Quick thread on how government is actually the one that funds the tech innovation that we attribute to entrepreneurs.
Mariana Mazzucato has demonstrated that the real driver of innovation isn't lone geniuses but state investment. Now she's working with the UK government, EU and UN to apply her moonshot approach to the world's biggest challenges
“History tells us that innovation is an outcome of a massive collective effort – not just from a narrow group of young white men in California,” Mazzucato says. “And if we want to solve the world’s biggest problems, we better understand that.”
1. The development of Google’s search algorithm, for instance, had been supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, a US public grant-awarding body
2. Electric car company Tesla initially struggled to secure investment until it received a $465 million (£380 million) loan from the US Department of Energy.
3. Three companies founded by Elon Musk — Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX — had jointly benefited from nearly $4.9 billion (£3.9bn) in public support of various kinds.
4. Companies such as Symantec, Qualcomm, Da Vinci Surgical System, Jawbone, Lift Labs, Natel Energy and iRobot received early-stage funding from the Small Business Innovation Research - A US Government Program
5. DARPA, the research agency founded by President Eisenhower in 1958 pumped billions of dollars into the development of prototypes that preceded commercial technology such as Microsoft Windows, videoconferencing, Google Maps, Linux and the cloud.
6. In Israel, Yozma, a government-backed venture capital fund that ran between 1993 and 1998, supported more than 40 companies

An aside: Israel is startups country btw.
7. In the UK, the Government Digital Service, launched in 2010, was behind the award-winning .gov.uk domain, saving the government £1.7bn in IT procurement.
8. The Apollo Programme: Between 1960 and 1972, the US government spent $26bn (£21bn) to achieve precisely that. More than 300 different projects contributed, not only in aeronautics but in areas such as nutrition, textiles, electronics and medicine
The programme resulted in 1,800 spinoff products, from freeze-dried food to cooling suits, spring tyres and digital fly-by-wire flight control systems used in commercial airplanes.
It was also instrumental in kick-starting an industry for the integrated circuit, an unproven technology at the time, and other space projects such as the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
An aside: M-Pesa's development was aided by a £1m grant from DFID - a UK Government fund.
The article then traces the innovations that saw the iPhone come to be...
a. The HTTP protocol, of course, had been developed by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee and implemented on the computers at CERN, in Geneva.
b. The internet began as a network of computers called Arpanet, funded by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in the 60s to solve the problem of satellite communication
c. The DoD was also behind the development of GPS during the 70s, initially to determine the location of military equipment. The hard disk drive, microprocessors, memory chips and LCD display had also been funded by the DoD
d. Siri was the outcome of a Stanford Research Institute project to develop a virtual assistant for military staff, commissioned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
e. The touchscreen was the result of graduate research at the University of Delaware, funded by the National Science Foundation and the CIA.
"There has been a very concerted effort, over the past 40 years, to build this intellectual construct that was sold to government and sold to society about the free market, supported by businessmen who were trying to tell a story that was advantageous to them,"
Back home, you can see why the argument that the "youths" should be creating employment is such a terrible argument. Innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum. It is spurred by governments.
I love this... “The reason progressives often lose the argument is that they focus too much on wealth redistribution and not enough on wealth creation,” she says. “We need a progressive narrative that's not only about spending, but investing in smarter ways.”
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