Brad Feld

Back to Blog

Is There Anybody Out There?

May 27, 2008
Category Technology

If that heading makes you think "Relax, relax, relax I need some information first" then you have the same Pink Floyd addiction that I have.

Eric Norlin – my co-conspirator in the Defrag Conference – has a very relevant post up titled Beyond Incrementalism 2.0.  I expect we are going to hear a new wave of "why aren’t we (where "we" is the computer industry) going after big problems right now." 

Tim O’Reilly had a dynamite post up over the weekend titled MicroHoo: corporate penis envy? (anyone bold enough to use the phrase "penis envy" in the title of a blog post is a personal hero of mine.)  Fred Wilson weighed in, called it the Best Blog Post In A Long Time and pulled out some of the great one liners.  Among other things, his post is about the need for Big Hairy Audacious Goals to move innovation forward.

On my run this morning (during the 60 minutes where I got lost in the mountains and added a very muddy extra 30 minutes to my normal two hour run to the office) I ruminated on the dynamics of incrementalism and whether I was seeing enough radically new stuff – or if the new things I was seeing was merely an incremental build.

In our friendly neighborhood "Web 2.0 space" (god I hate that phrase) there is a ridiculous amount of incrementalism.  When the echoes in the echo chamber echo even more than usual, that is a signal – mostly about the signal to noise ratio getting out of whack.

When I think of other areas we are playing around in (HCI, Digital Life) I’m seeing plenty of stuff that I would put in the "radically new / BHAG" category (e.g. "the mouse and keyboard are an anachronism – their time is up – let’s make them vanish.")

Based on Eric’s brain and what he’s thinking about, I expect this years Defrag Conference to step wide outside the Web 2.0 / Implicit Web echo chamber and try to re-energize some seriously cool thinking around BHAGs in this arena.  Come play.