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On The Rise of the Stupid Network

Here’s a bit from an email thread with a friend about stupid networks:

I had the luck to meet David Isenberg at BarCampAustin — just briefly when I gave him a badge ;> — and it was one of the rare times recently that I just gushed praise over someone.

I don’t really have my “top ideas” list, but the stupid network is probably the most portable idea in that list. The idea of pushing the “intelligence” (functionality) to the edges and keeping the network (the connections and links) dumb is portable to almost any domain.

In some domains, the reason is probably that the end points usually involve humans, while the network is usually composed of technology/computers and process-driven-drones. For example, we all know the best way to get customer service is to cut through the network between you the consumer and “the supervisor.”

That is, you have to whack through all the “intelligence” in phone menus, email, ticket systems, and process-driven-drones who walk through scripts. Once you travel through the network, you reach another end point: a human who has the intelligence and (more importantly) authority to make shit happen.

That’s just one implementation of the idea: you don’t always have to have humans at both ends. Not at all. The point is the more friction due to “intelligence” that the network ads, the more tedious and useless your “network.”

Other examples include: having to register to download software, telcos slowing down the network based on what you pay (known as “extortion” in other domains), stopping your users from extending your technologies, and DRM.

The variety of analogous-thinking that you can apply The Rise of the Stupid Networks to is a testament to how great of an idea it is…which alleviates a little bit of the embarrassment of getting caught gushing ;>

Categories: Ideas.