Re: Free Riders II
- Clay Shirky wrote:
>This is also the argument of Clayton Christenson's book, The Innovator's
> Adoption is a better predictor of
> software longevity than perfection is.
> As we learned from EBay, bad technology plus popularity beats good
> technology plus no popularity.
> This is an argument made in the famous Lisp vs C paper,
Dilemma, which everyone one this list should read if you haven't
already. It explains why disruptive technologies are often "inferior"
to other technologies that they replace, why better is not always
better, so to speak.
As those of us who've been around a long time know, the PC was
originally dismissed as a toy by people who had "real" computers, and
according to multimedia developers, the web would never catch on,
because it was so clearly inferior to the rich multimedia toolkits used
for making CD-ROMs, not to mention the graphical user interfaces used on
PCs. Disruptive technologies such as Napster (or the web, or open
source, or the PC itself) rewrite the rules by which "better" is judged.
That being said, I think most of us are probably all in violent
this. Napster certainly can (and probably will) be improved. But those
will likely be incremental improvements built by recognizing its
rule-changing strengths--the things that Clay has been articulating.
Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104