James Governor's Monkchips

Opinionated Infrastructure: What is it and What does Square’s Acquisition can tell us about Systems Design?

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I have been working on a video and blog series recently, sponsored by IBM, about the idea of Opinionated Infrastructure, where user experience is improved by simplifying things, and driving opinions into the architectural design. In one of the videos I discuss Twitter to help people understand the role of simplified configuration in scale out architectures, so it was interesting to see that Square, the mobile payments system cofounded by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, had acquired a design agency. Design is crucial to user experience, and 80/20 focuses on simplicity. From its web site:

At 80/20, we’ve been fortunate to work on amazing products and platforms. In every project, we’ve started with the belief that the best design gets out of the user’s way and that you can craft unforgettable user experiences by keeping things simple and obsessing over the details.

Anyone that has paid for goods and services can attest that Square is already a beautifully simple experience. It will be interesting to see how the agency acquisition steps that up. The lesson – focus on removing options, and having a strong opinion in order to drive a better UX, but most importantly focus on design. I am running a Google Hangout tomorrow at 1pm EST examining these options in more depth, and we’d love for you to join us.

Can PureSystems learn to love simplicity? Lets discuss it tomorrow.

In other news, here is that video about Twitter and Scale Out again.


  1. […] an off-the-cuff remark I made the other day in my post on the CRM security model, I ran across this video post by James Governor. He’s driving at something bigger than an argument for general simplicity, […]

  2. These videos are great James. Really educational, and very thought-provoking. I hope you’re not done now that the opinionated architecture series is complete!

    1. thanks andrew. great feedback. no – i am thinking What Next?

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