.
How does he do it? Where does he get the ideas? In a talk to the Hacker News London Meetup, Graham-Cumming provides the kernel of an answer.
- Good ideas often sound stupid when you first hear them.
- It's easy to come up with lots of reasons why an idea can't possibly work.
- Ideas are fragile: you need to record, protect and nurture them.
- Ideas are reactive: when nurtured, they easily combine with other ideas.
- Big ideas aren't harder to realize than small ones, and may be easier.
- Don't overthink problems. Stop what you're doing and go someplace else.
- Speak your ideas out loud, even if it is to a stuffed bear.
- Be courageous, charming, and reasonably unreasonable in promoting your idea.
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