After the followers of the irreverent comic site raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defend it from a lawsuit, Inman realized that you can catalyze online audiences for more than just clicks.
What is the right balance between intelligence and social connectivity? From an innovation perspective, this difference is very significant. In fact, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
Matthew Inman of the comic site The Oatmeal just passed the $1 million fund-raising mark, having solicited funds from Elon Musk, among many others, for a new Tesla museum. Never mind that there already is one (or two). Meanwhile, Christian Bale is said to be playing the legendary inventor in an upcoming movie. Why is everyone suddenly mad for the late Serbian superstar?
One hundred years ago, Alva J. Fisher patented the electric motor-powered washing machine, so we could one day clean our clothes by turning a knob and pressing a button. But as Fisher and other inventors have learned: Creation and credit aren't always easily linked.
I'm standing next to a Croatian-born American genius in a half-empty office in Watertown, Massachusetts, and I'm about to be fried to a crisp. Or I'm about to witness the greatest advance in electrical science in a hundred years. Maybe both.
Either way, all I can think of is my electrician, Billy Sullivan. Sullivan has 11 tattoos and a voice marinated in Jack Daniels. During my recent home renovation, he roared at me when I got too close to his open electrical panel: "I'm the Juice Man!" he shouted. "Stay the hell away from my juice!"