Wandering Thoughts archives


You need major advantages to really move issues

Here is something that is intuitively clear to me but I am finding hard to explain coherently:

In order to really push an issue, to really get people to care about it, you need to have a major advantage to offer in it.

Here is an example of what I mean:

Imagine that you want to improve boot times, and in fact you see fast boot times as both important for usability and a competitive advantage. However, most people don't care about boot times right now, or really notice them. If you improve boot times by 1%, you don't have very much; such a small improvement isn't going to really be noticed by most people and it's not much of an advantage. But if you improve boot times by 50%, even in a restricted environment, suddenly all sorts of people are going to be energized and paying attention.

By delivering a major reduction in boot times, you will have created at least the potential for a real competitive advantage, and by doing that you will have made all sorts of people care about boot times. Some of them will go off and do things that improve the overall state of the art in boot times, which will generalize your work and probably help improve it more. Others will just improve their boot times, which validates your position that boot times are important and increases your competitive advantage (provided that you can stay ahead). And in that better boot times are an overall good thing, you will have improved everyone's life.

(Your competitive advantage is based both on how much of an improvement you can deliver and on how many people care. More people emphasizing boot times means that more people will care about it.)

But, as mentioned, none of these things happen if you don't have that major advantage to start off with. If you have only a small advantage, you cannot push your issue very effectively; it will stay unimportant and under-developed.

As I suggested in the example, often pushing an issue is important for more than just having a meaningful competitive advantage. The default situation in many areas is that people could make all sorts of incremental improvements but the demand for them isn't there, or there isn't enough of it. Unless you are very big you cannot change this on your own, because your own demand is not big enough to move the market by itself or even really get the market to listen. Pushing the issue is necessary to increase the demand in the market so that it will start delivering general improvements.

tech/NeedingMajorAdvantages written at 01:36:08; Add Comment

Page tools: See As Normal.
Login: Password:
Atom Syndication: Recent Pages, Recent Comments.

This dinky wiki is brought to you by the Insane Hackers Guild, Python sub-branch.