Why The Flow of Innovation is Reversed
My favorite quote:
The folks that built enterprise software were vaguely aware that their systems had to be accessible to the humans that used them but they had a huge advantage. The people who used them did so as part of their job, they were trained to use them and fired if they could not figure them out.
Today, no one tells you to use Facebook. There are no employer sponsored training sessions on the use of del.icio.us. The burden is on the designer of the system to meet a need, entertain, or inform their users. They also have to seduce those users, hiding complexity, revealing one layer at time, always enticing, never intimidating, until the user one day finds they are intimately familiar with power and the pleasures of the service.
The benefits are brilliant albeit somewhat obvious. Why spend time and money training and re-training every employee you'll ever have on how to use a software system when you can build one that a reasonably savvy person off the street can teach themselves? As the enterprise starts to wake-up to the new efficiencies the web has taught us, tedious "legacy" systems will be replaced with more usable versions and everyone will win.