Sunday, June 8, 2008

Big Thoughts on a Sunny SF Day

Sunny days in San Francisco will make you think big thoughts.

This article on "Social Surplus" was really thought provoking. The author, Clay Shirky, basically thinks the last few generations have wasted a lot of time on Gin and TV respectively. Now that free time is being directed towards projects on the web, we're about to start seeing it pay massive dividends. Here's an example I liked:

"So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project--every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in--that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it's the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television."

I tend to agree with him. Not so much about TV or Gin, but the way projects on the web are out in the open, makes it easier to build on top of each other. That, and more time, are the real secrets to building something cool.