Daniel Lemire's blog

, 3 min read

How much are the ideas of your competition worth to you?

3 thoughts on “How much are the ideas of your competition worth to you?”

  1. Peter Turney says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I started writing a comment, but it grew so long that I moved it over here:


    Thanks for an interesting post. 🙂


  2. Maverick says:

    I have seen cases that the mere act of explicitly stating that “I am working on this problem” gives too much hint on actually solving it. The problem could be a “currently low-hanging fruit” to those who are up-to-date on the literature, and if one is reminded of the problem, then one can solve the problem in a matter of days or even hours. So it can degenerate into a competition on who gets a preprint on arXiv first… The lower the fruit is, the less you want to tell people.

    Flip it around: if you are working on something high up, then even though you can tell everyone about it, you may not solve it in the end… So you don’t want to tell people just yet so as to “protect” your own feelings. I think this is perfectly human.

    What’s left is the middle ground, which I think contains the problems that are really worth working on and it’s also quite safe to tell everyone about it. But to identify them is very hard…

  3. Paul Meagher says:

    I often don’t know what I’m working on until I spend a few days implementing something that works vis a vis the concept. At that point I can usually explain what I am doing in fairly clear and simple terms. Maybe this is validation of a constructivist view of knowledge…