Stifling Innovation24 Oct 2020
The natural question that comes up when thinking about disruptive innovation is: How can incumbent companies successfully navigate the transition to a disruptive technology?
The answer I’m familiar with is basically that managers invest in the new technology, and let the old and new compete. This acknowledges the risk that the new technology might fail, and also captures the upside if it succeeds. As the previous company/department begins to decline, the other starts growing just as quickly and you already have an ownership stake in it.
Better Office Ideas15 Oct 2020
I thought it would be fun to write down my thoughts on how offices could be setup better for long-term post-COVID reopening.
Serverless3 Oct 2020
Serverless is powerful because:
It’s often cheaper than running the same application on a VPS. Right now, this may be mostly because it’s under-priced. But it does actually require fewer physical resources, since applications scale on-demand and many applications can share the same physical host more efficiently.
Possibly also falling under “cheaper,” it has a lower operational burden. Developers simply upload their code and the cloud provider handles process management and scaling.
Applications that run on serverless platforms are faster because they’re always hosted near the end-user.
All except 3 are proposed benefits of sufficiently developed crypto. I guess a network that lets you get 3d-printed gun designs is also one, though.
End-to-End Encryption10 Sep 2020
E2E encryption possibly fits into the model for disruptive technology:
- It’s disproportionately valued by a small set of people.
- Established companies are unable to effectively deploy it because they either consider plaintext data valuable, or they’ve built a product which is technically unable to be offered in an end-to-end encrypted fashion.
However, it’s not clear that sufficiently developed E2E encryption is able to provide the same service better than an unencrypted alternative would be able to.
Wikipedia, part 29 Sep 2020
Disruptive innovation requires the creation of a new disruptive technology. So if Wikipedia is an example of disruptive innovation, what technology did they create? Like most people, I hear “new technology” and my mind naturally starts looking for machinery and gears combining to accomplish something that nobody thought was possible before. But that’s not here: Wikipedia is widely considered technically unremarkable. Instead, what stands out to me about Wikipedia and makes me think “that shouldn’t work” is anonymous contribution.
Cloudflare’s Browser5 Sep 2020
Alternate Title: Cloudflare’s Plan for World Domination (Not Really (Maybe))
Cloudflare’s browser product will mark the beginning of a two-sided network. That is, we’ll have answers to the two following questions:
Why Tumblr?4 Sep 2020
Why do I feel like it’s easier to write on Tumblr than on any kind of self-hosted blog?
- Tumblr has no friction between deciding to write something and starting to write.
- It has a WYSIWYG editor that’s fun to use.
- I can queue posts for later.
- It’s social. There’s the possibility of my content getting seen and interacted with by other people.
- In turn, I could find other people that I like and follow them and see their posts on here.
Enjoyable Work3 Sep 2020
What do people like about their jobs (besides money)?
- Social interaction: A sense of community
- Autonomy: An ability to decide how they work
- Variety: A defense against boredom
- Feedback: Knowing if they’ve done a good job
- Sense of contribution: An understanding of how their effort helps the company achieve its mission
Wikipedia2 Sep 2020
Wikipedia is a classic, underrated example of disruptive innovation. They started out by serving the low-end market of people that want information immediately, for free, and are fine with that information not necessarily being high quality. This was previously a market that print encyclopedias like Britannica served with door-to-door salespeople, but while trying to grow their revenue they naturally pursued higher-margin opportunities with universities and academic researchers.