Nokia's SmartPhone revolution
Building a better web

Uncoordinated acts

Seth Godin writes about 'A great phrase coined by Glenn Reynolds': Horizontal Knowledge.

If we had started planning in 1993, we probably wouldn't have gotten here by now. The Web, Wi-Fi, and Google didn't develop and spread because somebody at the Bureau of Central Knowledge Planning planned them. They developed, in large part, from the uncoordinated activities of individuals. … We didn't need a thousand librarians with scanners, because we had a billion non-librarians with computers and divergent interests. … what lots of smart people, loosely coordinating their actions with each other, are capable of accomplishing. It's the power of horizontal, as opposed to vertical knowledge. … As the world grows more interconnected, more and more people have access to knowledge and coordination. Yet we continue to underestimate the revolutionary potential of this simple fact. Heck, we underestimate the revolutionary reality of it, in the form of things we already take for granted, like Wi-Fi and Google. But I'm not a wild-eyed visionary. As a result, I'm going to make a very conservative prediction: that the next ten years will see revolutions that make Wi-Fi and Google look tame, and that in short order we'll take those for granted, too. It's a safe bet. Glenn Reynolds

Seth Godin continues:

It's best understood by thinking about its opposite: Vertical Knowledge. The stuff you get from the boss or the MSM or the person at the front of the room. Whenever I go to a conference, I learn more from the people in the lobby. And the web is one big big lobby. … Planning implies vertical, top down thinking. And in many areas, it's backfiring.

There's a lot rolling around in my head that says this kind of thing, too, and in education I have never let go of that remark I read years ago, 'regimentation and education are incompatible'. Let things shoot, grow up and develop. Be very careful with, be very wary of the top down.