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Platform Digest 2023.01: Gardening Platforms

🥂 On time for your first weekend of the year: a round-up of this week's most remarkable stories at the intersection of #ecosystem #innovation and #platform #organisation.

Gardening Platforms

Remember that platforms are living things. If you try to exert too much control, you’ll smother it. Let go of the need to control everything and go with the flow. Let go of the idea that you won’t waste effort--you absolutely will! But it’s impossible to tell what is wasted effort until after the fact. And it’s better to stay flexible. Instead of fighting changing conditions, surf them, responding opportunistically and being in the moment. If you fight the wave, it will capsize you. But if you surf it, you can be propelled by its power. As long as you’ve capped your downside, have a north star, and are following the other rules of thumb, it’s hard to mess it up too badly.

🏆 An excellent slide deck intended to be read with speaker notes. If you are someone trying to figure out anything around idealising, evolving and growing platforms, this is a must-see - by Alex Komoroske

ASML: engineering the future in fine detail

Imagine, if you will, that progress fizzled out in the early-90s, and computer processing power stayed static rather than doubling every 18 months, as Moore’s Law predicts. In this alternative world, basic ‘smartphones’ exist but are bulky, burn through battery life and cost a fortune. Apps such as Snapchat and Zoom never had a chance. And Apple went bust because Steve Jobs didn't release the iPod, let alone the iPhone. Electric cars are still a rarity, and artificial intelligence never got a ‘deep learning’ boost. So forget about buying a Tesla or asking Alexa to turn on the lights. Amazon never launched its AWS cloud computing division, meaning thousands of smaller tech firms never started up nor achieved scale. Great news for Blockbuster Video, not so much for Netflix.

⌛ Time would stand still without the latest chip-making technology - by Julia Angeles

Closing Industry Frontiers

This is happening to the software industry. Those gaps of untapped data and unautomated processes are steadily shrinking, not just because startups are filling them, but because so many companies see software as, increasingly, a core part of their business. You know this is true because when big companies mess up their software, whether it's Boeing's 737-MAX or Southwest's scheduling bugs ($, WSJ), it's headline news. When the real estate in question is virtual rather than physical, it's hard to draw a line on a map, but in a sense that speaks to the frontier thesis: it's hard to delineate software and non-software businesses when cars and heavy machinery are increasingly giant computers processing huge volumes of sensor input, and when service jobs can be augmented by machine translation and text generation models.

💻 Software ate the world? - in Diff

Do organisations have to get slower as they grow?

When you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, you don’t know what the next thing or product-market fit is, how to respond to what the competitors are doing when they are very fast moving, it’s better to have more of the focus in the bottom-up kind of innovation. Allowing that space for interesting things that live underneath, to find interesting ideas. Once you find an interesting idea you can then fend off and accelerate and you can invest more energy in it. People often think that strategy is having a really good plan that’s very rigorous and well researched and well executed on, with a lot of focus, but that’s the opposite of strategy in many cases. Strategy is creating the conditions that make it way more likely that you’ll have success. And that is often by creating lots of exposure to lots of different bets and lots of different seeds planted in different directions any one of which might start growing, and once it starts growing - invest in it.

🎯 Strategy is not a plan, it's laying the foundations for a garden to flourish and harness the most beautiful fruits - Clearer Thinking with Alex Komoroske

If you like this digest, you might appreciate the sister newsletter at the intersection of #technology, #business, #design, and #culture as well. This week's edition is all about Magic.

Please, feel free to send tips, comments, and ideas for the next digest by replying to this post. Or, send them directly to 📭 hello@futuring-architectures.com

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