You Have to Break Connections to Get Your Ideas to Spread

Tim Kastelle, John Steen, Innovation Leadership Network, Mar 19, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

While there is no doubt that connections break as well as form, there is something wrong here. Part of it, no doubt, resonates from the unstated assumption that ownership (of, say, a car) constitutes a connection. This leaves me uneasy. Another part of it is that the author confuses mass-media marketing - getting your ideas to spread - with network formation. Basically, the author is using network terminology to talk about the well-known phenomenon of vendor lock-in. And in this way it confuses personal habits with social connections. "Even if you're introducing a simple new way of doing things, you have to get people to disconnect from the old ways too."
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