Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exode from the hackers, rush to the mass

Hacker is used here as the following definition :
"who makes innovative customizations or combinations of retail electronic, computer or software equipment"

I am the first to advocate simplicity, however, simplicity is relative to the person you aim to.

What simplicity imply nowadays is simplicity for the mass, the guy who does not want to know how things work as long as they work for what they paid.

That's the simplicity Apple aims for, and that's the simplicity for people using their creative juice on their own work, not involving computer.

However, simplicity for the hacker is something different, and as we move simplicity towards the mass we move complexity to the hacker. Complexity is constant within a given system, the only thing we can do is to move it to different people.

Simplicity for the hacker is how easy it is to customize, to take part of software/service/electronic/machine and plug it somewhere else to improve his life or the life of someone else.

The more simplicity you give to the mass, the more complexity you give to the hacker.

What is the problem with that ? Hackers are a minority. Yep.
The problem is explained in The innovator dilemna of Clayton M. Christensen, moving to the mass or in "higher market", means increasing profit, but at the same time it changes the structure of the company that become dependant on these profits.

Then, try to ask Apple to fund a disruptive technology, with the best people with a current market of 10 millions $$... they will not bother it's too small for them. The size of the market does not match the size of the company.

But ask a hacker the same thing and you will get a very different answer.
The hacker will use the simplest approach for him.
That's how disruptive technology works.
Then the hacker will try to reach upper market, until it becomes a sustaining technology instead of disruptive one. And the cycle continue.

The IPhone is not the disruptive technology. The Newton was the one.

My bet : the winner of the next wave of disruptive technology will be the company that make life easy to the hackers.
Linux, Google, Amazon and... Microsoft.

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