Yes, sex at Cape Town Garage. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears over the past while because openly, multiple times a day at there is sex happening at the Cape Town Garage. Most of the sex is raw and unprotected but thankfully some use protection.
If you want a quickie at lunch or are up all night to get lucky, you’d be happy happy happy to know that at any time of the day you can get it on as the Cape Town Garage even have an in-house cab that’ll pick you up from any location in Cape town and travel service so you can get down and in at the garage from anywhere in the world. When Your Web AddiCT talks sex, he refers to Idea Sex. Please remove head out of the gutter, both hands on keyboard, thanks 🙂
I’m going to use the above TED Talk, When Ideas have Sex‘s transcript, to try an explain what is happening in a once derelict Woodstock building that will improve the lives of most people in South Africa if not the wwworld in a few years.
How did we achieve that, whether you think it’s a good thing or not? How did we achieve that? How did we become the only species that becomes more prosperous as it becomes more populous? The size of the blob in this graph represents the size of the population, and the level of the graph represents GDP per capita. I think to answer that question you need to understand how human beings bring together their brains and enable their ideas to combine and recombine, to meet and, indeed, to mate. In other words, you need to understand how ideas have sex.
One the combining and recombining note I’ve seen start-ups and founding teams pivot and and launch new businesses within weeks and sometimes days. In the same way being in the middle of the chaos that is the start-up wwworld you’re continually learning to combine and recombine various elements of technology or business models… and another start-up gets founded and in most cases nowadays, funded.
What’s the process that’s having the same effect in cultural evolution as sex is having in biological evolution? And I think the answer is exchange, the habit of exchanging one thing for another. It’s a unique human feature. No other animal does it. You can teach them in the laboratory to do a little bit of exchange — and indeed there’s reciprocity in other animals — But the exchange of one object for another never happens. As Adam Smith said, “No man ever saw a dog make a fair exchange of a bone with another dog.” (Laughter) You can have culture without exchange. You can have, as it were, asexual culture. Chimpanzees, killer whales, these kinds of creatures, they have culture. They teach each other traditions which are handed down from parent to offspring. In this case, chimpanzees teaching each other how to crack nuts with rocks. But the difference is that these cultures never expand, never grow, never accumulate, never become combinatorial, and the reason is because there is no sex, as it were, there is no exchange of ideas. Chimpanzee troops have different cultures in different troops. There’s no exchange of ideas between them.
In the same way you can’t really teach an intern (may have a solution for that some day) the tools required to survive in the modern economic climate by spending a few months at a giant corporation your parents have dedicated their lives too. *Disclaimer unless daddy’s title is CEO. Instagram, thousand words…
And why does exchange raise living standards? Well, the answer came from David Ricardo in 1817. And here is a Stone Age version of his story, although he told it in terms of trade between countries. Adam takes four hours to make a spear and three hours to make an axe. Oz takes one hour to make a spear and two hours to make an axe. So Oz is better at both spears and axes than Adam. He doesn’t need Adam. He can make his own spears and axes. Well no, because if you think about it, if Oz makes two spears and Adam make two axes, and then they trade, then they will each have saved an hour of work. And the more they do this, the more true it’s going to be, because the more they do this, the better Adam is going to get at making axes and the better Oz is going to get at making spears. So the gains from trade are only going to grow. And this is one of the beauties of exchange, is it actually creates the momentum for more specialization, which creates the momentum for more exchange and so on. Adam and Oz both saved an hour of time. That is prosperity, the saving of time in satisfying your needs.
I have this idea, I smell a start-up dying, there’s a giant gorilla with a massive marketing budget eating their potential clients for lunch. I sense an exchange afoot that could see them flourish. If time allows I’ll share it with them.
Trade is 10 times as old as farming. People forget that. People think of trade as a modern thing. Exchange between groups has been going on for a hundred thousand years. And the earliest evidence for it crops up somewhere between 80 and 120,000 years ago in Africa, when you see obsidian and jasper and other things moving long distances in Ethiopia. You also see seashells — as discovered by a team here in Oxford — moving 125 miles inland from the Mediterranean in Algeria. And that’s evidence that people have started exchanging between groups. And that will have led to specialization.
The ideas exchanged freely between the interesting groups of folks here at the garage is having a ripple effect on not only the start-ups and companies who are active in the garage but others who are many timezones away.
I am of course quoting from a famous essay by Leonard Read, the economist in the 1950s, called “I, Pencil” in which he wrote about how a pencil came to be made, and how nobody knows even how to make a pencil, because the people who assemble it don’t know how to mine graphite, and they don’t know how to fell trees and that kind of thing. And what we’ve done in human society, through exchange and specialization, is we’ve created the ability to do things that we don’t even understand. It’s not the same with language. With language we have to transfer ideas that we understand with each other. But with technology, we can actually do things that are beyond our capabilities.
Idea sex: Happening at the Cape Town Garage all day, every day.