Monday, June 13, 2005

Chris Dent is less partisan than I was about software for individuals, vs software for institutions

He sees the division as being between two "necessary and useful" types :

One type is interested in enabling or augmenting the subtle interplay of people found in synchronous encounters, in synchronous settings as well as extended into asynchronous settings. These extroverts are the true and hopeful believers in collaborative action.

The other type is more interested in augmenting the individual to allow them to manipulate information so it can be found, created and then distributed in a way that it can be manipulated by others. Introverts in an augmented dialectic.

I think that's an interesting distinction to make. Although I think the Smart Disorganized Individual embraces both. The SDI is not the opposite of extrovert. She believes in collective action and intelligence. Supporting the SDI is simply a strategy towards that end.

I also like Chris's point about diversity of tools. Individuality is a competitive advantage. You need tools which can see round corners precisely because they aren't the tools everyone else is using. If you rely on Word and Excel for all your augmented thinking, then how are you able to differentiate yourself from all the other Word and Excel users? Many times you are going to be involved in a minority game but your tools won't help you to see things differently.

Of course, there's a tension. Because information tools also need to exchange information. So there's always a tendency towards standards and even "lock in". But evolution requires that there's variation.

Final thought. Wiki is a kind of genius. As you start to load it with more interlinked pages, you start to find yourself discovering new connections between ideas you hadn't associated before. There's no technological wizardry about it. It's just that you connect X to Y, and find that Y is already connected to Z, but you'd never thought about X and Z together at the same time. Now you do, and often the results is a little mental explosion.
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