Developed by Brian Hanley, Master's of Engineering degree candidate at Lehigh University

Developed by Brian Hanley, Master's of Engineering degree candidate at Lehigh University
Once a history major, I'm now making history developing innovative products to improve processes. I'm not a millionaire. I'm an expert at nothing. I'm simply here to share what I've learned.

TE

“Entrepreneurs cannot be afraid of failure. The lessons learned from past mistakes strengthen your skill set, broaden your experience base and position you to avoid those same mistakes in the future” - Dr. Michael Lehman, Professor of Practice, Lehigh University

 

I  created a failure résumé to demonstrate how specific failures (academic, professional, and personal) have strengthened my skill set and fortified my experience base. However, unlike your traditional résumé, this one is rapped while I longboard at potentially dangerous speeds.

 

Trading is an art and practice that every entrepreneur should attempt, and ideally, master.

How to Trade? Easy. Choose a paperclip. Make a trade with someone, exchanging the paperclip for something you perceive to be of greater value. Continue to make trades and see what treasures you can acquire.

By utilizing my social networks and exercising systematic innovation methods along the way, I traded a Paperclip -> Mountainboard -> Nintendo DS -> Microwave & Clarinet. This is how it happened. 

Packed like sardines in my cream colored freezer were pre-cooked dinners. With no microwave to thaw them, I remained doomed to watch the calendar supersede their expiration dates. My ultimate goal for Trade Up was to acquire a microwave and thereby salvage the abundance of icy, rotting food in my freezer. A strange journey loomed in my future.

 

 

 

papercip

 

The Internet is a vibrant marketplace for new and pre-owned automobiles, but not necessarily for used paperclips. During Trade Up, Tony and I sought to capitalize on our market’s strengths. We created a webpage (www.greenpaperclipswap.com) and applied bisocation to force associations between our paperclip and an automobile, hoping to garner customer attention and boost the marketability of our product. Much like a car dealer, we advertised the paperclip’s convenience and entertainment features, which were practically none. Still, the paperclip failed to entice an online customer base. Potential customers remained unimpressed by our attempt at humor, disinterested in a product as commonplace as a green paperclip.

 

paper clip

 

Graduation season upon us, I encountered a young Lehigh alumnus, a mutual friend of my mutual friend, hauling a heap of garbage down Hillside Avenue. Noticing treasure among his trash, I introduced myself and proposed a trade. “Hey, I’m Brian. I’m friends with some of your fraternity brothers. I’m in Lehigh’s Technical Entrepreneurship program. If you’re throwing out that mountainboard…I’ll trade you a paperclip for it… One of my assignments for class…” Long story short, he accepted the terms. We exchanged items and that was that.

board

 

 

As the weeks passed, I grew emotionally attached to the mountainboard. Tony became apprehensive that our inventory was gathering dust. He suggested applying Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats to stir-up our thinking and help mobilize our idle business activities. This particular innovation method led to a creative breakthrough. During the caution step, de Bono’s black hat, we predicted the negative consequences of trading versus maintaining the mountainboard. I was content with keeping it. The mountainboard was unique and a product I deemed valuable for recreational use. According to Google, a mountainboard’s retail cost ranges from roughly $88 to $649. Considering that the paperclip was free, I felt extremely fortunate about our first and only acquisition. On the other hand, several individuals expressed interest in trading for the mountainboard. Apparently they also recognized value in the product and were willing to trade, perhaps, for items of superior value.

 

board2

Before bringing the mountainboard to market however, we applied painstorming to help determine which, if any, customers’ pains our product might remedy. We aimed to fill a customer need rather than create one—to maximize the perceived value of our product—and thereby facilitate more favorable trades. With that in mind, we concentrated on solving environmental pains from which customers needed relief. Lehigh’s campus, notorious for its mountainous terrain, poses numerous environmental problems that a functional mountainboard helps alleviate. The mountainboard, therefore, was well suited for Lehigh students and staff looking to navigate the campus more quickly, with greater ease, and who feel comfortable riding similar, four-wheel apparatuses. Painstorming allowed us to successfully identify the niche market to which we would ultimately target our product.
tradeaway FB

 

Both in person and online, we began promoting the mountainboard. We targeted members of Lehigh’s longboarding community and received positive responses almost immediately. A young man named Fungshuie seemed particularly interested. Fungshuie offered to trade a Nintendo DS (videogame console) for the mountainboard. In my opinion, the mountainboard was far more desirable than the console. However, Fran Puente (a third party member) thought otherwise. Fran was willing to trade almost anything for a Nintendo DS, but he had nothing that interested Fungshuie. To appease Fran, Tony and I accepted Fungshuie’s trade. We recognized the two-pronged opportunity in satisfying both Fungshuie and Fran’s needs in one transaction. We received the Nintendo for the mountainboard and then traded the Nintendo to Fran for a used microwave and clarinet. I secured the microwave I needed, Fungshuie the mountainboard, and Fran the Nintendo. The deal was advantageous for all parties involved. The experience reinforced that it is often valuable to accept a present “down” trade for a future “up” trade—to deliberately take a loss for the sake of moving on. I lost a mountainboard that I wanted but gained a microwave that I absolutely needed.

 

board trade

 

The application of creativity and innovation methods was necessary but not sufficient in the trading process. Applying bisocation, for example, we took a car dealer’s approach to marketing our paperclip. In the end though, our application of bisocation proved feeble. We ended up trading the paperclip in person to a mutual friend. On the other hand, the combination of De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and painstorming helped tremendously to mobilize us during times of stagnation, allowing us to indentify new trading opportunities. Overall, it would be simplistic to attribute the entirety of our trading success to the application of innovation methods. Imperative to our success was the combination of creativity techniques and the maintenance and utilization of strong social networks.

 

For the purpose of continually incorporating innovation methods into my development of new products and services, I have created a creativity chart. Listed in the chart are: False facts, Bisocation, Kano, Trimming, Scamper, Melting Pot, Biomimicry, Blue ocean, Fishbone, Lotus, Painstorming, Six hats, Lateral benchmarking, Learn by discovery, Roger’s five factors, and Circle of opportunity. Imagine, for instance, that I decide to develop new mountainboard designs. I can systematically run each design through the chart, apply all of the aforementioned innovation methods, and generate a creative storm of ideas. Charting the creativity techniques allows for a systematic approach to and application of each innovation method. A more comprehensive, systematic approach to innovation methods results, on average, in richer, more diverse product conceptualization. In both my entrepreneurial studies and entrepreneurial career, I plan to cultivate a concerted approach to innovation through the systematic methods previously discussed.

 

Upon completing Trade Up, I learned that my negotiations were more effective when dealing with the three F’s (friends, family, and fools) rather than complete strangers. I also learned that my networks were strong in certain sectors and relatively weaker in others. When it came time to marketing the mountainboard, for example, I knew personally 20 to 30 potential customers. When we acquired the clarinet, on the other hand, I knew practically no dabbling musicians. Not surprisingly, I traded the mountainboard effortlessly. The clarinet, however, remains in my possession. The lesson learned is clear. There are major advantageous to trading with and selling to customers in markets with which you are personally familiar. I know hundreds of skateboarders but few clarinetists. Going forward in my entrepreneurial career, I will be more inclined to develop products that I enjoy personally—and more likely to target customers whose problems I understand thoroughly.

clarinet

Taken alone, creativity and innovation methods are critical to but insufficient in defining successful entrepreneurship. Such methods inspire businesspeople to challenge uniformity, question norms, and tackle complex problems with outside-of-the-box solutions. For those reasons, I plan to incorporate innovation methods, not only in my entrepreneurial endeavors, but also in my everyday life. When, last week, my neighbors complained about excessively loud music, applying false facts, I discovered that lowering my volume was but one potential solution. I decided instead to soundproof my room’s ceiling and walls. My apartment is now practically impenetrable by sound.

 

Trade Up taught me both to loathe and appreciate the everyday hustle that entrepreneurship demands. Trades and sales do not just happen. People make them happen. When I became emotionally invested in the mountainboard, complacency overtook me. I had to learn to separate the product’s sentimental from its monetary value. Once Tony and I liquefied our assets, we received bigger and better acquisitions. Going forward, by charting and systematically applying innovation methods to problems that I encounter, I can remain multiple steps ahead of my competition.

 

 

fam

My father starts his day long before the sun rises. He lets his coffee brew while the bath water runs. He dresses and then drinks his coffee black, hurrying to consume a full newspaper column before the birds begin chirping. Although he has no boss to check in with and no deadlines to meet, punctuality defines the structure of his professional life.

 

As a nineteen-year-old, my father trash-picked a set of old wicker furniture and turned his findings into a profit. Virtually from thin air, he started what would evolve into a bustling antique business. Growing up immersed in that business, it seemed inevitable that I would learn the trade. I learned early that the key to a successful antique dealer is twofold. First, profit depends on the dealer’s ability to scrutinize furniture with a keen eye in order to most accurately predict its auction value. Second, a consistent income requires that the dealer accumulate product diversity. Wooden chairs, for example, are more lucrative in the dead of winter than outside benches, which tend to fare better in the summer months. Considering the market’s seemingly seasonal appetite, to be successful, the dealer must diversify his or her inventory.

 

As a child, it beleaguered me that my father’s business had no place for innovative products. Because antiques, by most definitions, were created at least one century ago, an antique dealer is responsible, not for product development, but for bringing preexisting products to market. I felt compelled nonetheless to make manifest my creative spirit.

 

When I turned eight, I took initiative, launching a “trash week” service that would save my neighbors invaluable time and energy. My business model was simple. Every Wednesday, I dragged my neighbors’ trashcans from their side yards to their curb for pickup. Every Thursday, I returned to slide the empty cans back to the side yards and collected my dues: $5.00 a house. By the time I was nine, thirteen households employed my service, bringing my weekly earnings to $65.00 and making me undoubtedly the richest nine-year-old on the block.

 

An education from Lehigh University was, aside from life itself, my father’s proudest and most important gift to me. It ensured that my professional future would rest on a more stable foundation than my entrepreneurial spirit alone. My father’s formal education ended when he graduated from high school. It never ceases to amuse him: talking about the careers he could have led, the companies he could have founded, had he gone to college. In covering my Lehigh tuition, my father afforded me the opportunity that evaded him too early in life—the costly education that his own father could not provide.

 

Lehigh’s Professional Master’s of Engineering Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship offers the sort of educational opportunity that my father values most. The program trains business savvy students in the art and practice of launching new companies. The program does not mold students into conformity. On the contrary, it builds upon their individual strengths. It promotes intellectual curiosity while fostering a creative culture. It kindles the sparks that ignite the human genius.

 

Like my father’s, my dream is to establish my own company. A Master’s Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship is the springboard that will launch that dream forward. My mind races with ideas for new products, business models, and branding strategies. A Master’s Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship is the gateway to actualizing those ideas. What I seek above all else is the chance to give tangible expression to the entrepreneurial spirit that has haunted me since birth.

Photograph your subject against a well-lit, uniform background. Side-light adds dramatic effect and back-light creates silhouettes. Composition is everything; here’s an easy way to master it. Break your background down into a grid of nine squares, three columns, three rows. Then, place your subject in any of the four intersections. Boom. Rule of Thirds.

rule-thirds-arrows

a

b

c

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How do we define branding? A brand isn’t a logo. It’s not a product, and it’s definitely not an identity.

According to Marty Neumeier, a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.

So why do we care? Why do brands matter? Well, the marketplace is flooded with myriad choices. Consumers tend to make choices and purchase products based on trust. We prefer Coca-Cola to RC Cola because we’re more trusting of the former. Brands, in general, should be predicated on trust.

The first step of branding is to encapsulate the essence of your brand.

“Who are you? What do you do? Why should I care” (Professor Marc de Vinck)? If you have trouble answering these questions, start from scratch.

The next step is to identify the visual elements (color, design, symbol, name, logotype) of your brand.

These elements are unspeakably important to how customers will respond emotionally to your company.

Brand names should be short, distinct, and easy to spell/remember.

Color affects emotional responses.

Use contrast.

Symbols serve as brand identifiers.

Logos are easily recognizable, graphic representations of your company. Make them simple and memorable.

Below, please find three examples of effective and three examples of ineffective branding. 

Effective branding 1) Subway – Vibrant colors signifying life and healthfulness combine with solid contrast and simplicity to complement Subway’s “eat fresh” slogan.

 subway

Effective branding 2) Horns – Clear, terse, and easy to spell, this boldfaced yellow font is fitting for a restaurant obsessed with friendly vibes and fresh ingredients.
 horns

Effective branding 3) Sands Casino – This sharp, masculine design captivates the feverish energy, risk, and excitement attached to Bethlehem’s premier gambling destination.
sands

Ineffective branding 1) My Weekend Kitchen - In 2009, 74% of the top 50 brands designed logos with a single color. The logo below features four; it’s crowded, tacky, and chaotic. Keep it simple.
my weekend kitchen

Ineffective branding 2) The Foo Foo Shoppe - The logo below is targeting women, but it shouldn’t lead men astray. Men might too enjoy bubble baths. Gender-neutral colors prove far more versatile than the pink logotype below.
the foo foo shoppe

Ineffective branding 3) Artfully Elegant - Don’t claim elegance; prove it. The spiral design below isn’t stylish it’s distracting. The company name appears to be (S)artfully Elegant. This is a serious problem. Font styles should be clean, clear, and uniquely identifiable.
artfully elegant

When it comes to developing mobile apps, no design method is easier or more resource-efficient than paper-based prototyping. In Five Paper Prototyping Tips, Matthew Klee attributes the triumph of paper-based prototyping to its inexpensive and relatively uncomplicated nature. Because paper is particularly economical and easy to work with, Klee argues, developers can make major conceptual modifications throughout the design process. Upon receiving user feedback, for example, it becomes critical that developers can scrap early-stage mock-ups without suffering a crippling economic burden. Generally, developers, with their eyes keenly fixed on the bottom line, prefer scrapping paper to more expensive materials. Moreover, paper mock-ups tend to appear unpolished and unimposing; for that reason, users feel more comfortable criticizing paper than more costly materials. Klee, convinced by the aforementioned reasons, considers paper-based prototyping the single most economical way to incorporate direct customer feedback into any design.

 

In Paper Prototypes: Still Our Favorite, Tara Scanlon provides evidence to support Klee’s contention that paper-based prototypes are highly versatile and efficient. The central point of Scanlon’s article is that paper prototyping facilitates positive team interaction. Paper, Scanlon explains, is so effective because it is something that all members of the development team understand. As opposed to coding an interface, which, when done correctly, requires painstaking practice, there is nothing terribly intimidating about designing paper mock-ups. The development team can sit around one table with pupils fixated on one mock-up, exchanging one conversation at a time. More than any other method, Scanlon contends, paper-based prototyping levels the playing field and encourages all team members to pitch in.

 

In Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping, Jared M. Spool also marvels at the power of paper. When it comes to getting results quickly and effectively, nothing, according to Spool—not even the advancement of technology—trumps paper-based prototyping. Paper is ideal for getting feedback about a design. It is neither demanding nor wasteful. Supporting the arguments provided by both Klee and Scanlon, Spool contends that paper mock-ups are the single most effective way to test the usability and navigation elements of any design.

 

Klee, Scanlon, and Spool’s insights run parallel to my personal experience with paper mock-ups. From paper, I prototyped three different applications for tablets and mobile devices (which I would later test with end users before creating a fourth (and final) design). The first design was a “Food Network Cooking Guide App” that incorporated recipes with live streams of available cooking shows. The second was an app that allowed sentimental social media users to “Frame-A-Text” that they deemed too valuable to delete. The third was a “Signature Identification App,” applicable especially in the realm of fine art collection and scholarship.

mock

mock3

mock2

mock1

 

I found that creating clay mock-ups was convenient for the same reasons as creating paper ones. Clay is relatively cheap and easy to modify. However, it does require some time to fully dry. For that reason, I preferred working with paper.

 

clay

 

Too often, I sought perfection in my prototypes. I wanted to design presentable mock-ups that my end users would appreciate, at least aesthetically. Upon reading Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping, however, I was reminded of an important fact. Developers are concerned, not necessarily with the prototype’s appearance, but with its usability. Whether or not users “like” the prototype is, at the prototyping stage, irrelevant. What is imperative, Spool explains, is that users can use the mock-up.

 

 

In Prototype Testing, Marty Cagan describes the value of testing prototypes with real users. Usability testing, Cagan explains, allows developers to see if customers can figure out how to use specific prototypes. Desirability testing, on the other hand, assesses the actual usefulness of each prototype. Just because a shrewd customer can figure out one particular product does not mean that the product is commercially viable. Therefore, it is important to test prototypes for both usability and desirability before additional resources are squandered on unnecessary development.

 

When it came time to document user feedback, I relied on Cagan’s numerous recommendations. First, I defined the usability tasks I sought to test and the interview questions concerning desirability. My aim was to twofold: to observe untainted user impressions and to test prototypes that required no explanations, for they sufficed in themselves as explanations. I kindly asked that each user remain in “use mode” so that they could figure out each prototype firsthand. Gauging value, I then asked if each user would pay for the prototype. Lastly, I had each user assign a numerical score (1-10) to each prototype. This allowed me to track averages and assess which prototypes prompted more positive user feedback.

 

The feedback helped me enormously. I learned the answers to two important questions, both of which Ulrich and Eppinger discuss in Product Design and Development.  The first question, related to functionality, is quite simple—“will my product work?” The second question, concerning desirability, is equally straightforward—“how well does my product meet customer needs? For both my paper and clay mock-ups, all six designs seemed to work. But where customer needs were concerned, the prototypes, in most cases, proved obsolete. The “Signature Identification App,” for instance, neglected to captivate my users’ interests because my users were not art collectors. The problem was, I neglected to test the prototype with the niche customer base on which my product depended. By marginalizing art collectors from my user research, I failed to communicate with my target market altogether.

 

One might assume that the process of creating and re-creating iterations of the same mock-ups is an exercise in redundancy. But for me, because I prototyped different products and tested them all in stages, I felt prepared, informed, and educated on both the usability and desirability of each design.

 

Certainly, it is worth acknowledging that, where customer research is concerned, my sample size was extremely limited. However, at least now I knew what my ten potential customers looked for in a product. More so than anything else, a peer’s remark regarding the “Signature Identification App” resonated with me. Tony Bagdon said, “Very cool idea, Brian… but I personally wouldn’t buy the app.” That right there is the lesson I hope to remember and practice throughout my entrepreneurial career. It doesn’t matter how cool your ideas are, or how polished your prototypes look. What matters is that your customers can use your products; and more importantly, that your customers will pay to use them. Otherwise, all you have is quirky ideas and no means by which to pay the bills.

 

bio

I. Individual 

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”

― Leonardo da Vinci

I stumbled clumsily down the dirt path just above the statue garden near Goodman campus, blue notebook in hand. I shuffled through tall, wet grass bustling with wasps and spider webs. The coffee lingered on my burnt taste buds. Cicadas hissed all around me.

 

Observing nature is like tasting wine. Everybody tries it; nobody understands. How could they understand? The complexities of and relationships within the earth system are both infinite and intertwined. Incomprehensible is the sheer variety of life.

 

Human beings, like nature, are imaginative by necessity. We act not only instinctively. We also observe local and global networks of relationships so far beyond our grasp, and comprehend that complexity, despite the horrific odds.

 

In Part I, the statue garden served as my model and mentor. Meditating on old, uprooted tree trunks, I discovered inspiration. But I felt inspired, not because a particular invention dawned on me, but because through observation, I encountered a problem that nature already solved. Trees require structural support and a steady source of nourishment. Roots support and provide trees with essential resources. Black ink careening across a blue notebook, I sketched different root-inspired products. One was an irrigation system powered by gutter water. Feasible or not, the irrigation system grew out of a proven technology, one that nature meticulously crafted over hundreds of millions of years.

II. Group

“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”

― Thomas Edison

            For an early dinner, Glenn Adams and I met at the Malaysia restaurant on Fourth Street. I had no expectations about Glenn or Malaysian cuisine. Though I was unfamiliar with each, each seemed pleasant in its own way.

 

We sat and shared ideas over warm mango tea. I showed Glenn sketches of individual products separated thematically. He led me through an impressive, illustrated stream of consciousness, dumbfounding me to my core. Glenn and I think and invent differently. But our styles of thought and invention, however distinct, proved complementary. Together we articulated whole ideas. Individually our ideas remained fragmented.

 

Part II taught me how to transition from an individual to a group creative process. In a group brainstorming session, creativity depends largely on respect. If one group member dominates the discourse, creativity ceases to be a two-way street, becoming a single traffic jam. Aware of that, Glen and I concentrated on exchanging one conversation at a time. We deliberately listened before speaking, asked questions before providing answers, and sought not domination, but collaboration.

 

Chances are, both Glenn and I are capable of tackling great feats alone. But together, our chances for success doubled. As a team, we brainstormed twice as many ideas and solved twice as many problems as we did individually. Together, we tackled twice as many feats and that is a basic fact of mathematics.

III. Presentation

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”

― Leonardo da Vinci

Part III tested the groups’ abilities to succinctly articulate their creative processes. The content of the presentations sufficed overall. Most teams elucidated their sources of inspiration, design concepts, and use of creativity techniques. Their products ranged from the practical to the ludicrous. Worthy of note: both ends of the feasibility spectrum inspire creativity, the farfetched in particular. Imagine if, in 1776, an entrepreneurial student promoted Velcro, a product inspired by burrs sticking to his dog’s fur. Critics and skeptics alike would have deemed the idea ludicrous. But in 1948, the idea stuck. The point being, no idea is too stupid or too crazy to consider. Nobody should self-impose constraints on their own or anybody else’s ideas. The next big invention could be a “Surveillance Spider” or a “Squirrel Drone,” you just never know.

 

Generally speaking, styles varied from group to group. I preferred PowerPoint slides with little to no text. Visual guides tend to captivate the audience. Verbose slides lead it astray. I also preferred products with names to products called “number one, number two, and number three.” Even ridiculous names bring products to life and make inventors more memorable.

IV. Conclusion

“There’s a way to do it better—find it.”

― Thomas Edison

In summary, Part I required cultivating mindfulness. I rediscovered that the natural world mentors those who listen to it closely. Part II tested the class’ teamwork skills. Collaborating with Glenn ignited my own creativity and visa versa. Part II reinforced the observation that “it is the human friction that makes the sparks” (Jonah Lehrer 2012). Finally, Part III was a test of strong verbal, but also visual communication skills. While most of the presented products will probably never make it to market, presenters conceived of their classmates as potential customers. The presentation served as a six-minute sales pitch, and our products were products of nature.

 

It is really quite convenient. Humans are constantly grappling with different pains and problems. Fortunately for us, the natural world has been providing solutions to similar quagmires for eons. Biomimicry bridges the gap between countless human problems and myriad solutions found in nature. If animals, plants, and microbes are the real engineers, then maybe inventors are nothing but observers attempting to mimic a near perfect model.

 

 

 

Home Page COVER PHOTO

In Intellectual Property Strategy, John Palfrey evaluates recent changes in social norms. Young people today relate to intellectual property in ways that earlier generations find incomprehensible. The youth’s disregard for copyrights, for instance, manifests itself daily as individuals share copyrighted music illegally. Palfrey argues that the youth’s lax attitude towards intellectual property is likely to dictate where the cultural and economic marketplace for intellectual property is heading (Palfrey 131). This blog aims to support Palfrey’s argument with insights, intuition, and evidence provided by Larry Lessig’s TED Talk, “Laws that Choke Creativity” (2007).

 

My generation inherited the internet-era. It found us, for better or for worse. Immersed in user-generated content since day one, it became my generation’s instinct to create, and more importantly, to share its creations digitally. Copyright laws, by nature, oppose our instinct to collaborate. They choke to death our creative spirit. They muffle to silence our vociferous cries. They challenge what and who we are.

 

Pulling incessantly in opposite directions, copyright laws and my generation have agreed to a stalemate. The law proscribes behavior that defines us. It prohibits precisely what it means to be young. Inevitably, we, increasingly ravenous for more movies and more mixtapes, abandon the law. We download copyrighted works, conscious of the illegality of our actions. We act solely on instinct and become criminals in the process.

 

In 2007, Larry Lessig, the Net’s most celebrated lawyer, offered different solutions to this cultural quagmire. First, Lessig suggested, everyone should recognize and embrace that there’s a new commerce arising, led by the young criminals themselves. Second, artists who currently protect their intellectual property should legalize what it means to be young again. They should recognize the economic potential of doing so, and should relish the fact that their work will be made increasingly available. Once artists and businesses embrace a balance between the youth’s dogged demands for open-source digital content and the law, an economy of creativity will flourish.

 

As Lessig explains, the youth cannot be pacified. Young people can only be made pirates. The Internet culture cannot be destroyed. It can only be pushed underground. Copyright laws can deter the Internet generation only if the generation accepts that fate. That being said, the law remains relatively omnipotent. It’s imperative; the youth must learn to make more balanced decisions or otherwise suffer adverse legal sanctions. Young people who regularly download free music should recognize not only the illegality of their actions, but also their direct impact on the music industry. Moreover, young people should support local musicians, DJs, and dancers—these creators deserve recognition for their handwork/artwork. Above all, young people should learn to respect one another’s intellectual property.

 

Palfrey is right to contend that changes in social norms are an important cultural trend. The shifting of such norms will likely guide where the marketplace for intellectual property is heading. Palfrey says it rather succinctly. “Over time, these same young people who today are sharing the copyrighted music of others illegally are becoming creators themselves” (Palfrey 131). Lessig’s evidence parallels that of Palfrey. “We are living in this eerie time, when ordinary people are living life against the law” (Lessig 2007). It’s no accident that Palfrey and Lessig’s research support a common claim. The youth today is inexorably unique. It democratizing the Internet and wittingly breaking laws in the process. The strange thing is, these same young criminals are likely to determine the future of intellectual property in this country.

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