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Good Ideas Are Still Having Sex

Good Ideas

More people on the planet are enjoying the fruits of innovation and exchange than any time in human history.

Matt Ridley of Rational Optimist fame explained today’s global bounty is largely a result of ideas having sex. In his famous TED talk, he said:

And it’s this combination, this cumulative technology, that intrigues me, because I think it’s the secret to understanding what’s happening in the world. My body’s an accumulation of ideas too: the idea of skin cells, the idea of brain cells, the idea of liver cells. They’ve come together. How does evolution do cumulative, combinatorial things? Well, it uses sexual reproduction.

Engine plus carriage = horseless carriage. Phone plus computer = iPhone. You get the idea.

So much of human flourishing comes from good ideas being mated with other good ideas. But with the experience economy on the horizon, this gene pool is about to get interesting. Consider:

Now, not every set of ideas that has sex has beautiful children. But the process of human flourishing unfolds through smart experiments and iteration. So, what kind of ideas can you mate? Your conceptual hybrid might be the next billion-dollar company.


  • tiffanymadison

    Great piece!