Experimentation and the Everything Wars

I wrote previously on the Everything Wars – that now a lot of technical and media companies are engaged in a all-ways confusing knock-out fight because technology and media are so intimate – and the economy so unsure – everyone is trying everything.

One thing that came to mind as I read this over – and prepared for our podcast on the same subject – is that the Everything Wars are going to produce a LOT of experimentation.  Progeeks like us, in media and technology or not, will be affected by this in what we use technically and in our hobbies, if not directly in our careers.

Everyone is trying a LOT of things right now.  Google has an OS coming out in a few months, Microsoft is making an online version of Office, Sony is behind and is trying everything they can, Barnes and Noble has a reader, etc.  Next month (next week?) I'll be able to list another round of experiments, bright ideas, and creative attempts by companies to beat each other to the punch.

Now I don't see a problem with this, but I think that the economic and technical situation warrant being aware of what's going on.  The Everything Wars are going to produce a lot of experimentation that will affect us progeeks – there will be the usual issues of "what cool new thing to try" and "what technology will I work on", but I'd say it gets more complex.

Some of these experiments going on inside and between companies are going to fail, and in a tough economy (that looks to stay tough for awhile), this can have devastating repercussions.  Anyone betting the house on an experimental technology, especially one made in this heated environment, is taking a risk. 

However, successful experiments have their own dangers.  We are operating in an unusual time economically and technically.  What succeeds now may not succeed a few years from now – or be overwhelmed by competition when the economy recovers, etc.  Something that looks to be a good bet now may not be when one takes the long view (and I'm not sure how much long-view taking is going on here).

In fact, what seems to be a failure now may BE more ideal long-term, and current success may be a "smoke screen" for future failure.  We can't know – we can just count on everyone experimenting like crazy, and a bit frantically, in the worlds of media and technology.

If you're affected career wise, professionally, or personally by the Everything Wars – and you probably are anyway, it's just a matter of extent – you're going to need to pay attention to how many hare-brained schemes are going on in the Everything Wars.  The experiments are coming, and the results of today are not necessary relevant for tomorrow.

It will be exciting, but it's going to be weird and unpredictable.

– Steven Savage