The Truth about Permission-less Innovation

Netopia has argued against the notion of “permission-less innovation” before. The idea that innovation is so great that it trumps everything else, including the law. Permission-less supposedly means that you don’t have to ask for permission to innovate, which is a given, but also that if the innovator breaks a few laws and rules in the process, that should be disregarded. The law (and rules in general) can be thought of as a synthesis of lessons learned, a way to avoid repeating mistakes. The permission-less innovation trump card actually says “I’m an innovator and that makes me so much smarter than anyone who has lived and their learnings have no relevance for me”. Preposterous would be to say the least. Also, of course permission-less innovation has limits, also for its most devoted proponents. If your innovation kills people, the will be consequences. It turns out permission-less innovation is more a smoke-screen to hide the principle of monetizing the work of others, which has been such a success strategy for many internet companies.

A new book by Jonathan Taplin – Move Fast and Break Things (Macmillan 2017) – adds to this by looking at the core ideology and roots of some of today’s dominant internet players. Here is an excerpt.

If the name Jonathan Taplin sounds familiar, it may be because this blog has often linked to his talk Sleeping Through a Revolution. It is worth watching again.