Frankston on SMTP

Bob “Connectivity” Frankston gets very close to nailing a point I’ve been trying to figure out how to nail for a long time, using SMTP as an example. Email seems like something hellishly complex, requiring a great deal of forethought and planning to work properly. A whole gang of serious labcoats and hairfaces and suits gathered to establish The Master Plan for Scalable Email, called X.400, and while they were jerking off carefully planning, some hackers whipped up some extensions to telnet, a basic call-and-response with a very limited vocab, called Simple Mail Transport Protocol, and unleashed it. Today, email lives in SMTP and X.400 is nothin’ much but a stack of very carefully worded requirements docs laid to rest (by REST!) on the trashheap of history.

So what’s the point I’m trying to get to? I’m still not sure how to articulate it. It’s kinda Cluetrain-y. People are smarter than organizations. Lots of unplanned approaches with a marketplace for picking winners and losers is better than a monolithic “enterprise” approach. Release early, release often. It’s a two-way world. Damn the Pareto Principal and let the other 80% talk. Blogs are better than newspapers because they publish immediately, then iterate towards truth, instead of the tedious business of committee-editing, fact-checking, type-setting, proof-reading, etc etc etc. Technologists should be free to release stuff without going through Congressional review. You don’t need to be exhaustive, nor do you have to be authoratative, before releasing or stating something. I dunno. Link Discuss (via Scripting News)