There is an accepted “law” of entrepreneurship: in order to build something valuable, you have to be ten times better than what already exists (as proven by Google + which arguably had some better features than Facebook but failed to tempt people away). Why does this law exist and what can we do to change it?
Oliver Sauter believes it comes down to:
Costs to switch (time and mental effort) > additional benefit offered x~10
Such growth requirements have produced some great leaps in innovation - but these come with downsides. How would the world look if we focused more on incremental innovations?
What is holding us back? The way companies make money for one: the 2nd quarter of 2018, Facebook lost $120bn (billion!) in stock value within 48 hours, the biggest loss of any company in history. The reason: It posted the least growth since its founding, while still making 5BN in profits the same quarter and growing by 42% since the last year. Secondly, data and social lock-ins create counter incentives for interoperable formats which would make it easier for users to migrate between services or integrate them.
Breaking this dynamic would require tackling the problem from multiple angles: namely allowing users to move freely between services, creating economic models that reward quality of service rather than simple growth, and ideally adopting Open-Source software to allow companies to build on one another’s work.
WorldBrain (dot) io is building open-source software in an attempt to enable incremental innovation, the foundation of which is Memex - an open-source privacy tool. Interoperability is baked deep into the core of Memex, it is fully open-source and WorldBrain (dot) io has no stock value, so is entirely focussed on building a sustainable service.
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