To Get Big, Start Really Small

Tim Kastelle, The Discipline of Innovation, Mar 05, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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I think this post is a classic example of post hoc ergo propter hoc - "after this therefore because of this". Here's the argument: "Google didn’t start out by organising the world’s information.  Google started out as a way to make searching the Stanford Library easier....  Facebook didn’t start out aiming to connect everyone in the world... It started out as a way for Harvard students to hook up." But if we take these stories seriously, the best we can conclude is that these services became giants by accident. Which is partly what happened. But what also happened is that, while they were small, they developed some very big ideas. I still remember the Google beta, when the Google Logo was still written in crayon. Already at that point they intended to organize the world's information (you get a sense of this reading some of the company's early press). The message of the story should be: to get big, dream big.

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