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Shelly Palmer - Timing is Everything

Shelly Palmer has been named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” and writes a popular daily business blog.

Greetings from Terminal C at LGA. I'm heading down to Hollywood, Florida, to keynote at the ANA AI for Marketers Conference. Hopefully, I'll get to see some of the eclipse this afternoon. (If you're looking up, please be sure you're using certified protective eyewear.)

There's an article in The Verge today entitled “Streaming services really want you to buy stuff while you watch TV”, which reminded me of some sage advice I often got from the late Clayton P. Knowles, Jr., Esq. (my first general counsel). He liked to say, "Great idea, Shelly. You know the difference between a rich genius and a broke genius? A broke genius is two years ahead of his time, a rich genius is six months ahead of his time." Through the years, the phrase "great idea, Shelly" came to mean “let's not do this right now.” I really miss Clay.

In the case of "clicking on Jennifer Aniston's sweater," alas, I was about 31 years ahead of my time. Since it took about four years to get the invention from idea to patent filing, call it 35 years. U.S. Patent 5,438,355 Interactive System for Processing Viewer Responses to Television Programming was filed on April 16, 1993. The patent filing predates the debut of the public web (April 30, 1993) by about two weeks. Clay was right, from a timing perspective – there was no way this was ever going to work out.

That said, I learned an enormous amount by thinking through the process and creating the original patent claims. It was a magical time. Back then, everything about the internet (and the soon-to-publicly-emerge world wide web) was exciting. It felt like now, when everything is new and we can tell we're living on the exponential.

In a couple of weeks, I'll be hosting my own AI for Brand Marketers Summit. I hope you'll consider joining us June 4-6 in NYC. The program and attendee list are being carefully curated to ensure a focused and elite gathering. Request your invitation.

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Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit