Brian's Waste of Time

Thu, 06 Sep 2007


Two different posts and a couple years in The Valley reminded me of something. Popularity, in technology, is shit. Seriously.

See, if something simply works better it behooves the people that know this to not make a big deal about it. If you have a way to index the web an order of magnitude cheaper than Google, build webapps faster and cheaper than other people, or have a leg up on better HCI you go and do it and make a crapload of money.

Even worse, when you dismiss technology because "most developers won't understand it" you are stabbing yourself in the face with a spork. Do you want the least common denominator to build your stuff? For some people the answer is yes, of course. This is usually the case when "your stuff" is such a well known problem domain that the least common denominator can nail it. Usually with VBA on top of Excel. If that is the case, you don't care if it will scale.

Now, not making a big deal out of something and keeping it secret are very different. As has been said (if you know who, please comment), most of the best people don't work with you. Peer review and commons based peer production work really, really well. The interesting part is that smart people clump, and find things, and notice powerful ideas, and tell other smart people. You get salons. Well, virtual ones for the most part, now.

Think about what that will look like from the outside. Eventually the larger market catches on, but they catch onto the trappings and forms because the real core of it is just quietly executed on. You wind up seeing cargo cults, Frankenstein creations, and softcore tech-porn.

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