November 01, 2005

Common Craft - Social Design for the Web: Project Platform Wars

I'm in no sense a Mac fanatic. I've never owned a piece of Apple hardware or software and don't intend to. But I think this is a sad, if instructive, story :


The platform issue got escalated, as it had the potential to cause major problems. As it turned out- the answer was simple. Our project leader simply said that the company uses Microsoft products and that means that all diagrams, wireframes, etc. need to be done in Visio because of future hand-off to enterprise teams.


Common Craft - Social Design for the Web: Project Platform Wars

Two species - Mac and Windows - contested a space. The Mac succesfully invaded, proved more succesful, but was then stopped by a bureaucratic decree.

Robert Axelrod has a good discussion of what makes for a succesful species : initial viability, robustness, stability. Initial viability is the capacity to thrive when surrounded by other species. The Mac clearly demonstrated this. Either it was inherantly more compatible with the Windows protocols and software or, it encouraged smarter users who were able to make compatibility work.

Windows reinvaded the space through neither inherant nor externalized virtues, but through the shere momentum of numbers.

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