Short-Sightedness in Software

  • tools, not apps (and environments, not app pickers)
  • SAAS-es are a bad idea
    • they don't compose with others
    • they are data-silos over some small functionality
    • they try to keep everyone inside
    • they usually don't last for long
      • because of that, adoption is even harder - people are afraid of relying on something that will probably not be there in a couple of months/years
      • this makes it hard to create breakthroughs growing out of large-scale adoption
  • storing data, that I want to have access to forever, on someone's servers is scary
    • flattening everything to readable file formats is a solution, but limits what I can do - since desktop apps working on flat-files are disappearing

Yet another perspective is to note that one of the human genetic "built-ins" is "hunting and gathering" -- this requires resources to "be around", and is essentially incremental in nature. It is not too much of an exaggeration to point out that most businesses are very like hunting-and-gathering processes, and think of their surrounds as resources put there by god or nature for them. Most don't think of the resources in our centuries as actually part of a human-made garden via inventions and cooperation, and that the garden has to be maintained and renewed.

Some excerpts from recent Alan Kay emails - Alan Kay, Bret Victor