January 5, 2010

From Pong to the iTablet. Americans invent some cool things.

A lot of people bet against American ingenuity this past year, figuring the Great Housing Ponzi Scheme would be the end of everything good, and that we'd never recover.


Yes, a bunch of bankers, realtors and congressmen conspired to steal trillions, and ruin lives.

Yes, our government is corrupt, hopeless and incompetent.

Yes, we're trillions and trillions in the hole.

But that doesn't mean America, and Americans, can't do great things. Come up with the big ideas. Invent the next new amazing thing. Destroy laggard businesses and products. And change the way people live their lives, for the better.

They can. And they will.

The telephone. The PC. The internet. Automobiles. Airplanes. Light bulbs. TV's. Spaceships. Puffs Plus with Lotion and Vicks. Cocoa Puffs. The cotton gin. Air conditioning. Nuclear bombs.

Next up: The iTablet. (sorry, Kindle, thanks for playing).

God bless America. Or at least the good folks at Apple.

(disclosure - of course I own AAPL)


Anonymous said...

very true!
No need to be all doom and gloom all the time. US remains by far the #1 research country in the world. If you are a bright student and you want the mean to do good research most of the best university are in the states.

Mark in San Diego said...

The iTablet will finally get me off my PC butt, and go Apple. . .Vista was the last straw, and I am NOT upgrading to Win7. . .

The thing I hate most about the current political climate is propping up Zombie companies from GM to banks to most airlines. . .let the weak fail so the strong can survive.

Andrew from Russia said...

When everyone believes in "growth" and "innovation" you know what happens.
Just like credit, innovation can be misdirected, and just like houses, inventions can be oversupplied (typing this on a clickety-clack keyboard in an rxvt text terminal on an 8-year old Athlon XP box).
Oh, and how did the shares of Radio Corp. of America fare in 1930s? Was this company not innovative enough for its time? :)

Bukko_in_Australia said...

And how many of those kewl new things are made in America, by American workers, who would then have American money to spend propping up the American economy? Maybe zero? But we can't have protectionism for American workers, can we?

Anonymous said...

You are right on the spot Bukko. American ingenuity invents and overseas labor builds. Just think, back when Daddy Bush talked about a new world order, no one really fully understood what the hell he was talking about. Well, we sure do know now and it isn't pretty.

Banana Republicrat said...

Keith, of course, I hope you're right, but I wonder if the housing bubble is not just a symptom of our new globalized world. Isn't the real reason our politicians kowtow to our financial services industry because of TBTF?

Global corporations like AIG, Citi, et al have a gun to our heads. If we let the destruction part of "creative destruction" occur the world economy will abandon us. This is the lesson from Lehman Bros: if we institute fair play the financial services industry will take their money and go find a friendlier sandbox. Zygmun Bauman wrote a great book about this called "Globalization: The Human Consequences" (it's the "Manias, Panics, and Crashes" of modern sociology)

Without the regulatory will or the power to direct their economies, governments have been reduced to stacking the deck for business and policing citizens (in order for them to be fleeced in an orderly, civilized manner)--lucky us.

After all, the Chinese invented paper, gun powder--and shortly thereafter the original "bomb", pasta, printing, the compass, the fork, silk, cast iron, the toothbrush, and dominoes (I see your Pong and raise you!) Just because a culture is at the top of its productivity/wealth game doesn't mean it will stay that way.

Randy said...


Right on!

Anonymous said...

I don't want to underestimate the contributions of Americans to the car industry, but the automobile was invented in Germany by a German named Karl Benz.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you still own your APPL. I recall you getting trashed in the comment section back in late 2008 as you had announced buying AAPL at about #130 (I think) and it was down at the time at $90. Well played.

Anonymous said...

Hail! Hail! The Engineers!

(Or anyone who actually makes something or adds value to society.)

Anonymous said...

Nice... but hardly ground breaking.

I think the next big breakthrough from American scientists is going to be in the medical field with regards to the regeneration of body parts:


The good thing about America was (is?) that it always gave the smarter guy the ability to build a better mousetrap. Unfortunately, now everything is looked at through the lens of "National Security".

Honestly, if you developed a machine, that would completely replace gasoline and be cost effective - how long do you think you'd have before you'd be bumped off? Does anyone think that Tesla would have a fair shake today? He had enough trouble back then; today - he wouldn't last 5 minutes. And yet, every time you plug something into an electrical outlet (anywhere on the planet) you have him to thank for it.

The fact is that every nation can succeed - as long as the elite and aristocracy don't make so much bureaucracy that it keeps people under (their) control. The US was the first country to break free from the kings and queens of Europe (and other foreign entanglements) and gave people real freedom - which led to an incredible step forward for humanity as well as an enrichment of the nation.

However, now the US is at the same point as Europe and the rest of the planet. There is an entrenched elite, where generations of family members rule, and fear their citizenry causing the creation of laws designed to revoke the freedoms guaranteed by the constituion and the bill of rights.

The end result - freedoms are slowly taken away until no new innovation (which isn't proscribed by the government / elite / aristocracy) is allowed.

Just think about the roasted american snapper turtle.

The founding fathers realized that above all else, above innovation, intelligence, wealth, power, security, or anything else, the most important thing is freedom and liberty. Without it, you're just a monkey in a gilded cage.

Anonymous said...

i'd love to play some pong with you keith man,
the itablet will be big, i think, especially as the digital medical record trend takes hold. all the doctors i know love showing off their new toys, and an itablt will be the perfect hospital toy...

i think in general the trend in things will be towards smaller, lighter, more portable stuff, like itblets. you know, who can afford their storage lockers anymore??


Anonymous said...

There is no doubt about it, America has earned a top spot in the history books and will be remembered for many many hundreds, if not thousands of years. Unless, of course, the Chinese premiere disallows any reference to America in the world history books!

Alex Biohazardous said...

Shame though that innovations today in the USA have only one motive: profit.And even in the case of the "moral" inventor,the corporations are waiting in the next turn.:-(

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