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Salim Ismail Metaphysics Of Growth


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Salim Ismail Metaphysics Of Growth

  1. 1. The Metaphysics of Growth How does growth happen? Salim Ismail Ignite SF 2008
  2. 2. Growth <ul><li>Dictionary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. The process of growing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. An increase, as in size, number, value, or strength; extension or expansion: population growth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4. Something that grows or has grown: a new growth of grass </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evolution, improvement, expansion… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ more’… ‘better’ </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Growth is Pervasive <ul><li>It’s everywhere </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any startup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your code base </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evolution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there any aspect of your life that doesn’t try to grow, improve or evolve? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Metaphysics <ul><li>Physics: Studies reality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Science: The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Metaphysics: Examines the nature and structure of reality </li></ul><ul><li>What is the nature and structure of growth? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t think enough about this…. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Where does this come from? <ul><li>Degree in theoretical physics </li></ul><ul><li>Comes from a lot of reading/writing I’ve done on philosophy/metaphysics for a few years </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Pirsig </li></ul><ul><li>“ Zen & the art of Motorcycle Maintenance” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Lila” – The metaphysics of Quality </li></ul>
  6. 6. New Metaphysics <ul><li>Via Pirsig…. </li></ul><ul><li>Our philosophies today are based on a subject/object metaphysics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Western philosphy stresses objective thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>science, logic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>tries to represent reality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eastern philosophy thinks everything is subjective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meditation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tries to integrate with reality by going inwards </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Structural problem in Philosophy <ul><li>However </li></ul><ul><li>Large areas of life don’t fall into the subject/object buckets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Moral Values, or Love/Emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Causes a mess for philosophers… they’re having to cope with a major flaw in the underlying framework </li></ul>
  8. 8. Need a new metaphysics <ul><li>Re-engineer from the bottom up and chuck the subject/object metaphysics </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It’s the wrong split in reality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Need a new one that better covers life experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Based it on Quality (= goodness) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Take a phased approach <ul><li>Dynamic Static </li></ul>Predictable Unpredictable Stable Unstable Definable/Divisible Undefinable Kinetic or Stored Potential Routine Exciting Safe Dangerous Limiting Limitless Easily measured Not quantifiable Old New
  10. 10. Two Processes in Growth <ul><li>Growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Break free from old pattern </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take on uncertainty/risk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leap for a new level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consolidation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take a breath, establish some solidity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get ready for next leap </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These are archetypal </li></ul>
  11. 11. More on Growth… Grow Consolidate Unknown Known Yin Yang
  12. 12. Examples Growth can be negative!! Feedback & full rollout Feature releases via betas Product Mgmt Term sheet and finally $$$ Talk to hundreds of VCs Get funding Testing / Implementation Implement a new design Software Exam Learn all semester Student Consolidation Growth
  13. 13.
  14. 14. More characteristics <ul><li>Growth is cyclical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tree rings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Code versions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is nested (hierarchically) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As one part grows, so does the larger whole </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Reculer pour mieux sauter” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Move back so you can jump further </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Break old patterns to make way for new </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Growth and Technology <ul><li>All processes are either supporting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>infrastructure </li></ul></ul>Unknown Known Yin Yang
  16. 16. Processes Inside Companies <ul><li>Growth Consolidation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fundraising Legal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Accounting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sales Administrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product Dev’t Testing </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Growth in Information <ul><li>The internet is in serious growth mode </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of information types being layered onto it… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Text about things (HTML) </li></ul><ul><li>What I think about (blogs) </li></ul><ul><li>Who I know (social networks) </li></ul><ul><li>What I’m doing (twitter, pownce) </li></ul><ul><li>What is everyone else doing (friendfeed, Twhirl) </li></ul><ul><li>Where am I (Fire Eagle, Loop…) </li></ul><ul><li>What do I care about </li></ul><ul><li>What do I want (offers for sale) </li></ul><ul><li>What do I like / not like (reviews / ratings) </li></ul>Tom Coates: “ the web of data”
  18. 18. The process is usually the same <ul><li>New data gets traction on the internet </li></ul><ul><li>Company X tries to own all that data </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used to be AOL </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Today: Facebook </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Standards are agreed and the data opens up </li></ul><ul><li>Competition thrives (or not…) </li></ul><ul><li>Back to A….. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Two Processes in Growth <ul><li>Growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Break free from old pattern </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take on uncertainty/risk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leap for a new level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consolidation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take a breath, establish some solidity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get ready for next leap </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These are archetypal </li></ul>
  20. 20. Now that you understand growth <ul><li>Take some risks… </li></ul><ul><li>Pick a technology/domain you’re passionate about… </li></ul><ul><li>Find a great idea that’ll solve a real need… </li></ul><ul><li>Go start a company and grow it… </li></ul>