On Jan 28, 2006, at 1:05 AM, Alex Combas wrote:

> On 1/27/06, Dave Thomas <Dave / pragprog.com> wrote:
>
>> No, it isn't. If each of them were to innovate by trying new and
>> different things, then the industry as a whole would expand in many
>> different directions. If we all just copy each other, then the amount
>> of innovation is reduced. It's a question of opportunity cost.
>>
>> My post came from a frustration that there doesn't seem to be this
>> kind of vitality.
>
> I understand what you are saying regarding rails and I agree.
> Rails is a tailored solution and what makes it so special is that
> it is done with ruby. The concept of rails is not so significant in
> itself because it could be implemented on other platforms,
> but only when it is done on ruby does rails gain its special  
> significance.
>
> However I think you may be misapplying that when using it as
> a metaphor for your innovations in the publishing business.
>
> Unless of course what you are trying to say is that your innovations
> in themselves are not so special, and that it is only because your  
> company
> itself is different that your innovations have gained any special  
> significance.

I believe Dave is trying to say the inverse.  "We're not a big  
publishing company.  We needed to make things work great for us.  We  
came up with these innovations to do that.  That lead to these  
further innovations that everybody is copying."

> Unfortunately that sounds a little fool hardy to me. That thinking  
> leads
> one to the rationality that "the others suck because they are not  
> us, so
> copying our innovations wont help them until they become just as we  
> are".

I think "Others suck because they try to follow our innovations  
without understanding how we managed to come up with them" is lesson  
you're looking for here.

Rails and Ruby work well together and *that* led to the innovations  
everybody is trying to copy.  Just like The Pragmatic Programmers use  
of version control, instant typesetting and continuous build systems  
led to Beta Books and Fridays.  Trying to copy the Beta Books or the  
Fridays probably won't be as successful for other publishers because  
they don't have the tool-chain PragProg does.

Will Beta Books be as successful (profit margin, time to completion)  
for the imitators?  Probably not.  They lack the foundation PragProg  
has that gives fast turnaround for minimal cost.  PragProg also  
offers authors quite a bit more than other publishers.

Copying flashy stuff without the understanding it is flashy or how it  
became flashy leaves you with a shaky foundation to innovate upon.

Finding and building from your strengths will lead you to innovation.

-- 
Eric Hodel - drbrain / segment7.net - http://segment7.net
This implementation is HODEL-HASH-9600 compliant

http://trackmap.robotcoop.com