If you make an improvement, it’s not going to be to the industry as a whole — it’ll be specific. And actually improvements have always been specific; it’s just that the industries have since multiplied and narrowed. Inventors once made drops into a puddle, but the puddle then expanded into an ocean. It doesn’t make the drops any less innovative.
Thursday, December 31st, 2020
Tuesday, May 29th, 2018
The transcript of a talk that is fantastic in every sense.
Fans are organised, motivated, creative, technical, and frankly flat-out awe-inspiring.
Thursday, December 21st, 2017
The transcript of a terrific talk on the humane use of technology.
Instead of using technology to replace people, we should use it to augment ourselves to do things that were previously impossible, to help us make our lives better. That is the sweet spot of our technology. We have to accept human behaviour the way it is, not the way we would wish it to be.
Saturday, March 4th, 2017
An alternative history of technology, emphasising curation over innovation:
We start to see the intangibles – the standards and ideologies that help to create and order technology systems, making them work at least most of the time. We start to see that technological change does not demand that we move fast and break things. Understanding the role that standards, ideologies, institutions – the non-thing aspects of technology – play, makes it possible to see how technological change actually happens, and who makes it happen.
Saturday, December 17th, 2016
Run from data-driven companies. In thrall to semi-science and blinded by their dogma, they’ve lost the ability to see intelligent alternative perspectives on their business, their products, and the world. Embrace instead data-informed companies. This isn’t mere grammatical pedantry – a company genuinely informed by data understands the risks of datafication and adopts sophisticated, balanced approaches to strategy that blend quant, qual, and even some of that unfashionable prediction and intuition.
Thursday, May 19th, 2016
The newest Kirby Ferguson video looks at remixing through the lens of the newest Star Wars film.
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
How the printing press led to the microscope, and chlorination transformed women’s fashion—Steven Johnson channels James Burke.
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
This sounds like it’s a going to be a good: a new TV series by Steven Johnson on the history of technology and innovation. Sounds very Burkian, which is a very good thing.
Monday, August 5th, 2013
A terrific long-zoom look at web technologies, pointing out that the snobbishness towards declarative languages is a classic example of missing out on the disruptive power of truly innovative ideas …much like the initial dismissive attitude towards the web itself.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
A rallying cry from Neal Stephenson for Getting Big Stuff Done.
Monday, March 28th, 2011
Apparently I’m the anti- David Cameron. I’ll take that.
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Space stasis: What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. - By Neal Stephenson - Slate Magazine
An excellent historical overview of rocketry by Neal Stephenson.
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Bobbie documents the work of Jan Chipchase, currently looking into the design decisions behind counterfeit goods on sale in Shanghai.
Monday, November 29th, 2010
An absolutely fantastic write-up of Science Hack Day San Francisco ...as seen through the lens of Stephen Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From.
Monday, October 18th, 2010
Stephen Johnson wrote a book. Frank Chimero did a doodle.
Monday, October 4th, 2010
You'll need to use Instapaper/Readability/Safari Reader to make it legible, but this conversation is well worth reading. Now I want to get those books.
Friday, May 28th, 2010
Matt Ridley's new book sounds like a corker.
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Steven Johnson waxes lyrical on Twitter.
Sunday, June 22nd, 2008
Scenius is like genius, only embedded in a scene rather than in genes.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2007
Ev Williams has some tips for evaluating business ideas, broken down by tractability, obviousness, deepness, wideness, discoverability, monetizability (ugh!) and the all-important "personally compelling" factor.