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The Speed of Innovation

Published August 15th, 2007 edit replace rm!

Speed of Innovation

Frederik Andersen of Goodmorning Technology in Denmark gave a great talk last night at Innovation Center Denmark in Palo Alto on the speed of innovation.

His design firm is working on all kinds of interesting projects using a method which I found very reminiscent to what we do as agile web application developers.

Firstly Frederik said his clients always want them to provide a straight path to a successful product design. He says that this is pretty much impossible due to what he calls the dual speeds of innovation going on in everything.

What this means is that designers (and developers) have traditionally focused on features. Features are basically lead by the designers or developers of the project, thus the speed of feature innovation is pretty much up to the designers. However as he says there is another slower path of innovation which is much more evolutional, which in particular involve peoples habits and cultural changes as a whole.

This is a lot harder to control and while new features can help nudge things in a direction, it can’t control where you’re going.

His recommendation is to not go straight for the end goal, but rather realize from the beginning that your current goal is but a point in a probably unpredictable future path.

An example of this was the whole Virtual Reality craze of the 90’s. The technology was there (VRML) but the cultural changes weren’t quite there yet. Now Second Life has taken off in many peoples imagination, although he as well as I think it’s probably not anywhere near the final point along a very wiggly path.

So what can you take along from this? Basically you need to keep innovating and keep testing. Smaller less obvious paths, might be better rather than trying to change the world in one go. This is of course what agile development is all about as well. See if features work, if they help the culture or the market to evolve.

This is pretty much what we are doing with Agree2 as well. It is now very different from what I envisioned a year ago. I’m sure in a year once we have real users using it will have evolved some where I haven’t planned. That said we do know what direction we want to head more or less and in particular where we don’t want to head. The path though is not entirely up to us.

Does it get any better than this?

Published March 13th, 2007 edit replace rm!

Heading south on Rt 101 from San Francisco to Silicon Valley, windows open, 27 degrees Celsius outside, the sun burning my face, La Kalle 105.7 on full blast with a kicking Reggaeton/Merengue mix going to first project meeting of a very cool new project (Ruby on Rails all the way).

Yes I’m enjoying being in the Bay Area!!

Should entrepreneurs and geeks talk politics (or should we shut up)?

Published October 26th, 2006 edit replace rm!

I have for a long time without even questioning it, figured it’s best to keep shut about political issues when doing business. As everyone who knows me can attest to I am a very opinionated guy when it comes to politics and economics. While I don’t directly hide that fact on this blog, I don’t necessarily advertise it either.

Martin Varsavsky the founder of Fon (Very cool company) asks Are we too progressive but concludes that he should be political.

FON is people who have been promised the wireless internet and got tired of waiting. And that to me, is progressive. Why should it not express our views? And as a CEO, why can´t I express my views? I believe CEO´s CAN and SHOULD be political, because CEOs are citizens and all citizens should be political. So here´s a random list of things I believe in.

I tend to agree. In the Ruby on Rails world we also have one or two proudly political geeks Rabble being the prime contender.

While I don’t think I will mix too much straight politics on this blog I think I will probably start advertising my political blog Econotrix a bit heavier in the future. I am proudly libertarian and while I rant I also try to work out solutions as well (like any good geek would).

While I disagree on many things with both Martin and Rabble, I think we probably also would agree on many other things.

Then again as a libertarian I believe that the stuff we actually do with our businesses and our technologies are way more important in a world changing way than any vote we make or any political diatribe we go out on.

Learn from your family

Published October 10th, 2006 edit replace rm!

I know my last post Don’t listen to your family might be interpreted in a negative manner, it really wasn’t meant that way.

Families can be and are mostly great. There are definitely examples out there where they aren’t, but generally speaking they are great. In particular if you learn to learn from them. As I said before most families have a hard time differentiating their own feelings towards you from real advise. They don’t mean harm, but they can do harm.

Where families are really good are for giving you examples. Both positive and negative. Every family have several inspirational characters and probably one or two that aren’t.

These people are great for learning. Your Dad or Grandpa might have made some difficult choices that he doesn’t want you to have to go through even though it might be best for you to do so. Therefor learn by example and not necessarily by advise.

Both my grand fathers have been eminent examples for me. One came from a middle class New Jersey family, the other from a poor Danish family. Both refused in their own way to take crap from anyone and built a good life for themselves and their families. Both had their fair share of conflict that they had to come up against and they continued following their own dreams and morals. I’ve learnt from them to not just accept the status quo nor what other people say.

Don't listen to your families

Published October 4th, 2006 edit replace rm!

Families you know that group of wonderful people who truly love you and will help you with everything. Well families can be great, however one of the hardest things to realise in particular if you have a great family is that their advise is almost never good news for you.

Don’t get me wrong there are definitely exceptions and I’m not saying in any way that you should dislike your family. But just as with anyone else in the world you need to know and understand their true motivations before you listen to advise.

Here in lies the problem. Family and with that include spouse and really long close friends will almost always have a selfish motive with you. That is fine, being selfish is great. However to succeed you also need to be selfish. If you realise and understand this you can decipher much advise that family members sling at you.

The things that entrepreners do essentially boil down to taking risks that others don’t. These risks could for example be:

  • Dropping out of school
  • Emigrating
  • Moving to another part of the country
  • Quitting your job
  • Working 24/7 without any real promise of an outcome

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About me

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My name is Pelle Braendgaard. Pronounce it like Pelé the footballer (no relation). I live in wonderful Managua, Nicaragua. I work with Clojure, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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