EVERY INNOVATION CARRIES within it the seed of annihilation. I don’t mean this in the Christensenian sense of disruption, in which agile newcomers unseat sclerotic incumbents who probably had it coming. I mean that often the very kernel of invention is inseparable from the urge toward destruction. Manifest Destiny. The Manhattan Project. Eros and thanatos. The wish to create the world anew is just a rephrasing of the wish to destroy the world as it is.
Such was my thinking as I entered the Gift Cave. Like most TED attendees, I made the Cave my first stop when I entered the Vancouver Convention Centre. As you likely already know, TED is an exclusive and expensive proposition—guests must fill out an incredibly detailed application for the right to pay $8,500 to attend. If you are the kind of person who can navigate this screening process, there are many companies that would dearly love to reach you, and so you are presented with a passel of free goods and services from a variety of sponsors (including, it so happens, WIRED).