Re: From idea to project email@example.com
Subject: Re: From idea to project
In-reply-to: Your message of "Fri, 06 Aug 93 09:01:39 PDT."
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 93 15:53:16 -0400
> The fundamental reason for this is that our project, while appealing
> for philosophical and theoretical scientific reasons, does not offer
> short-term benefit to anybody.
"Benefit" is a very vague notion, reminiscent of the largely
discredited concept of "utility" in economic theory. The question is
in my opinion
"Is there any chance anybody will buy our product"
To answer this question we have to understand the potential market
for this product. Moreover, this potential market (like most other
markets) is not sitting out there in some field patiently waiting to
be picked like ripe strawberries. Markets are created from many
segments. In this case, the many diverse groups of individuals who use
mathematics in some form, would presumably constitute the segments of
the QED market.
For instance, publishers of math books must make a profitability
calculation of this kind. Does one really know the benefit provided by
books on Modular forms, elliptic curves or number theory? Yet people
buy them, publishers publish them, and everybody seems to be much
happier. It is true that publishers don't always encourage the best
literature, but the obstacles to literature are usually ostensibly
not-for-profit institutions like the Catholic church.
Similarly, (Despite all his hyperbole) Stephen Wolfram deserves
enormous credit for understanding that people would buy a computerized
mathematics system if they were reached by an appropriate marketing
strategy. Clearly, there is more to his success than that, but
succesful marketing is certainly one element.
If there is no reason to expect anyone would buy the QED-product
then maybe we should forget it. Ask yourself this question: Under
what conditions would you buy stock in the QED company?