This Adaptive Path essay is both exciting and really pissing me off. Sorry, I was in Italy for a couple of weeks so I missed out on this the first time around.

The most retarded sentence in it is: "Curious, inventive people are making cool stuff again." Um, hello? WTF? "Again"? I really don't know how to respond to that other than to feel really insulted and feel like anything people made three or four years ago was somehow "boring" because there wasn't any money attached to it. It's like when people say something as asinine as "Music is getting exciting again!" and the rest of us are like, "No, you just weren't paying attention."

Anyway, yes, there's more money that seems to be available for people who have been building these apps, but the suggestion that people who make these sites are only now springing to life when money is available is kind of disappointing. I hate the equation that $1 million in funding == EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES. It's how you fools lathered yourselves into the last bubble.

The exciting part for me is seeing friends, acquaintances, and heroes from years past finally getting recognition for their work; and yes, hopefully money to keep doing the stuff they like to do.

It's never been the technology that makes things cool for me, it's how the idea is executed. Tags, Ajax, RoR, RSS, XML, blogs, Java, VRML... if your focus is on the neat technology shoehorned into some idea to make money then you're going to be up to your ass in sock puppets again.



Mmm. Sock puppets.


Sock puppets? Count me in.


We definitely need more sock puppets in Tokyo...

B. Adam

I was going to write about this last week, because I felt the exact same way you did about the article. I think hyperbole is about the only thing that's "back" -- certainly not creativity or drive, they never left.

But, I could never have put it as succintly as you did with the "music's getting exciting again", "no you just weren't paying attention line". Well done.

alan taylor

I will craft VRML sock puppets for your logos.

Adam Michela

You're right. People (like you) have been making cool, inventive, and inspirational things all along.

I have to admit though, I do feel like things have been more exciting lately than in the past 5 years. Hyperbole? Perhaps. The agitator could be money, certainly. However, there are still alot of people making alot of cool things without money being their goal.

I'm thinking attention (fame) is the the real motivator here. Now more than ever is it possible to get instant world-wide recognition for something cool. That doesn't mean money. It does add a sense of achievement though. That's exciting. That's desirable.

All I know is it was really boring for awhile... even though alot of cool things were being made. Now it's not so boring... and cool things are still being made.

Works for me ;)


Well stated. Good on ya!

Joel Bernstein

For me, the recent excitement has been less about the new money than the new opportunities. We're finally approaching a time when a web developer can write standards-compliant pages and not come off as a maverick.

The technologies involved aren't new; the newest have been around for three years at least. What's new is a feeling of maturity in the market that just wasn't there in 2000; a sense that these technologies are old enough that they're able to be relied upon. This was only accomplished through the hard work of the talented people you mentioned.

The money is the result of this renaissance, not the cause.

karl Dubost

Joel: "What's new is a feeling of maturity in the market that just wasn't there in 2000;"

*sigh* I'm not the only one here, we all of us have used the Web for a long time. For me, it started in 91/92. And each year, I have heard about the hype of this, the hype of that, etc. Some hypes die, some are a catch. Welllll. Nothing new under the sun, and it really depends on the microcosms you are living in. The Web is not one big community, but plenty of small communities reaching their roller-coaster top at different moments.

I don't want to destroy the joy and the excitation but more to make it more… relative. Some people really need to read a bit of epistemology, for example Thomas Kuhn.

Joel Bernstein

Karl, I'm sorry if I was unclear. Here are a few points to clarify my position:

1. When I referred to "the technologies" being mature, I meant the XHTML/DOM/CSS trivectorate, not the web itself, which was pretty old a decade ago.

2. A lot of people were discouraged from web design when they realized the enormous hassle of maintaining sites built on nested tables, sliced images, and spacer gifs. It is a tremendous credit to the hard-working people who stuck with the web post-bubble and saw its potential that these web designers are becomming re-interested.

3. When the web-design community experiences a renaissance, so does the rest of the web, whether they want to or not.


Interesting that you latched onto the money part of the essay, because the examples used to illustrate what's exciting are mostly, save for Flickr, companies and ideas that *aren't* making a dime from what they're doing-- they're simply labors of love. And to say that Flickr started as something other than a labor of love is a lie.

So. you're both right, but I don't think Janice was really as smitten with the technology as you perceive.

Andre Torrez

spiral: I latched onto the money because I felt the piece was trying to say money was driving all this creativity. Then there seemed to be an awkward nod to Ruby on Rails that seemed to only be there because they're currently building something with the technology.

It didn't help that she said, "Curious, inventive people are making cool stuff again." I know a lot of people who have been making stuff non-stop who are creative and inventive.

Saying Janice is correct is like saying an advertisement for Schlitz is correct.

karl Dubost

Agreed with Andre. I think also that for flickr is the end for one part of the dream. Welcome to the corporate world and its constraints.

Joel: Web design (XHTML/CSS/DOM) is *not* the only thing, you can do with the Web. It's even the top of the iceberg. Dive ;) you will see that there are wonders under the surface of the sea. You may argue about interoperability of implementations and we are not done yet even on the browsers front, without even mentioning how badly HTTP is implemented.
Some people almost never designed with table layout, some will continue for a long time, but again it's a very tiny part of the Web.

Jason Fried

It's never been the technology that makes things cool for me, it's how the idea is executed

Amen, my friend.

Dan Hartung

Wait a minute. Sock puppet social networks. It's an elevator pitch.


I hate to not add anything new, but I have to say, well spoken!

Darren James Harkness

1. Ruby + Ajax
2. ???
3. Profit!

David Grant

"1. Ruby + Ajax
2. ???
3. Profit!"

This made me chuckle like Jesus.

Michael Almond

Great discussion, thank you all for expressing your beliefs and opinions. Of course, I have my own. In fact, I'm writing an article about the topic as we speak.

My idea is simple. Technology and design serve human and social needs; they are tools we create that help us. They can assist with tasks or be used to fix things that are broken. Either way, something isn't working right. In this case, on a very large scale.

If one looks to the past, something Web professionals don't do often, one can see very similar periods of rapid, explosive growth of innovative technologies as well as IDEAS. The Renaissance, for instance-or the Bauhaus.

In other words, technology isn't running the show, nor is design. New communication technologies such as the Web and Internet have captivate us for a reason. We are adapting, even evolving, because the context or big picture requires it. It is about our survival.

The feeling that is in the air is a response to these pressing human and social needs. It is at the center of intellectual thought and innovation because humans need them. The industrial era is coming to a end; how long can we base our civilization on natural resourses that we are depleting. They are running out rapidly.

While innovation occurs constantly, the captivation we have with a particular tool is the result of adaptive necessity. A shift to an era that is based on technologies that are less reliant on the resources of the industrial age and even hold the potential of actually fixing some of the damage we created.

So they are adaptive and curative. I can't think of two qualities that would better motivate, stimulate and excite so many disciplines, not just ours. Why? We are all human and this is not just the domain of our industry, it effects everyone.

Finally, as I am practically writing the article now, the dot com, new economy nonsense was a human construction. We wanted to believe that this tool served a purpose that proved to be a misfire. The change occurred after and during the horrible attacks of 9/11. The power of this tool was demonstrated by action, not fantasy.

Thank God many people are starting to use the Web for the betterment of the human species, and not taking the lead of what was an undeniable successful use of these tools to coordinate a horrendous attack; the same tool many believed could turn straw into gold.

Thanks so much.

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before this i wrote italy after this i wrote specialization is for insects (not web developers)


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