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Quotable lines from the panel on disruptive technologies

Participants: Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Amir Bhide, visiting scholar at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; Andrew Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO, Proteus Biomedical, Inc; and Vijay Vaitheeswaran, a global correspondt at the Economist.

Andrew Thompson: "More people have mobile phones than have access to water and electricity."

"The global pandemics right now are all chronic diseases."

"Mothers are the chief medical officers of families."

"We have much higher quality science, from the perspective of what we can do physically, from what we can socially understand."

"We have historically relied on patents as a way to encourage people to make innovations. As a company, our view is that that system is going away. Emerging economies have much less appetite for it. Businesses will have to respond by making it more difficult to compete, not because the government gives you monopoly, but because your business plan is complex enough that it is hard for competitors to copy it. We think that's a better basis for competition, anyway."

"The stone age didn't end because of stone, nor because people in Washington decided what stone should cost. It ended because we discovered metal. We need disruptive innovation [in energy]."

Craig Newmark: "The toxic environment in Washington is a very good substitute for actual warfare."

"Newspapers have much bigger problems than us. One of them is loss of circulation related to loss of trust. All print media is having problems, even the ones that don't have classifieds. Newsweek is a good example. And in my view, this has to do with trust issues."

"I'm in over my head in Washington. I am a nerd, and politics is intensely social, and I am not intensely social."

Amir Bhide: The automobile destroyed horseback. Airplanes did not destroy automobiles. There's destructive innovation and non-destructive innovation, and they go hand-in-hand. If it was all destructive creation, prices would fall down to zero and we'd consume everything and then where would we be? Non-destructive creation is essential, because it soaks up the resources in terms of people and purchasing power."

"We now have a 2,300 page financial reform bill, and 99 percent of Americans have no idea what those words mean."

Vijay Vaitheeswaran: It's a lot to ask a profitable enterprise to disrupt its own business. So I'd look to the frugal entrepreneurs in places like Indian and China and Brazil.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
 
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