Monthly Archives: February 2014

THE DUDLEY FILES : INNOVATION FOR SOME, BUT NOT FOR ALL ?

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When I, Thomas Dudley, and my party of emigrants in the year 1630 landed at last on the shores of Massachusetts Bay and saw the hills and heights rising on a southern shore thereof, which heights we named “Roxbury,’ we well understood that we were working on a building; that we were innovating and were glad of it. Nothing in my experience since as a Roxbury planter has altered that first impression. Others may have had purposes besides innovating; for me, innovating was paramount and continues to be. I little understand, even now, the land upon which Roxbury stands, nor the possibilities available to us, bounded as we are by no foes indomitable, by no weather we cannot accommodate to, by no olden ways imposing their cautions on our path ahead. We innovate here or might as well return to Northamptonshire; which I have no intention of doing.

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Messer Gilad Rosenzweig, architect, who proposes to offer quarters to innovators of Roxbury

Imagine thus my smile this morning as I read in the Boston broadsheet (it calls itself “:the Globe”) that comes to me every 6:00 o’clock of the morning, that a certain Gil Rosenzweig, a recent arrival in our colony, intends to offer quarters to entrepreneurial innovators, in the Roxbury Square named after myself. As early as the coming summer — the broadsheet quotes Messer Rosenzweig — he anticipates having a first quarters built and on offer. Roxbury can only profit from its residents finding new paths to a life in this land; yet without the assistance of a path maker some paths will seem moreĀ an obstacle than a road. Messer Rosenzweig offers to assist path makers, and I was glad to read of it.

Yet I read further of his plans finding myself less glad as i read that he offers path making aid “primarily to programming-based start-ups that are creating web and mobile applications or services.” Much as I appreciate devices for communication between persons and each other, I do not understand why devices should stand ahead of communication itself. Roland, of the Song of Roland, used a horn to communicate distress, and surely it was important that his horn be made well and true so that it could be heard at a far distance; but the distress that he sounded on his horn seems to me the important fact. So it is today, in Roxbury. I shall seek out Messer Rosenzweig, or perhaps you, my readers should do so, and inquire of him ; cannot your quarters on offer be open first to the communicators themselves ?

The journal in which this my “Dudley Files” column is printed should have entry at Messer Rosenzweig’s at least as readily as the makers of “web and mobile applications or services.” Because there will be no need in anyone for using such things unless there is matter important to applicate or to serve.

Perhaps Messer Rosenzweig assumes that the people of Roxbury have no matter important to applicate or serve; that the makers of such things, who he proposes to host,l are making them for others — perhaps for residents of Boston, across the Neck, a town more prospering than Roxbury and host to many from the world beyond, as Roxbury is not. That Boston is the hub of our settlement in all things I cannot deny. Yet if Messer Rosenzweig is to become a boniface for innovators upon Roxbury land, he will be a poor host if he means to exclude our voices from his beneficence. I will refer now once again to Roland and his horn : what mattered his horn, no matter how innovatively made, or in whose lands, if not for the message he hurried to communicate ? I am hopeful that Messer Rosenzweig will accord space to innovating journalists as well as to applicators and servicers.

—- Your obedient servant, Thomas Dudley / the Dudley Files