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Jed Harris

In addition to being a member of Pliant Research, in June I became a principal at Ricoh Silicon Valley Strategic Business Center, a venture capital subsidiary of Ricoh Corporation.

In March, I left Apple Computer (along with my entire lab), after ten years of work there in research and product development. During my first four years at Apple I investigated software components; then I worked for four years to get the OpenDoc component architecture defined, funded, built, and accepted in the industry (including a couple of years starting and running CI Labs, a non-profit industry consortium). After this educational but rather harrowing experience, I spent my last two years at Apple exploring fundamental limitations in our ideas of computing and our ways of coordinating large groups of people--work I did with the other folks who now make up Pliant Research.

My deepest interest is the natural history of concepts--how ideas reproduce, mutate, and affect people's behavior. This has led me into many areas over the years: anthropology, linguistics, the philosophy of science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, philosophy of mind, and critical theory, among others. For the last seventy years, much of the work in these areas (especially the ones explicitly involving mind and knowledge) has been an exhaustive demonstration of what won'twork. With "second generation cognitive science" (to use George Lakoff's phrase) I think we've finally switched to making serious progress.

Early on I concluded that good ideas about the natural history of concepts would have their biggest effects through embodiment in computer hardware or software. In parallel with my work on the ideas themselves, I've spent the last twenty-five years researching and developing computer hardware and software. About fifteen years ago I realized that even the best innovations don't go anywhere without a strong strategy to drive their adoption; since then, Iíve developed my skills in business strategy as well, leading to my recent transition to venture capital.

Here are links to additional information:

(Actually, I haven't built them yet, so if you want them, please ask.)

Books I like
Relevant bookmarks

I enjoy email correspondence with people interested in these areas.

How to contact me

Email is best:

...but here is my office address:
Jed Harris
Ricoh Silicon Valley
Suite 210
2884 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, California 94025
(650) 496-5739

Last updated on August 24, 1997
Maintained by Jed Harris