Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On Simplicity and Execution

I have recently started to use delicious, the social bookmarking system.  Today I also found out about delicious networks: you can subscribe to the delicious feeds of a number of users and then see them as a single unified feed. 

You can also subscribe to individual RSS feeds and be notified when someone you know and trust comes up with a new interesting link.

Why am I talking about this?  I started thinking about these delicious features because back in 2000/2001 I was thinking about something quite similar from a philosophical point of view.  I wanted to have a way to communicate to a network of trusted people the evolution of my interests and how I was structuring the nformation that I was getting from the internet.  I was thinking about a complex trust system, modelled using graph theory.  I had pieces of news moving across the graph, gaining strength as they received a thumb-up by more and more users.

I was theorizing about the rise of implicit communities, ephemeral islands in the net auto-defined by links of mutual trust and common interests.

Too much theorizing.  There were overwhelming theoretical problems there.  How to avoid dangerous trust-feedbacks of information within a network? How should trust be modelled?  What are the dimensions of trust?

That's all academic bullshit. 

Useful for after-the-fact analysis. 
Useless to get started doing things.

Everybody can have a good idea.  Ideas have become dead cheap.

Good executon means getting the simplest idea and get it implemented and used by people. 
The rest will follow, if it still makes sense.

I need people to shake me every now and again and tell me: "Yes, it's nice, cool, fantastic! but.. what can we implement and ship right now?"

In other words... keep it real!

That's much easier to do if you have people around you that are actively challenging the ideas in a positive way.

It's not always easy to keep switching from creative/theoretical mode (which is necessary) to *immediate* mode without external help.
I've read lately an interview of the guys that implemented youtube. "We wanted to find a way to share videos between friends". I've heard versions of this too many times. Maybe a service/sofware that is genuinly useful to us and our friends is a good indicator towards the correct direction. It has to be simple too.
And implementing it is as important
as pushing it to the world.

federico, I love the "keep it real" as a TM name for a social site or even better a social programming language... What a great name :)
Sadly your keep it real sounds much like the 37signals's getting real. It's cool but could be intended as a lousy rip off.
Yep, Thanassis. I'm afraid it's a TM already and a book too :-)

If you like it, it means they really got it right.

Hey mr T. we did a great Ruby presentation in Padua, I would have liked to have you there, we'll send you the pics.
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