Open-Source is the Agincourt-Inside

Ok, that came out wrong…

I meant… you know, like “Intel Inside”? And Agincourt was the classic disruptive-innovation upset (though there was a lot of bungling as well)… but basically it has become the… archetype? For when the aristocracy who’s power depends on a certain bastion/framework of incremental innovation… with the diminishing-returns that that entails (to compete you needed more and more and more expensive plate-armour)….

… meets a great unwashed who have turned up with something new, and which radically changes the economic balance.

The printing press did it big-time, and we’re well and truly into the Second Guttenberg shift right now, courtesy of back-to-back revolutions that are breaking with increasing frequency.

So anyway, I was looking at this earlier (on franken-cameras):

The way that Mark Levoy says “a single-lense, reflex camera that you buy from Canon or Nikon, is a closed, proprietary platform”… as though it is common-sense that his is a serious drawback, kindof made it dawn on me – that we’re going through a phase where every single locus of proprietary technological competition that exists, is open to an Agincourt scenario – and the key vector is open-sourcery.

Because (according to Eric Von Hippel, 3/4 of major product innovations are made by users and 85% of new product launches fail. Users are embedded in the problem. Manufacturers are embedded in the solution, so tend to make incremental adjustments to what already works.

Still… going back to the 15th Century,

Proprietary systems, copyright, patents etc etc… are all a kind of fortress… just as plate-armour was a kind of fortress… and as Nicolo Machiavelli said the last time around:

the best possible fortress is – not to be hated by the people, because, although you may hold the fortresses, yet they will not save you if the people hate you, for there will never be wanting foreigners to assist a people who have taken arms against you

Every fortress is an opportunity.