“New industries start with people having fun.”

by Bernard De Koven on July 25, 2012

“There is a prevailing mythology that new industries start when creative entrepreneurs with ideas for new businesses meet venture capitalists,” writes Tim O’Reilly in his article Faire Play,  “The reality turns out to be different. New industries start with people having fun.”

“Most of the people,” he continues, “who launched the personal computer industry three decades ago weren’t entrepreneurs; they were kids to whom the idea of owning their own computer was absurdly exciting. Programming was like a drug – no, better than a drug, or joining a rock band, and certainly better than any job they could imagine…

“The World Wide Web started out just the same. At first, no one took it seriously as a place to make money. It was all about the joy of sharing your work, the rush of clicking on a link and connecting with another computer half the world away, and constructing similar destinations for your peers.”

“To be sure, it is those entrepreneurs,” notes O’Reilly sagely, “who saw that this world driven by a passion for discovery and sharing could become the cradle of a new economy. They found backers, shaped the toy into a tool, and built the businesses that turned a movement into an industry.”

So it’s not just the people who have fun inventing things, but also the people who have fun inventing new ways to make money that lead fortunate few to their fortunes. But there’s no denying that it pays to play. And, apparently, it pays a lot better nowadays.

It pays to pay attention to fun, to what you do for fun, to what it feels like when it is the most fun, to the people who share that kind of fun with you. Not just financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, entirely. And if whether or not you are fortunate enough to have followed your fun all the way to the bank, fun is the fortune worth seeking.

O’Reilly’s article continues to reflect on how fun is behind much of the “Maker movement,” which he calls a “sprawling mélange of joyful play with sensors and robots and 3D printers that has been growing unseen under the noses of venture capitalists for years.” The article was found in Play, the current issue of Think Quarterly.

Link via Chris Saeger

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