Thursday, January 8, 2009

'The Tyranny of Dead Ideas'

This recently introduced book by Matt Miller deals with macro issues such as school funding, merit pay, etc. On these pages I have chosen not to address such grand issues, though the title set me to thinking about the tyranny of dead ideas, within the technology industry, that when confronted with business or technology innovation, seem to crumble. Here's some examples that come to mind in the software/technology space:

1. John Moores and Rick Hosely of BMC fame proved the accepted wisdom that you can never sell software over the phone that cost more than $25,000 was nothing more than a shibboleth.

2. Microsoft proved showed CIO's that they can indeed be fired for only buying from IBM (and not innovating fast enough)

3. Linus Torvalds showed us that the wisdom of the 'Catherdral and the Bazaar' was not academic and that open source software can be more reliable and better supported than proprietary code.

4. Remember the thought that MSFT bundling its browser into the OS would kill the software industry and stifle innovation? In many ways, it accelerated the adoption of the content side of the internet and gave rise to Google's foray into the browser based OS world via Chrome.

5. After watching Hill Street Blues on my 18" monitor, streamed via Hulu, that tyranny of thought that the internet is the 'lean forward medium' and the TV is the lean back medium went up in smoke. Hasta la vista to Cablevision?...the thought just sends shivers down my spine.

6. A non-technology example of tyranny against ideas (yes, I altered the title because it seems the tyranny we have to be sensitive to in recessionary times of is the tyranny towards the status quo, and against innovation), is that no one would spend $2 for a cup of coffee; when alternatives are available for 75 cents per cup. Regardless of your taste for Starbucks, you gotta love Howard Shultz

I have no doubt that we are holding fast to a number of ideas that are rapidly 'dying' or should have never been accepted in the first place. The companies that debunk them first, or most completely, should have great futures.

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