Back in black.

I Find Karma (
Sat, 8 May 1999 11:47:39 -0700 (PDT)

I hold these truths to be self-evident:

1. Putting my life on hold for the last {insert time period here}
was actually a good thing. It allowed me to forget about the small
details I'm so quick to get caught up in and focus on the bigger
picture at hand...

2. ...which I used to see as an epic battle of "Good Guys" versus
"Bad Guys" but now I see, as was aptly put by Daryl Zero's partner
in the movie _The Zero Effect_ -- "There are no good guys or bad
guys... there are just... GUYS." I am more convinced than ever that
every current technology trajectory represents scions of the SAME
11-headed hydra (cut off the head of one technology, and watch the
next two sprout up to pursue the same alleged goals of the former!)...

3. ...which brings me back to the fundamental belief that they're ALL
going in the opposite direction of what we know to be the disruptive
technological shift that none of them can bother to see coming. That
there is no longer any urgency BECAUSE conventional wisdom has usurped
and then castrated the promise of ANY technology that has emerged into
the mainstream. And because not many people have the luxury as I did of
stepping out of the picture for a decent amount of time, they cannot
foresee as I do the amount of circle spinning that will go on for the
next {insert time period here} until the disruptive technology does come
along and radically change things before they knew what hit them...

4. ...which brings me to the best book I've read so far this year.
It's called _The Innovator's Dilemma_ and was recommended to me by
David Wetherell, the CEO of CMGi:

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen published this
book in 1997 to explain what happens to make great companies fail. The
problem is that great companies are excellent at innovating *sustaining*
technologies -- ones designed to serve customers' CURRENT needs -- but
that emerging disruptive technologies that sneak in through the market's
least profitable customers eventually build the critical mass to lead
the rest of the market in a completely new direction. The book has case
studies across industries as to why companies currently at the top of
their game will eventually lose their power when a cheaper, simpler,
smaller technology with more mass appeal gains momentum. The point
isn't MORE -- it's LESS. The innovation doesn't require the advent of a
technological breakthrough; it requires the employment of existing
technologies in a way that REDUCES profit, not enhances it...

5. ...I think I know what it is. I think I've been dancing around the
architecture of the problem for years, but never had the guts to pursue
it. Because I know what my core competencies are, and none of them
involve the design of it. But I now know like The Oracle in _The
Matrix_ -- I'll know it when I see it, and in the meantime I'll tell
people what they need to hear to set the dream into action. THE
disruptive technology that FoRK has been pushing for in the last four
years doesn't requires legions of developers designing and testing and
verifying like in Eric Raymond's Bazaar. Less is more. The smaller the
design team, the better. Open collaboration is bad. Because once you
let it out into the world, you can't go back and change it. If tools
aren't *required* to produce well-formed HTML *from* *day* *one* then
years later a grand majority of the tools *aren't* going to generate
anything even close to well-formed HTML...

6. ...less is more. Innovation requires only the successful arrangement
of technologies that already exist. The disruption comes from the
smaller, cheaper, and simpler, not from the bigger, more expensive, and
more complex extensions. It is the old Zen riddle of what remains of
the donut once you've eaten completely around the hole...

7. ...which gets us back to the whole purpose of FoRK. It's not for
entertainment, although sometimes that happens. It's not like TBTF or
Bits or GeeK or dist-obj or slashdot or techdirt or... you get the
picture. The point here isn't to break news bits, although sometimes
that happens. The point here isn't to disseminate clue and vision,
although sometimes those happen too. The point here is to archive the
steps in the process so we can go back and find relevant information in
economics and technology that might otherwise get drowned in the oceans
of Web out there. Because enlightenment *doesn't* come all at once; it
is most certainly a step function, like pushing over a Coke machine,
which isn't done all at once but rather is only achieved after a
sufficient amount of rocking back and forth. And technology is only
part of the solution. The REAL solution requires a proper analysis of
markets and positioning and transitional strategy. The love, the
community, AND the respect -- the KWAN.

FoRK members will come and FoRK members will go. At times some or
many of us will be quiet. But the goal remains very much intact.
And it is more important to get it done RIGHT than to get it done
QUICKLY, because right now no one else is even close to being on the
right path (let alone the quick one!).

Nor can they *get* on the right path because of decisions made long ago.
To get on the right path, you must be bound by no one and nothing. You
must be free from the profit motive. You must be free from the need to
please. You must be free from linear thinking and you must be free from
the desire to ADD to existing solutions. Those are the characteristics
of sustaining technologies. A truly disruptive technology they'll never
see coming until it's too late.


I'm an antiartist. I like to destroy other peoples' artwork.
-- Slacker