TITLE: A Hint for Idealess Web Entrepreneurs AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: March 30, 2007 6:51 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I'm still catching up on blog reading and just ran across this from Marc Hedlund:
One of my favorite business model suggestions for entrepreneurs is, find an old UNIX command that hasn't yet been implemented on the web, and fix that. talk and finger became ICQ, LISTSERV became Yahoo! Groups, ls became (the original) Yahoo!, find and grep became Google, rn became Bloglines, pine became Gmail, mount is becoming S3, and bash is becoming Yahoo! Pipes. I didn't get until tonight that Twitter is wall for the web.
Show of hands -- how many of you have used every one of those Unix commands? The rise of Linux means that my students don't necessarily think of me as a dinosaur for having used all of them! I wonder when rsync will be the next big thing on the web. Or has already done that one, too? Then Noel Welsh points out a common thread:
The real lesson, I think, is that the basics of human nature are pretty constant. A lot of the examples above are about giving people a way to talk. It's not a novel idea, it's just the manifestation that changes.
Alan Kay is right -- perhaps the greatest impact of computing will ultimately be as a new medium of communication, not as computation per se. Just this week an old friend from OOPSLA and SIGCSE dropped me a line after stumbling upon Knowing and Doing via a Google search for an Alan Kay quote. He wrote, "Your blog illustrates the unique and personal nature of the medium..." And I'm a pretty pedestrian blogger way out on the long tail of the blogosphere. This isn't to say that computation qua computation isn't exceedingly important. I have a colleague who continually reminds us young whippersnappers about the value added by scientific applications of computing, and he's quite right. But it's interesting to watch the evolution of the web as a communication channel, and as our discipline lays the foundation for a new way to speak we make possible the sort of paradigm shift that Kay foretells. And this paradigm shift will put the lie to the software world's idea that moving from C to C++ is a "paradigm shift". To reach Kay's goal, though, we need to make the leap from social software to everyman-as-programmer, though that sort of programming may look nothing like what we call programming today. -----