Categories
The Social Web

Iterative progression, iterative culture

It’s been a while since I have posted something on wilbertbaan.nl. The next weeks I’ll try to pick it up again and write about why the experimental news system EN.nl stalled and where it stalled, and what I learned from it. And I will write about some new private projects I’ve been working on in the last months.

Ideas
In a very interesting piece called World Building web artist Jonathan Harris is comparing online experiences with fast food culture. I can very much relate to what he writes and reading his essay-like story is definitely worth some your time.

City ideas have to do with a particular moment in time, a scene, a movement, other people’s work, what critics say, or what’s happening in the zeitgeist. City ideas tend to be slick, sexy, smart, and savvy, like the people who live in cities. City ideas are often incremental improvements—small steps forward, usually in response to what your neighbor is doing or what you just read in the paper. City ideas, like cities, are fashionable. But fashions change quickly, so city ideas live and die on short cycles.

The opposite of city ideas are “natural ideas”, which account for the big leaps forward and often appear to come from nowhere. These ideas come from nature, solitude, and meditation. They’re less concerned with how the world is, and more with how the world could and should be.

The development of and on the web is mostly iterative. We make small steps fast, and as a result our creative focus narrows, making bigger steps less likely. It’s also happening in our communication. Open communication like Twitter lowers the barriers to talk to someone, not only are the costs near zero, the social barrier is also very low. I can ask you something. And even easier, I can directly respond to something you share.

Open source software and the thrive to continuous communication with customers makes product development public and iterative. As a results it connects better to demands and minimizes risks.

Iterative culture
I don’t judge this culture. I don’t think you can. It’s the effect of a time. I don’t think you can judge it right or wrong, it’s a fact, something that’s happening right here, right now.

Personally I like the iterative structure the web is in. I also feel it’s blocking me from taking bigger steps. It’s difficult to take some distance from something that’s always moving.

If you do take some distance and ask yourself how will this be in five or ten years you will get a pretty clear focus and you will be able to think in leaps instead of iterative steps.

For me, my best and personal most successful and satisfying projects are those where I took some distance and time to research.