With Respect To Time


Yesterday’s post “This is what I believe” I make the following 4 statements:

  • Information is proportional to the rate of change of data with respect to time
  • Knowledge is proportional to the rate of change of information with respect to time
  • Innovation is proportional to the rate of change of  knowledge with respect to time
  • Wisdom is proportional to the rate of change of innovation with respect to time

In clinical terms, this is called a “Differential Equation”

I always get a lot of questions about these.  Most people’s eyes glaze over as their expression goes blank with far off images of high school Calculus class.  Few people realize that these relationships are so common and so intuitive that we are all  performing “Calculus” in many of their thoughts, words, actions, opinions, observations, and conclusions about the world around us.

But, just in case there is any doubt about the pervasiveness of differential equations in our culture and thinking, listen to the experts:

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Move fast and break things” – Mark Zuckerberg

The idea here is that it’s OK to fail because this is how learning happens (rate of change of knowledge) but make sure you do it fast (with respect to time) because the objective is to innovate, not to not make mistakes.

honor your creativity and you don’t ever ignore it or go against what that creative image is telling you. – Lady Gaga

Here she is referring to the proportionality component of creativity. The magnitude of the inspiration (rate of change of one’s knowledge of a matter) is greater than all other thinking moments, but it is constrained in time (with respect to time).

“The Googly thing is to launch [products] early on Google Labs and then iterate, – Merissa Mayer, Google VP

Marissa is talking about Wisdom.  While innovation is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge, wisdom is proportional to the rate of change of innovation.  The speed at which Google can innovate is how Google creates wisdom of what to do next.

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Here are a few more. See if you can spot the differential equation:

“What Mark worries about the most is the lack of change, the lack of innovation” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook

“Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.”– Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com

“It’s always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone’s forgotten.’” – Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief, Vogue Magazine

All technology starts as a spark in someone’s brain”. – Nathan Myhrvold, Intellectual Ventures (hint: sparks travel at the speed of light)

“As people innovate and learn faster, they help generate new ways of performance improvements for everyone while progressing toward their own higher goals” – John Hagel, The Big Shift

Differential Equations are used to describe a vast array of phenomena in our physical universe.

These include the the forces of particles in motion, diffusion of medicine through cell walls, the decay of radioactive substances, and effects of gravity on bodies, weather, energy, chemical reactions, even the creation of money itself.  It should not be a shock then that bankers, CEOs, politicians, and all “investors” are not actually concerned with money, they are concerned with the rate of change of money with respect to time.

The question now becomes, why would their NOT be an algorithm for human values of knowledge, innovation, and wisdom when there is an algorithm for everything else with respect to time.  

Additional information can be fount here: Exoquant; an algorithm for Social Capitalism 

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