Thursday, March 22, 2012

Detailed Analysis of Disruptive Technology Change

Read this: Why I doubted Facebook could build a billion dollar business, and what I learned from being horribly wrong.

Don't be afraid to read it again.
when it comes to the exceptional cases, all bets are off. So keep your mind open to weird, young [ideas] that you meet that don’t fit the established pattern
Sound advice.  The best ideas are disruptive.  That means that the idea does not fit an established pattern.

The problem with being an architect is that software architecture is a political game.

In order to justify large projects with large funding, you must cater to the folks with money who (generally) feel that disruption == risk.  The idea of incremental effort and proofs of concept may not fly because they've decided that inappropriate incumbent technology is magically quicker than appropriate but novel technology.

There's a profound Software Process Improvement issue here.  Organizations can (and do) stifle innovation in an effort to "improve" their software development process.  The false hope is that an unchanging technology base is somehow helpful at making people more effective.

Even if you give people second-rate tools, you can eventually get to be pretty good at using them.  However.  Using better tools might be better than trying to get really good at using poor tools.

What I find endlessly funny are folks who want "formal research" or "studies" that prove that some new idea is actually better than existing ideas.  You can read Stack Overflow and questions looking for studies that prove the value of unit testing or prove the value of a NoSQL database or prove that software is simpler without triggers or stored procedures.

For the moment, these are disruptive ideas.

We know they're disruptive because people keep asking for proof.

When they stop asking for proof, you know the idea has finally "arrived" and it's time to move on to find the edge of the envelope again.