Some thoughts for Marc Andreessen & Adam Elkus

[ by Charles Cameron — proposing a simple tweak for Twitter as a “difference that might make a difference” ]

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Marc Andreessen gave us the first web browser, NCSA Mosaic. Without it, we’d be in an alternate universe. Much gratitude.

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A few days back, Andreessen tweeted:

"Tech industry launches too many products without knowing what they are for!" "Tech industry doesn't do enough radical experimentation!"

— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) December 9, 2014

Behold, two ideas, each one commonly voiced and easily taken or granted, which move in opposite directions.

Andreessen has a nose for these things. Sometimes he uses two tweets to point up this kind of paradox, sometimes just the one. But he’s intrigued, presumably, by the fact that two such contradictory attitudes can both persist in the same cloud of discussion without drawing much attention to their discord — and that when they are isolated and juxtaposed in this way, the discord jumps out at us, and with any luck we begin to question assumptions and actually think our way to a more nuanced understanding of the topic in question.

He’s using form to sharpen insight.

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More than that, conceptual juxtaposition is the form he’s using, and that’s a form I’ve been exploring myself here on Zenpundit and elsewhere under the name DoubleQuotes for a while.

I use conceptual juxtaposition myself for a variety of purposes, not least because it’s the seed form of creative activity — the intersection between different ideas is the “seam” where Koestler finds the origins of humor, tragedy and discovery:

koestler-model

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My own DoubleQuotes format is a means of capturing those intersections, whether they be verbal, visual, aural or even numerical, as shown in these two examples:

SPEC Baghdad 450

and:

SPEC Karman Gogh 450

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A while back, Adam Elkus took note of what Andreessen was up to with his juxtapositions, and thought they merited comment in their own right:

.@pmarca has been on a roll lately cataloging some amusing contradictions in public discourse about tech and other things.

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