We’ve all heard the adage that less is more. It’s a succinct retort to our natural tendency to desire whatever is the biggest, the fastest, the fanciest, or the sparkliest, an effect exacerbated in technology and on the internet where trends are born and die within hours or minutes.
I recently met with a former colleague who never fails to inspire me with the projects he's working on. For the most part, these projects are not digital in nature, but instead involve bringing real world communities together in the face of sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges. He loves his work so much that his passion is absolutely infectious and pushes people and structures beyond their comfort zone. He is what I like to call an “innovation agent”.
The LEMP stack (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP) is something I learned early on in web development. It's modern, scalable, and most of all -- simple. You can get up and running in a matter of minutes with powerful tools to let you focus on writing code and not pretending to be a sysadmin.
Aaron Swartz was, by all accounts, a brilliant and passionate mind. He dropped out of high school to begin changing the world at 14, was a dotcom millionaire by 21, was indicted on federal charges at 24, and committed suicide at 26.
For most, the Internet is still something experienced through the written word. So much for the information revolution; we still access most webpages through an interface that would be all too familiar to Gutenberg and his ilk.
The HealthCare.gov fiasco is a timely case study in how "big" is a liability in today's age of radical connectivity. Big institutions - a giant federal bureaucracy, huge technology contractors, and a bloated government procurement process - spent over $500,000,000 creating a glorified webform -- and failed. But these big organizations never stood a chance, and smaller, more agile, and nimbler firms and processes could have mitigated these risks which now threaten the President's legacy.
A few days ago, I was reminded me of a court case I'd heard about back in April, involving a company called ReDigi. The company bills itself as "your favorite used record store, but for digital music files".