September 27, 2010
Some great responses to, and extensions of, the things I've been writing about lately
- In response to Forking Is A Feature, Rafe Colburn offers up The cultural implications of forking, rightly pointing out, "Linus Torvalds didn’t set out to change the culture of open source software when he created Git. He was trying to efficiently manage the work being done on the Linux kernel."
- On a more personal level, Sumeet Jain talks about his first fork as a visceral experience. It's easy to talk about the abstract impact that forking has on culture, but far more profound to talk about the personal elation it can inspire. "When I saw that my tiny sliver of the open source pie was forked, I felt like I’d just shared in one of those excellent post-discovery high-fives."
- Building on The Facebook Reckoning, Alexandra Samuel wrote The Accidental Online Society, which I found extremely thought provoking:
It may be fine for the market to pick the winners and losers of the next round of IPOs: for us to vote with our (virtual) feet in choosing whose particular worldview or neuroses will be part of our daily Internet use, and thus to decide which platforms and communities will thrive. But a “vote with your feet” policy is not a great basis for shaping a new set of cultural norms, particularly when so few people feel empowered to make conscious decisions about how to spend their time online, let alone see themselves as shaping a new online society.
- About a year and a half ago, I wrote about launching Last Year's Model. To my delight, the idea is still going strong, and others have explored similar concepts with more focused execution such as the Revive smartphone:
[U]nlike other electronics, the revive smartphone was developed with re-manufacturing, re-use and recycling in mind. ... The phone itself is designed for easy disassembly allowing it to be recycled easily or simply upgraded through replacing different components. By combining this with simple software upgrades, users can continue to repair their phone rather than throw it out and buy a new one.The concept also includes a membership system that rewards users for keeping their phones longer. ... The backside is covered in a brown leather to reflect the lifespan of the device.
- That idea of using leather harkens to a key fixation of mine about digital devices: They should break in instead of breaking down. If our mobile devices are about rock and roll, they should be about leather and denim, materials that get better with age, instead of pricey, precious materials that demand reverence from us. I want a device that i own, not one that owns me. It's been almost five years since I first wrote about this type of design as a great way to compete with the iPod/iPhone/iPad juggernaut, and there's still nobody trying that hard, as Joel Johnson illustrates in his great explanation of why he loves costly, flawed, but still endearing wooden iPhone case.
- Interestingly, many of the lessons in Hospitality and Process are recapitulated more succinctly in this Forbes interview with Warren Buffett and Jay-Z. I've linked to the print version to minimize revenues for the sad-sack magazine that's given a platform to Dinesh D'Souza's idiocy, but this piece is actually worthwhile, and while it purports to be about the financial acumen of these two honorable gentlemen, it's more clearly a story about simple leadership.
- Finally, if you liked the diagram of the creative process outlined by Danc in his post I linked to in Hospitality and Process, then you'll be happy to know he's hung out his shingle as Spry Fox. Spry Fox follows a deeply collaborative model, where they don't bring all the talented people who build games on staff, but instead rely on a more networked concept where talent assembles for the duration of a project and then are free to work together again in the future. That's exactly how we put together the team we collaborated with at Activate to work on Gourmet Live, and it seems like it's going to become an increasingly popular way to attract the talents of extraordinary people in a way that both fosters collaboration and recognizes that true talents deserve a high degree of flexibility and control over their work and careers.
Blogging is that machine where you can put in a dime and get out a quarter.