Theory Week: Say’s Law

This week I plan to talk about some theories I have come across recently and that I think are worth mentioning.

The first one that comes to mind is Say’s Law, which states ’Demand cannot exist without Supply.’

I was thinking of Say’s Law in the context of an encounter my best friend had with someone just the other day. When the two met and started talking shop, my friend introduced himself as an ‘entrepreneur’ whereas this individual introduced himself as an ‘inventor.’ What’s the difference?

To me an entrepreneur is someone who sees a void or an opportunity that currently exists in a marketplace and creates a new application (or takes a novel approach) to filling that void.

An inventor on the other hand, is someone who creates an entirely new product or market; something for which demand only comes after the supply (i.e. the invention).

It’s a small distinction, but an important one.

For example, I look at the internet as its own marketplace and thus I have a hard time considering most internet innovations to be true inventions. I think it’s essential to remember that while it appears that the majority of entrepreneurship/innovation is web-based, the real inventions are taking place in environments that have nothing to do with widgets, browsers or Google. The future exists in places you and I can’t imagine; it simply hasn’t been invented yet.


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