How To Monetize Scientific Controversy

Chad Orzel, who is an excellent physicist and author even if he is a Syracuse fan, had a good point: how do you monetize the scientific controversy you cause?

Two approaches spring to mind. You can make products to address the problem you’ve raised. If you were using my child safety seat example, you could create a small neck pillow like the ones that travelers use on airplanes to help keep kids’ heads on their necks.

But that requires some invention, a capital outlay, and someone to pitch your product. Even if you’re successful you may end up with a quick-flash fad like Crocs or a Joss Whedon show. A far safer approach is to become an “expert” in the controversy and aim for speakers fees and book deals. True, you may have to start at the shallow end of the pool by blogging, but you don’t have to stay there. In fact, if you manufacture your controversy carefully enough, you can even get a foundation created around you to support your advocacy.

Great. Now I need another shower.

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