Sunday, January 11, 2009

Learning From Tim O'Reilly

I mentioned in my initial post about Twitter that one of the first people I started following was Tim O'Reilly. It's been one of the best following choices I've made. I've only read two of his blog posts, but I learned something from both. And not the kind of things that just make you think "oh, that's kind of interesting". The type of things I will try to remember and apply in the future. Things that, in a small way, shape who I will be in the future.

The first was posted shortly after Bernard Madoff's giant Ponzi scheme hit the news. Tim's post included a quote from Herman Daly differentiating between a growth economy and a steady state economy. The idea that stuck with me is that we need to transition from an economy based on using things up to an economy based on taking a fixed amount of things and constantly remaking and improving them. In Daly's own words: "Growth is more of the same stuff; development is the same amount of better stuff (or at least different stuff)." This idea builds on what I learned from The Story of Stuff: that a linear system with a limited amount of resources is unsustainable.

The second was a little more recent: an explanation of Tim's "work on stuff that matters" mantra. In particular I like the second principle: create more value than you capture. In summary, he insinuates that creating and capturing value are more or less mutually exclusive activities; if you're focusing on capturing every last cent of value, you'll find yourself creating less and less. On the other hand, if you capture some of the value of a constantly evolving value creation string, you'll actually end up capturing more value in the end. And you'll have a stronger sense of accomplishment.


raskolnikov said...

Interesting post Jared

Michael said...

wow......I'm Mike.....duhhhhhhh

Michael said...

who's Tim O'Reilly?

Matt Kushin said...

I have to agree w/ following O'Reilly on Twitter. Was one of my first moves and am very happy w/ it.