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Sounds of silence

The new economy is driven by ideas, which is why people are becoming rather cagey about sharing them

By Richard Reeves   March 2000

Twenty people-specialists, experts, thinkers-sit around a seminar table. They might be discussing education, or the US stock market. Although people are speaking, no one is saying anything.

At least half of the participants have an original idea at the front of their mind. But they do not share it because it is too valuable. They are afraid that one of the others will steal the idea and use it, publish or sell it before they do. Their intellectual property is at risk. So received wisdoms are recycled.

Images of the new economy are of speed, complexity, hubbub. You get the…

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