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Author Topic: Slowtech Manifesto (old)  (Read 1256 times)

Paul Keith

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Slowtech Manifesto (old)
« on: May 26, 2012, 05:32 PM »
Source: http://opensourceame...1/slowtech-2007.html

Site text is better formatted but if you don't want to bother clicking the link:

slowtech, July 2007.


In a world which values speed and novelty, traditional American business virtues are overlooked in the venture capital investment arena.

Natural business principles are abandoned. These can include: simplicity, caution, deliberation, loyalty, forbearance, locality, and generally execution based on pre-defined principles.

Today it must be “new” and “fast” and “big” and “global” and “tomorrow.”

The prevailing wind of this recent epoch is an historic shift from fundamentals to novelty. This shift is driven by an unhealthy obsession with technological innovation aroused by the boredom of the human condition in an over-stimulated world. This is irrational and unnatural.

Free beer tomorrow. Web 2.0 is now passé. Gen-X, even, is in decline.

The next best thing is, more often than not, only next to the best things. What made one a “sucker” before makes one “bold” and “visionary” today. Before when people went “out on a limb” they first ascertained that there was some tree there. Today for some any limb will do.

Example: a penny invested with care in a proven undertaking or in proven principles is likely to receive both security and a return.

However a penny invested in the breaking technological innovation might receive a bigger return but little or no security. Is the increased risk of loss (an uncertainty) mitigated sufficiently by the potential of increased return (another uncertainty)? Is it rational to leave cashier for casino?

And yet, surprisingly a frenetic philosophy of this line animates much of the American venture capital investment community whose participatory priorities follow.

So fast is this world that even “technology” has become just “tech.”

Why? And, how could this be? Will this not lead to market extinction?

If this growing predilection to nouveau sans deliberation were a bad thing, why would so many do it? “People, especially the successful ones, would not be able to adopt a wrong-headed position and survive or retain credibility. Therefore, what you say makes no sense.”

In reply, consider the aforementioned casino. In gambling (or gaming as it is modernly termed) a few win a great deal while most lose a little to a great deal. All have the odds stacked against them. One would think based on this that few would play, and yet industry trends indicate an ever-growing population in all varieties of ‘gaming.’

Why is this so? New games, bigger payouts. Larger payouts draw the aggregate. Thus ‘gaming’ modernly is an apt metaphor for the milieu of the American venture capital market. Few but big winners, with new games and “bigger payouts,” inspire more others to play.

Do the participants in the aggregate come out ahead? Can one carefully succeed in long-term participation in this venue? Will a few make out big time but most lose everything?

The venture capital/private equity vehicle has prepared for this with a format which presupposes little losses while presupposing large supplementary gains. Is this a safe bet? Do you want to bet?

Enter slowtech. It is time for a principled approach to business creation emphasizing proven commercial concepts instead of a blind adoption of unchecked innovations and the allure of total tech novelty.

The innovation is tradition.

Paul Keith

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Re: Slowtech Manifesto (old)
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 05:38 PM »
Addendum fable: (this time from another old post off a different blog)

Once upon a time, in the tiny hamlet of Menlo Park, California, there was a company called Facebook.

This company was unlike any other  (sorry, make that ‘like MANY others’) in that it connected people from around world through a magical and glorious technical achievement called the Internet.

Everyone loved Facebook:

“Oh my God, it is so easy to upload pictures of my baby!”

“I can’t believe I found all my old high school and college friends so easily!”

“Hey everyone, I’m off to get a coffee – can’t start my day without coffee!”

People from around the world chatted, and shared, and reconnected.  There was something really exciting going on in the tiny hamlet of Menlo Park.

But then, one day, because Facebook was growing so so so very large – and its bills were growing so so so much – it needed to somehow make money.

Facebook was so kind that they didn’t want to charge people for the privilege of using its service – so it added advertising.  Advertising so tiny that the people of the world didn’t even noticed the ads were there.

“There are ads on Facebook?  You know, I’ve never seen one – and I certainly have never clicked on one!  Good for them.”

Perhaps Mean Old Mr. Advertiser started to realize that no one was clicking or even noticing his ads.

But little Facebook still needed to get paid – I mean, even a whore has to eat – so they decided to work something out with Mean Old Mr. Advertiser.

Maybe they could somehow leverage their size and sell the personal information of their 900 million users.

Would that keep Mean Old Mr. Advertiser off their backs so they could resume their happy life of connecting the world and bringing nothing but joy?

Facebook was so kind to its users that they even added a “Like” button (because “Like” is much nicer than “Dislike” and Coca-Cola doesn’t want to see how many people “Dislike” Coke Zero).

It was so simple, users could either “Like” something or choose not to hit the “Like” button.  It was up to the user.

That worked for awhile until the users of the world started to realize what was happening.  Many users got angry and felt their privacy was being invaded.

About 15 people actually quit Facebook (while another 100 million signed up).

After a few months, things calmed in the tiny hamlet of Menlo Park and the people on Facebook – to a lesser degree – felt fairly happy again.

But then, one day, Facebook decided that the users of the world needed to share every bit of information about their lives – from birth to even death – and put it all into a very conforming and dizzying glop of data called Timeline.

Mean Old Mr. Advertiser LOVED the idea of Timeline.

Finally, Facebook was thinking like him.  Now they got the idea.  Mean Old Mr. Advertiser could scour the lives of the people of the world and target them with goods and services that they may or may not enjoy.

...there's more but it's not as consistent with the theme of the post.