Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
The Brits think it, we make it. pretty much sums it up.
I think you maybe doing yourself a bit of an injustice there . The US is certainly not short of great innovators, thinkers etc.
One noticeable difference though is our motivation for innovating. We are less financially ambitious here.
There are geographic, cultural and historical reasons for this, but the upshot is we tend to innovate for the sake of it, rather than to get rich. In
times gone by, it didn't matter how much money someone made, a working class person could never have got to the "top" because of our entrench Class
system. Instead one measured success in other ways; personal satisfaction, being the first at something, inventing something etc.. I think this
attitude became part of the British national character; the inventor in his shed, the gentleman amateur, etc.
In the US, the "american dream" culture is more present. Americans are traditionally business oriented. they think in terms of commercial success,
founding a business, leading the marketplace etc.
an example? John Logie Baird, and Marconi both invent the television, independently of each other, on opposite sides of the pond. Baird, the Brit
(who also invented the forunner to radar, and the thermal sock...we're unpredictable like that.
), gets there first, but his system is an
unwieldily mechanical contraption with spinning wheels and a tiny screen. Baird dies broke.
Marconi, the American, spends longer in development, but comes up with a better system, based on the CRT, which was the basis of all modern television
for the next 80 years, and builds a thriving international business out of it. Marconi dies rich.
Another example would be Compuserve, an American company, trying to license and make money the .gif format, when they realised it was becoming popular
on the WWW. Compare that with Tim Berners Lee, a Brit, who invents the WWW in the first place, gives it to the world for free, and makes not a penny
from the most successful computer application ever conceived, and one that has truly changed the world.
Basically two equally valid, but opposite philosophies, which just happen to compliment each other perfectly!
[edit on 1/9/04 by muppet]