Invention

Great dual interview with Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From in Wired:
[...] the great inventions are usually those that take the smallest possible step to unleash the most change. That was the difference between Tim Berners-Lee’s successful HTML code and Ted Nelson’s abortive Xanadu project. Both tried to jump into the same general space—a networked hypertext—but Tim’s approach did it with a dumb half-step, while Ted’s earlier, more elegant design required that everyone take five steps all at once.
Makes perfect sense. Rails falls into the same sort of category. Put a bunch of ideas together that were all already floating around out there. Just put it into a package and a context where they could flourish.

It's a great knack to have, the ability to do that. And it's a common trap to fall into, to want to redesign and change way too many things all at once.

1 comment

Lars, Fantastic insight and apt timing. I have a number of projects in the queue that are in design limbo. I can feel what I want them to be, but I now see that I have been thinking too far into the future, which has lead to over design, and as your piece states, requires too many steps forward at once. Once again, I am reminded of, "Release early and release often."
By David Fendley on Tue, Nov 02, 10 at 22:54 · Reply
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