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An attractive young woman went out for a long run. She picked her route carefully, avoiding sketchy neighborhoods. But despite her best precautions, she could never feel completely safe in New York City, miles from her apartment, especially after dark. 

Her 110 pound frame sliced through the night leaving nothing but the sound of her running shoes on the pavement.  If necessary, she knew she could outrun almost any pursuit that came on foot. Assailants generally give up before the twenty-mile mark. It bothered her that she even had to have such thoughts. She kicked it up a notch.

Parked cars and lamp posts whizzed by. She thought she saw something that looked out of place, but it was just a rogue napkin blown by the wind. Settle down, she told herself. Don't be concerned about random motion in the night. Keep running. Get your miles. It's the only way you can sleep tonight.

She could see the shadowy outlines of three young males in the distance. They didn't look like trouble, necessarily, but she crossed the street anyway and planned her escape routes just in case. One of the men said something and the other two laughed. It sounded as if a comment had been directed at her. She kept her head down and put the three men in her past.

As she crossed the five-mile mark, she couldn't help wondering what would happen if someone with evil intent grabbed her. How long would it be until her husband knew she was in trouble? How long does an adult have to be missing before the police take it seriously?

She had her smartphone with her, but who has time to dial a number and make an emergency call during an attack? It takes time to get to your phone. Then you have to concentrate to get to the right mode.  Are you wearing gloves? If you get the gloves off, do you have time to dial 911, explain your situation, and give your location?

She had these thoughts every time she ran, which was nearly every day. And she knew that others must sometimes feel the same way.  There are some environments that feel unsafe no matter what precautions you take. As she ran, she tried to work out a solution. What she needed was a quick way to activate her phone in an emergency. And once activated, it needed to call for help automatically and give her location. But how?

At this point in the story you need to know that the runner's father is an electrical engineer living in California. The runner and her dad talked about the problem and brainstormed a variety of solutions. The best of the ideas turned into a patent application, a prototype, and now a business that just launched. The product is called MyRingGuard.

It's a ring that pairs with your Android phone (iPhone version will follow) via Bluetooth. If you're out by yourself, and you encounter trouble, just press the button on the ring to send an emergency text message via your phone to whoever you pre-designate. The text message will say you're in trouble and it will give your GPS coordinates. Obviously that won't stop an attack in progress, but at least you'll know help is on the way, and the help will have a good idea where to find you.

To me, the interesting part of this story is how two people starting with nothing but an idea can form a company that designs, manufactures, and markets a consumer product. I'm fascinated by the fact that none of the components of the business are physically in the same place. Most of it was outsourced by contract.

CEO (the runner): New York City

Engineer (the runner's dad): California

Industrial design: Argentina

Tooling design: Australia

Prototype: China

Electronics design: Romania

Firmware design: Hungary

App design: Hungary

Production: China (by a New York based company)

This sort of everywhere-at-once company structure would have been impractical ten years ago. In the old days, ideas were worthless and implementation was everything. We're entering a phase where implementation is a commodity that is universally available at a reasonable price. The real value is shifting to the quality of ideas. It's not a complete shift - someone still has to coordinate all of the disparate parts - but you can see the trend: If your idea kicks ass, and you have access to the Internet, you have the entire world to help with implementation. You can even crowdsource part of the funding, as the runner and her father did.

Along these same lines, a few weeks ago I teased you by saying I had a valuable idea I would try to "sell" to a venture capitalist - for someone else to implement - just to test my hypothesis that even unpatented ideas are beginning to have economic value. I can report to you today that the result of my experiment is a qualified success.  I was able to find a highly capable investor willing to form a company around my idea and grant me an equity position in return for my contribution, which will be mostly around defining the idea in more detail. That's not quite "selling" an idea, and there is a lot of distance between deciding to form a company and actually creating something of value. I'll also end up doing some actual work, but that should be manageable. (My idea will need to stay secret for now. Sorry!)

Implementation will always be important, but the shift to an ideas-based economy is underway.

Disclosure: The runner and her dad are friends of mine and I have an interest in the company's success. The opening story has some literary flourishes but it's accurate in a "based on a true story" way.

 
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Nov 7, 2012
@callcopse

I think its more likely that nation master used different criteria. According to Nationmaster their data is pretty current, and even if it wasn't its showing the rate of rape is more than twice the US rate. How many years does it take to go from 100% higher to roughly 5% higher?

Have since tried to look up crime comparison statistics from other websites. Conclusion: its all over the place. Figuring out which one of these sites is definitive is more work than Im willing to put into it.
 
 
Nov 6, 2012
@whtllnew

I think the nation master statistics were old - according to the most recent here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics

the UK is doing marginally better in 2009 and marginally worse than the US in 2010. So there is not a lot in it.
 
 
Oct 31, 2012
@callcopse

I got those numbers from the website you provided. By comparing the assault and rape statistics for the US and the UK. You say it doesn't make sense that guns would account for our lower rate of rape. Maybe, but I also used that site to compare the US to a lot of other rich countries and Japan was the only one with fewer rapes and assaults, so SOMETHING is keeping crime low over here. And I don't know that I want to believe its not guns, because the alternative that comes to mind is that we yanks are the second best people on the planet.

So by all means provide another alternative explanation.
 
 
Oct 30, 2012
I don't want to prolong this thread but would point out that most rapes are not carried out by strangers but by people known to the victims. This is certainly borne out by any victims of such that I know. Carrying guns is unlikely to help in those !$%*!$%*!$%*! (it certainly would not have helped the victims I have known). Also, I am not quite sure where 'for every firearm murder we prevent 75 rapes and 500 assaults' comes from but I think we can assume this to be nonsensical. We are not awash in assaults or rapes here by an stretch.

@SonOfRajBlake
>"Re: UK propensity to lock people up for opinions - utter tripe fella, please provide references"

>http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/08/april-jones-matthew-woods-jailed

>Three months in prison for posting a joke on FaceBook.

Fair play, I kind of agree with you in principle here that this is an imposition on free speech. It's not a joke though. I am a parent though and if my kid was murdered or abducted, and someone started taking the mickey on Facebook (or at least somewhere I could see it) I may well be inclined to physical violence. I can't feel too sorry for Matthew Woods - I see no real reason why he should not learn to be a decent person. I do accept you let the Westboro boys do their thing in the US - however you do have (for instance) quite heavy libel / slander rules and you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater, so essentially this is a question of degree (i.e. speech is never completely free you invariably have to draw a line someplace).
 
 
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Oct 27, 2012
@joethewebmaster, no I'm not stuck in the 70's.

I have a newsflash for you, in the majority of countries around the world, you can't buy handguns legally, let alone carry loaded concealed firearms while going for a jog.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
I agree, the thread is dead as we drifted off topic a bit and have set views that cannot be swayed. Until next time =) Gotta get some work done lol.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew

I meant to say that there is no conclusive study in favor of gun-ownership when looking at the net effect. Shouldn't be surprising considering that the topic is very complex.

Either way, I think this thread is dead now. Thx for a satisfying discussion.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

Those numbers are based on comparing US and UK crime statistics. If you demonstrated that there are very important factors in UK crime that don't exist in the US and have nothing to do with guns that would be a start. You could also help your case by demonstrating that crime in the UK is out of control compared to other wealthy gun control countries (don't include poor or becoming-rich countries; not a fair comparison) and, when you compare those countries to the US, things don't look so good.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew

"for every firearm murder we prevent 75 rapes and 500 assaults"

If there was a study that was so conclusive in favor of gun-ownership, everybody would know about it.
Nobody has actually proven that the link is causal (in either direction). But for the sake of this discussion, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Since pepperspray is better than a gun in the sense that abuse/accident is less likely to result in a death, I would have to make the case that the reduction in those deaths is larger than the increase in assault (if we assume that pepperspray is less effective than guns in preventing assault).
Naturally, I'm unable to whip up a study like that (unless maybe Denmark goes all in for pepperspray). But I would like to believe its common sense. Maybe thats just me.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

NOW Im gonna shove that website in your face again. But, JIC you missed it before, I should mention that Im not married to that argument. You are welcome to try and persuade me that my conclusion (for every firearm murder we prevent 75 rapes and 500 assaults) is wrong. Persuade me the numbers are wrong and you might even persuade me its not such a good deal after all. But back it up with links.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@JoetheWebmaster

"Your escalation theory is simply retarded"

So says you. Denmarks own police department and intelligence agency regularly warns against escalation of violence when citizens take matters into their own hand.


"The police generally do not wear bulletproof vests let alone citizens, I do not see people running around with bazookas"

Similarly, not all criminals know how to take down a dog like you do.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew

I admit that if we did legalize some kind of self-defense weapon, I would actually be ok with pepperspray, since abuse/accident is much less likely to lead to a death. But there's no way that doesn't have bad repercussions further down the road.

Here comes a follow-up question you probably saw coming a mile away: if we could settle with pepperspray, what justifies going the extra mile and getting a firearm? The freedom argument wouldn't appear to be useful here, because all you'd do is replace the gun with a can of pepper, right?
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
no uhmdown, you are a pansy for your fear of them...
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown, I've been trained and self trained in various physical and intellectual arts. I would list my capabilities but would probably be called a liar or despised as low skilled people do not like a braggart. I've been through many walks of life and perspectives and fully understand everything is not black and white. Your escalation theory is simply retarded, in the state I live AZ anyone can carry concealed if they do not have a felony record. The police generally do not wear bulletproof vests let alone citizens, I do not see people running around with bazookas etc. Quit being a p.u.s.s and return your batman dvd.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

And I might add that what I'm advocating here is the RIGHT to self defense, not that self defense is for everyone.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

I would settle for pepperspray. The other options you mentioned would be good too except that they're not for everyone.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
Ok, well then I assume that you're also not saying that if you don't have a gun, you're just a defenseless victim.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

Dont confuse my point. Im saying forcing the citizenry into the 'defenseless victim' role is not the answer.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew

Everybody who doesn't get a gun is a pansy?
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

Actually Im going to point out that your proposed solution amounts to forcing the citizenry to surrender to the bad guys until mommy and daddy...I mean, the police...arrive. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?
 
 
 
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