In the evolution of technology, things happen when it is time for them to happen. It becomes inevitable.
The most successful set of examples I have read on this subject was in What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly. The norm in Hollywood is to release a film and wait to get sued. Why? Because there will always be someone who thinks their idea has been stolen. Ever noticed how we suddenly get a spate of cowboy films in a batch? How about disaster movies? Aliens? Sickly teenage vampire flicks seem to arrive by the puke bucket full? Even JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series was surrounded by a plethora of other stories about orphan boys being taken to wizard school, including one named Larry Potter.
Did Rowling steal the idea for Harry Potter?
Nope. It was just time for that idea. Even the incandescent lightbulb, famously the result of Edisons’s perseverance, was simultaneously and independently invented by at least 23 other people before Edison, including two groups who fought legal battles with him over the patent rights
Now we are seeing competition in the HAPS or HALE space start to look serious with google acquiring Titan for $20M to start from scratch. Facebook have also acquired the Ascenta staff – the team behind the ill-fated QinetiQ 1 balloon attempt (although they were never part of the Zephyr team).
The time has come for this technology.
People get it. Hell, people even expect it now that they see solar panels in use everywhere and are connecting to the internet from previously unthinkable locations (like on board long haul flights). Now big companies are starting to throw substantial sums at even hints of achieving it. Happy times for someone, and Zephyr is 10 years ahead.