I have been thinking lately of how to make a difference. You know in terms of research and its applications. I have been thinking how do people make a difference. For example in my field there is a professor who has over 22000 citations (yes you read it right) for a single paper. The tool described in the paper is novel and seems to work fine.
I also know that there are other tools in the same field that were novel (in their own time) and are conceptually sound and seems to work. So what gives?
I think some people can make such a difference which is also noticeable due to the following combination of circumstances. Some in their control and some not so much
1) Choice of a problem and how you approach it: Probably one of the most important factors. You can give two different people two different problems and they will come up with two different solutions. One solution could be more elegant than the other giving it an edge. Although the second solution by a second person would probably give a similar result.
2) Timing: The timing of a particular produce, algorithm or mathematical model is very important. If you are too early; people wont recognize the importance. If you are too late; people will complain that it is not novel anymore.
3) Marketability. How well you can market the product or your paper or your approach. Traditionally it has been through giving talks. Now it seems to be through (social media?) videos etc. (more on this later)
4) Venue of your publication: I think this used to be more relevant in the past. Now with access to internet and all the publications having all paper on line it might not matter much. Although I know people who map the credibility of the paper to the venue of the publication (may be partially true but not always).
5) what else. I am not sure but I am curious.
Social media. I am trying come up with strategies to ramp up my marketing of my approaches. Social media (twitter), videos (you tube) and other? tricks are being thought about. I am not sure which but I am going to do some of them. I think it is a good idea (apart from giving talks that I have not given for quite some time now). All the people that I know in my field are recognizable to me because of their online presence and not because I saw them giving a talk some where. I think this gives a good indication of how to market your "stuff" in the future :P