I know the title of this post may seem obvious but I don’t think most people realize the level at which this exists. Let me ask you a quick question: What do you see when you walk down the toothbrush isle of the grocery store? This isn’t a trick question. The answer most people would supply is, toothbrushes. And they’re not wrong.
Have you heard of Amber Case yet? If you haven’t you will very soon. Amber Case a.k.a. @caseorganic is a Cyborg Anthropologist. I’ve mentioned Amber before here on this blog, and she even keynoted at SXSW this weekend, bottom line she’s brilliant. She’s also the founder of Geoloqi, a new hot geolocation startup that seeks to provides infrastructure to apps that want to provide geolocation. You can read all about it via the links at the bottom of this post but as brilliant as Geoloqi is and as much as I love geolocation, it’s not the point of this post. This post is about the answer to what you see when you walk down the toothbrush isle.
In a recent article about innovation, Amber mentions what she sees when she walks down the toothbrush isle:
When I walk down supermarket aisles, I don’t see food or groceries, I see a fierce battle for control and dominance of the human brain. Some aisles show it better than others. My favorite is the toothbrush aisle, with its myriad choices and subtle differentiators—bristle length, colors, shapes of brushes. Nowhere can you see such rampant competition.
As the toothbrush aisle demonstrates, inventions and products are subject to natural selection, and products compete as animals would in the wild. The bird with the correct beak for the food wins out over the other birds in its environment. A toothbrush with a subtle edge can thrive. The market is the climate.
When Amber walks down the toothbrush isle she sees natural selection at work.
I don’t know exactly how you get to the point where you literally see the World different from those around you. I blame my view of the World on chemistry. I’m ADHD so my brain has lower levels of serotonin which causes the synapses in my brain to misfire. I imagine electric sparks bouncing around in my head producing all kinds of creative side effects. Who knows.
I do know that constant exposure to new stimuli, rabid curiosity and an unquenchable thirst for learning new things is the best way to achieve a different view of the World. I bet you’ll never look at toothbrushes the same again.