Innovation born from frustration

The winning technology company at this year’s MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition had its roots in an experience that began with frustration.

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This week was a big one for innovation here at MIT — in that the winner of the 20th annual MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition was announced Wednesday. Ksplice, the winning company from a record 260 entries, has developed technology that enables users to install software updates without rebooting their computers. The start-up was founded by five MIT engineers.

From an innovation point of view, the story of Ksplice’s founding illustrates an important theme: an idea born from a frustration with the status quo. According to an article by Ksplice COO Waseem Daher, Jeff Arnold, one of the company’s founders, was managing servers at MIT. A security update arrived in the middle of the week. Arnold decided not to install it until a more quiet weekend period — only to see the system compromised before then, so that all the software had to be reinstalled.

Arnold’s response, according to Daher? After expressing frustration, Arnold went on to write “an award-winning master’s thesis” addressing ways to update software without system reboots. And that’s the technology behind KSplice.

You can read Daher’s fascinating account of


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