Title
#linking-together
robenkleene

robenkleene

08/18/2020, 4:22 PM
This exchange between Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway caught my attention as a good summary of something I've mulling over as well: That innovation in software is declining at a rate that frankly I find alarming. Here's Galloway's summary (https://twitter.com/PivotSchooled/status/1293664207783759874):
Unfortunately innovation has become more about your access to capital such that you can go buy the future versus the grit and creativity of bootstrapping something really exceptional.
To support this statement from my own observations, I recently wrote about how OS X was an incredible hotbed of innovation in the early 2000s (https://blog.robenkleene.com/2020/06/26/remembering-the-oreilly-mac-os-x-innovators-contest/). There are a few examples there, another one that I didn't highlight but should have is VoodooPad (https://www.voodoopad.com/) which was the first implementation (that I'm aware of) of using a wiki for personal information management. A concept that is finally seemingly reaching a wider audience these days with Roam Research. Contrast these products, which introduced innovative concepts, and were (as far as I know) entirely bootstrapped, and generally were released, and became profitable after 1-2 years of development. Versus what I would consider an innovative product today: Something like Figma and Notion, which were founded in 2012 and 2013 respectively, each spent ~5 years before really having their breakout moments, and have raised over $200m combined. So is innovation primarily being primarily driven by access to capital today? If so, what's changed since the 2000s? And if not, what are some examples of success stories today where smaller, bootstrapped companies are releasing innovative products?
j

Jack Rusher

08/18/2020, 8:01 PM
Regarding pre-VoodooPad personal Wikis, a quick nod toward 2002's Tinderbox: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinderbox_(application_software) ... which was part of a wave of notetaking apps and personal knowledge bases in the early 00s. Those interested in this sort of thing should take note of the graph view, the bidirectional links, the expandability, and so on, as covered here:http://www.atpm.com/10.10/atpo.shtml
robenkleene

robenkleene

08/18/2020, 10:26 PM
Absolutely, I remember that app well, I really miss those days when so many new ideas were being explored
yoshiki

yoshiki

08/19/2020, 4:32 AM
For a while I thought this was the case too, but I don't buy into this narrative any more. There is a ton of innovation happening in smaller "scenes" that just isn't very legible to media outlets and these influencer types and VCs. Imo the most interesting work is often the most obscure. The frontier is not glittzy and has no press-releases, in fact often it might be deliberately staying under the radar. So I think the opinions about innovation from these established personalities should be taken in mind with the maturity of their careers, which often corresponds with how deeply embedded they are in stale systems.
robenkleene

robenkleene

08/19/2020, 9:48 AM
I don't disagree. (I'd love to hear any examples of innovative work.) Based on your description, it's unclear if the innovative work you're talking about has also been market viable? That was a nice thing about the early 2000s, many of these products were also profitable.
Konrad Hinsen

Konrad Hinsen

08/19/2020, 12:35 PM
@yoshiki So what/where are those small scenes, and how would an outsider find them? I think discoverability matters as well for innovation, because it's a condition for getting feedback from diverse sources, and not just a small bubble of friends.
yoshiki

yoshiki

08/21/2020, 2:10 AM
@Konrad Hinsen I'm still getting familiar with it but the work that the p2p community is doing is incredibly imaginative. This recently released zine has a good overview of their efforts.
Konrad Hinsen

Konrad Hinsen

08/21/2020, 7:44 AM
@yoshiki Thanks for that pointer! I hadn't seen it yet, although I do follow the p2p community a bit, my contact point being IPFS. There is indeed a lot of creative work going on there, coupled with serious efforts to make p2p usable even within today's world dominated by centralized systems.
yoshiki

yoshiki

08/21/2020, 8:49 AM
I agree that discoverability matters. I think it's a very subtle issue tho. I wanna write up some of my thoughts on it soon, since I feel like I've learned a lot about this in the last year or so.
8:50 AM
Certainly communities like this help tho!