Anti-Disparagement Starts with Trust

An article in today’s Guardian mentioned some details of a deal between Microsoft and former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.  The jist of the deal is that Sinofsky, in exchange for a payout from Microsoft, will not seek employment at Apple, Google, Facebook or Amazon until post-2014.

That’s certainly understandable.  Although I think that technology is moving quickly enough that a 6-month hiatus from one of Tech’s Big 5 would clear out any useful info, Sinofsky was a senior exec and a one-time confidante of Bill Gates.  So the extended period makes sense.

It’s the second part of the agreement that makes me sad.  The agreement includes a “mutual non-disparagement clause” which prevents Sinofsky from being publicly critical of Microsoft.  (One can presume that Microsoft would be perfectly comfortable with public praise.)

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The Speed of Knowledge

Genetic Code June 2013In 1987, the US Department of Energy announced a 15-year project to map the human genome, with a projected start date of 1990.  By 2000, scientists working on the project submitted a draft of the human genome, and submitted the final fully-mapped genome by April of 2003.

Yesterday, Eric Lander spoke about the project at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival, illuminating the stunning progress that has been made in the decade that has passed since we completed the first map of a single human being’s genome.

That’s what I want to write about here.  Not just the progress of this particular scientific achievement, but the exponential speed of progress when a community is focused on a goal.  And the economics society experiences as products and services move from invention to mass production. Continue reading