In his seminal book, Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore explains how high-tech products get adopted. The new product needs to get enough early majority users or most of the time fall down to the chasm. A new technology comes out and a small number of people who are called early adopters start using it. These people use it because it is exciting and new. They don’t care if it is stable or productive. They are just excited by the technology and they will use and try the product even if sucks. They see future possibilities in the technology and they are excited about it. Then there comes the pragmatists. These people will only use your product if it is really useful.
The Big Chasm
The Come Back
Couple of months ago, I listened Joel Spolsky on his talk to NYC Lisp Users Group. He wasn’t very excited about the small things loosely coupled way of things working on the web. He suggested a new language framework that integrated the server side and client side. So things are done “right”. Although it was an interesting talk, as a big Joel fun, this was pretty disappointing. This is exactly what Java, Flash and MS one-click installs tried to do and pretty much failed.
The very weaknesses that make the Web so infuriating to serious practitioners also make it possible in the first place. In fact, had the Web been a strong and well-designed entity from its inception, it would have gone nowhere. As it enters its adolescence, showing both flashes of maturity and infuriating unreliability, it is worth recalling what the network was like before the Web.