Think of incandescent bulbs. Or universities (or tenure). Paper money. The post office. These are all examples of organizations or technologies that persist, largely for historical reasons, not because they remain the best solution to the problem for which they were created. They are often obstacles to much better solutions… History increasingly traps us, creating paths—and endowments and costs, both in time and money—that must be traveled before we can change directions, however desirable those new directions might seem. History—the path by which we got here, and the endowments and effluvia it has left us—is an increasingly large weight on our progress. Our built environment is an installed base, like an ancient computer operating systems that holds back progress because compatibility gives such an immense advantage.
When I read this I think about Newfoundland - why it was settled (fish) and the current political/social challenges (10B+ in debt, 500K geographically isolated people wtf).
In Generation Like, an eye-opening follow-up to FRONTLINE’s 2001 documentary The Merchants of Cool, author Douglas Rushkoff returns to the world of youth culture to explore how the perennial teen quest for identity and connection has migrated to social media — and how big brands are increasingly co-opting young consumers’ digital presences.
Instead of selling the product to the teenage audience, the idea is to get the teenage audience to sell the product to itself — and for corporations to collect big data in the process.
When people understand your product in simple terms that speak to their needs, your product catches on… Make sure you don’t get stuck on tweaks and incremental features: they don’t matter anywhere near the order of magnitude as the big, core principle stuff.
The dominant model for organizing digital content throughout the last half-decade has been the stream. It’s everywhere–any site or service that presents content in the familiar, endlessly scrolling chronological list. Blogs are streams. Facebook’s a stream. Twitter’s a stream on steroids.
You know what else is a stream? Live TV! It comes with the very same qualities that exist in and enliven all the examples above. It’s immediate. It’s constant. It’s always-on, always-there, always-new. You don’t have to do a damn thing except show up.
In its earliest incarnation, Netflix wasn’t competing with TV; it was competing with Blockbuster. “Netflix was a video rental store,” he explains. “And its original website was a rental shelf.” That’s what gave birth to Netflix’s UI.
Consider, for example, a strange paradox of the streaming video age: You’ll totally watch an hour of Ghostbusters on TNT, but you’d never in a million years start it up from the top on Netflix, even though it’s always right there, just a dozen clicks away.
Here’s the thing, new technologies - Steam, Youtube, VHX, etc. - are now changing the very definition of what a game, movie, show - a piece of “content” - actually is. The definitions are more fluid, more experimental, more experiential. By taking on those attributes, I believe that the the content makers are implicitly showing an enormous amount of respect for their viewers, their customers, by allowing them in at a much earlier stage of their process. By allowing them to experience the craft.