over 10 years on 2008-06-01


in even shorter form than normal:

0.  misdirect & misinform:  the future of communication is going to be around misinformation.  when everything can be heard the only way to differentially transmit information is to over communicate/misdirect.

1.  language is getting less and less precise:  the more paper, the more writing, the easier distribution of text is absolutely killing language.  the value of good writing is going way down because incremental letters don't cost anything.

2.  calculus and the types of problems that make sense to the human mind are changing:  la and i had a very interesting lunch last week.  you used to need calculus for all sorts of problems you can now brute force, they seem obvious.  there is a constantly shifting frontier of what problems need imagination/abstraction to solve and how people think about those problems

3.  more machines changes the way we work:  each time i add more machines to my workspace it fundamentally changes the way i work.  big monitors had a profound impact, synergy is having an even bigger impact.  i no longer think of laptops as distinct machines, they are all part of a continuum of work - i have my own mini cloud.

4.  good businesses in the long run must have a variable cost component: if you don't have a variable cost component to what you sell you are screwed because fixed costs in tech fall to fast and variable cost is too predictable.  if you don't have a 'margin' then you can't have an advantage in the long run.

5.  total transparency is a bad idea unless you have perfect law:  if you have perfect knowledge and perfect enforcement you had better not make mistakes as a society.  there is no wiggle room, there is no experimentation possible.  there is no way to not end up with a monolithic society.

6.  wisdom of the crowds and a belief in a fully transparent society go hand in hand.  you can't believe in transparency without believing the crowds are always right.  i don't believe that the crowds.

8.  tendency towards disequilibrium:  check out the markets.  which leads me to....

9.  ms. sagan's senior class....  frost's fire and ice:

some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice.
from what i’ve tasted of desire
i hold with those who favor fire.
but if it had to perish twice,
i think i know enough of hate
to say that for destruction ice
is also great
and would suffice.

10.  the fatter the pipe gets the lest you know whom to trust.  newspapers will become more important, not less.

11.  creativity can only occur when you can't figure out the answer: 

12.  authorization and authentication.  jg proposed on a recent call that what makes drop.io special in the online sphere is that we deal only in authorization and not authentication.  this was, by far, the most accurate and precise explanation of our 'privacy' model that i have heard to date, i wish i had thought of that way of articulating it. 

16.  signal to noise

17.  social mad-man theory:  the joke is on everyone else.

18.  there are probably only 10 companies in the world that can build clouds.

19.  i will never buy another iphone - i probably will buy the g3. 

20.  the commotization of communication will make relationships more valuable:  discussed at the y+30 meetup.

21.  organizing the world's info only makes sense for public information... and most info isn't public

22.  bad interfaces require entry feedback...  e.g.  the prius navigation system -- the 'beep' on click is a crib for the fact the interface is too slow and people are unsure if they have taken action.

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010