Why do we keep praising Silicon Valley for reinventing the wheel?

January 16, 2019

For a good period in the middle ages, Europeans totally forgot how to make concrete. The Roman recipe for the tough stuff – opus caementicium – was lost for roughly 600 years after the fall of the empire, and the modern formula we know and love wasn’t invented for another 300 years after that.

I’m telling you this because human progress isn’t linear. It’s fine to go backwards and forwards – to retread old ground and improve old ideas. Yet if someone approached Theo Paphitis with a cinder block tomorrow, he’d rightly tell them to get the hell out of the Dragons’ Den. So why do we keep falling over ourselves to praise Silicon Valley for reinventing concrete – or, if you prefer your analogies more straightforward, the wheel?

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