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"it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Fri Jan 12, 2001 3:01 pm

Hi. This is from the MSNBC site that you should definitely read. Something huge is coming that will change our lives. What do you think IT is????? The reason I am not just creating a link is because I don't know how long that page will be on their site. Here it is the amazing article...

Book proposal adds to ‘IT’ mystery

Invention said to be bigger than PCs and the Internet By PJ Mark INSIDE.COM

Jan. 9 — Harvard Business School Press executive editor Hollis Heimbouch has just paid $250,000 for a book about IT — but neither the editor nor the agent, Dan Kois of The Sagalyn Literary Agency, knows what IT is.

ALL THEY DO know: IT, also code-named Ginger, is an invention developed by 49-year-old scientist Dean Kamen, and the subject of a planned book by journalist Steve Kemper. According to Kemper’s proposal, IT will change the world, and is so extraordinary that it has drawn the attention of technology visionaries Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs and the investment dollars of pre-eminent Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr, among others. Kemper — who has been published in Smithsonian, National Geographic and Outside among others — has had exclusive access to Kamen and the engineers at his New Hampshire-based research and development company, DEKA, for the past year and a half. He tags the proposed book as Soul of the New Machine meets The New New

Thing and won over his agent and publisher with e-mails describing the project in carefully couched language. He also included an amusing narrative of a meeting between Bezos, Jobs, Doerr and Kamen. In the proposal, Doerr calls Kamen — who was just awarded the National Medal of Technology, the country’s highest such award — a combination of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. Doerr also says, a touch ominously, that he had been sure that he wouldn’t see the development of anything in his lifetime as important as the World Wide Web — until he saw IT. According to the proposal, another investor, Credit Suisse First Boston, expects Kamen’s invention to make more money in its first year than any start-up in history, predicting Kamen will be worth more in five years than Bill Gates. Jobs told Kamen the invention would be as significant as the PC, the proposal says.

And though there are no specifics in the proposal as to what the invention is, there are some tantalizing clues. Is IT an energy source? Some sort of environmentally friendly personal transport device? One editor who saw the proposal went as far as to speculate — jokingly (perhaps) — that IT was a type of personal hovering craft. Consider the following items, culled from the proposal:

nIT is not a medical invention.
nIn a private meeting with Bezos, Jobs and Doerr, Kamen assembled two Gingers — or ITs — in 10 minutes, using a screwdriver and hex wrenches from components that fit into a couple of large duffel bags and some cardboard boxes.
nThe invention has a fun element to it, because once a Ginger was turned on, Bezos started laughing his “loud, honking laugh”.
nThere are possibly two Ginger models, named Metro and Pro — and the Metro may possibly cost less than $2,000.
nBezos is quoted as saying that IT “...is a product so revolutionary, you’ll have no problem selling it. The question is, are people going to be allowed to use it?”
nJobs is quoted as saying: “...If enough people see the machine you won’t have to convince them to architect cities around it. It’ll just happen.”
nKemper says the invention will “sweep over the world and change lives, cities, and ways of thinking.”
nThe “core technology and its implementations” will, according to
Kamen, “have a big, broad impact not only on social institutions but some billion-dollar old-line companies.” And the invention will “profoundly affect our environment and the way people live worldwide. It will be an alternative to products that are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities.”
nIT will be a mass-market consumer product “likely to run afoul of existing regulations and or inspire new ones,” according to Kemper. The invention will also likely require “meeting with city planners, regulators, legislators, large commercial companies and university presidents about how cities, companies and campuses can be retro-fitted for Ginger.”

The invention itself is as interesting as the inventor. Kamen — “a true eccentric, cantankerous and opinionated, a great character,” according to the proposal — dropped out of college in his 20s, then invented the first drug infusion pump; he later created the first portable insulin pump and dialysis machine.

Kamen, an avid aviator who commutes via a helicopter, is also the founder of FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — a nonprofit organization that encourages young people to pursue studies and careers in math and science. He’s a single man obsessed with his work and out of touch with popular culture. According to the proposal, Kamen was seated at a White House dinner next to two people he’d never heard of: Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty.

Kamen’s most recent invention is the iBot, an off-road wheelchair that can climb stairs, cover sand and gravel and rise to balance on two wheels. A prototype iBot was showcased by wheelchair-bound journalist John Hockenberry at least year’s TED conference in Monterrey, Calif.; the demonstration was greeted by wild applause.

IT/Ginger won’t be revealed until 2002, the proposal says. No one has seen the project except Kamen, Kemper, the engineers and the investors — which include Doerr, a partner in the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which helped launch Netscape, Amazon, Juniper Networks, Excite, and @Home, among others; and MichaelSchmertzler, managing director of Credit Suisse First Boston. Others who have seen the invention and signed confidentiality agreements include minor investors Paul Allaire, CEO of Xerox; and Vern Loucks, recently retired CEO of Baxter. Bezos, Jobs and writer/venture capitalist Randy Komisar sit on the advisory board. Kamen retains 85 percent of his new company, according to the proposal.

Why the secrecy? Kamen fears, as he states in a letter to Kemper that is included in the proposal, that “huge corporations” might catch wind of the invention and “use their massive resources to erect obstacles against us or, worse, simply appropriate the technology by assigning hundreds of engineers to catch up to us, and thousands of employees to produce it in their plants.”

But such secrecy may have been enough to turn publishers away. “The Internet changed the world, too” said one editor who considered the project, “but books about it don’t really sell.” As for the quarter-million-dollar price tag for North American rights: on the one hand, it doesn’t seem to be a lot for a book about an invention which has mesmerized such well-known technology moguls. On the other, $250,000 is a lot to pay for a story about a product that hasn’t been seen, defined or named.

“We were well aware of Kamen,” says book editor Heimbouch, who says she’s been publishing in this technology circle for a long time.” (The bestselling The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur by Komisar is hers.) So jumping on board for the book wasn’t such a dilemma. Besides, says Heimbouch, Harvard anyway. “He’s an inventor of great technologies that make people’s lives better,” she says.

Harvard Business School Press, a division of Harvard Business School Publishing, is a wholly owned , not for profit subsidiary of Harvard University. The Sagalyn Agency retains all but North American rights to the book.

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RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 5:37 am

I saw something about that on TV yesterday. They were interviewing a person who knows what IT is, and he thinks that on the level of importance, it's right up there between the internet and cold fusion. He also said that every house will have several. IT sounds really interesting.

RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 5:52 am


It's some sort of scooter/unicycle, so it is reported in the NY Times...

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RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 5:56 am

I think it will be something that will be a replacement for cars, or at least something that will allow people to be more efficiently transported.

Aaron G.
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RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 6:28 am

I think it has something to do with transportation also. Maybe aviation. Who knows, but it sounds very interesting to me, I can't wait to see what it is and sure I will want one.  

RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 6:37 am

IT will be a big hype for nothing...like the Millenium Meltdown.
UAL Bagsmasher
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RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 6:50 am

"IT" is probably a big bunch of BS 

RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 8:43 am

I think IT is a bunch of hot air. If this guy doesn't quit with all the hype, there are going to be a lot of disappointed people out there....
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RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Sat Jan 13, 2001 9:14 am

Information Technology  
Posts: 549
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 6:08 am


Mon Jan 15, 2001 1:18 pm

It turns out that IT was just hype. This was on MSNBC.com.


Inventor of ‘IT’
dampens speculation

Project ‘promising,’ Kamen says, but hype is overblown


NEW YORK, Jan. 14 — The inventor who has been the subject of a frenzy of speculation over a new gadget said to be more important than the Internet has stepped forward to deny that he has any such “earth-shattering” project in the works.

‘We have a promising project, but nothing of the earth-shattering nature that people are conjuring up.’
inventor “WE HAVE a promising project, but nothing of the Earth-shattering nature that people are conjuring up,” Dean Kamen, president of Manchester, New Hampshire-based DEKA Research, said in a statement referring to one of his forthcoming inventions.
Kamen, the millionaire inventor of devices such as a portable insulin pump and a wheelchair that climbs stairs, said he felt compelled to comment on speculation arising from an ”unfortunate, unapproved leak” in a book proposal about him.
Kamen’s invention is reportedly the subject of a forthcoming book from Harvard Business School Press.
The planned book about the mystery invention described it as having the backing of high-tech leaders such as Apple Computer Co. co-founder Steve Jobs and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and to be of great social and economic importance, according to an article by Inside.com published on Tuesday.

The story set in motion a wave of speculation in media and over the Internet as to whether the invention might be some revolutionary new type of computer, or some sort of personal transportation device that functioned like a hovercraft.
Kamen, who had remained quiet initially, issued a statement late Friday saying that several of the comments cited in the book proposal had been taken out of context. Harvard Business School Press has declined to comment on any plans for such a book.
“The leaked proposal quoted several prominent technology leaders out of context, without their doubts, risks and maybes included,” Kamen said. ”This, together with spirited speculation about the unknown, has led to expectations that are beyond the mere whimsical.”
Kamen was recently awarded a National Medal of Technology.

RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Mon Jan 15, 2001 2:09 pm

warp drive

RE: "it" Will Change Our Lives, But What Is It?

Mon Jan 15, 2001 3:26 pm

Its just hype people!!!!!

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