Still smarting over that headline? Can’t imagine how I could believe even for a second that Ashton Kutcher is the smartest technology entrepreneur? It all starts with a story I remembered when I read about Ashton’s Kutcher’s appearance at this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt.

Never mind that the guy interviewing Ashton Kutcher was Michael my-ego-is-bigger-than-
God’s-ego Arrington. Arrington, fresh off getting fired at AOL and inducing potential career suicide in several of his minions, isn’t the story.

The story is that Ashton Kutcher believes in magic boxes.

I believe in magic boxes, too. And that’s what caught my attention when I read that piece on the Kutcher appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt, because one of the most painful experiences of my life came about several years ago when a friend of almost ten years threw a comment I had made right at the beginning of our relationship in my face. I was explaining how computers work to him, and in the course of the conversation I eventually got to the point where I said “It’s a magic box. You just have to accept that“.

Computers aren’t magic boxes. Truth be told, they aren’t anything more than incredibly fast processors of lots of Zeroes and Ones. The only magic in those boxes is that the Ones and Zeroes get made into things that people can look at and feel as though something cool has happened.

My now ex-friend harbored a grudged against my explanation for the entire length of our friendship. He thought I was speaking down to him with my magic box comment. I wasn’t. I understood that a continuing, ever-more-granular-and-therefore-not-terribly-useful discussion of “how computers really work” was ultimately doomed to lead nowhere satisfying. I referred to computers as magic boxes because there comes a time where further analysis stops being important … and even becomes counterproductive.

Ashton Kutcher gets this. He invests in things he understands at a gut level. When he sees a magic box, Ashton Kutcher jumps inside it.

Maybe Ashton Kutcher has played so many dumb guys in movies and on TV that it’s hard to take him seriously. And that whole married-to-a-woman-so-much-older-than-him thing raises more than a few eyebrows. But although I’ll stick to my assertion that On Twitter You’re More Important Than Askton Kutcher, today I have a new-found respect for old AplusK.

Believe in Magic Boxes. Trust Your Instincts. That’s where business change comes from. Just ask Ashton Kutcher.

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