ThoughtStorms Wiki

Many kinds of complex system, if they have the chance, evolve towards more, smaller, specialist components.

  • When refactoring, I am normally breaking out larger objects into more strategies, helpers, adaptors etc.
  • On the other hand, as markets mature, smaller companies get bought by larger ones. The general shift is towards consolidation, aggregation, and integration
  • But forces can also go the other way. Aggregates are broken up. Functions are OutSourced.
  • Maybe the finer grained reorganization of the American political landscape (See PoliticalDivide)

What are the dynamics? Are there certain preconditions for what systems will break up this way? What are they? Does anyone know or research this kind of thing?

The most obvious question. Are there more forces pushing towards smaller pieces. (BangTheRocksTogether) Or are the forces balancing? QuestionsINeedAMathematicianToAnswer

What seems clear is that the system can evolve towards smaller more specialist components whenever there's an available network which a) allows addressing of the individual components, and b) reliable and timely communication / co-ordination between them

See also : on PollsAndCompasses


May lead to TechnicalExternalityTrap

Examples Table

What Domain Why
PurpleNumbers / BlockReferences Within HyperText Paragraphs as AddressableThings
WeblogsAndWikis Web
AcademiaVsNewMedia Academic thinking Big academic documents are a heavy read, partly because they need to provide a lot of context (OnContext)
SmallTools (Unix tools) / Software development
MicroChunks All media UmairHaque sees the media economy re-invented in terms of SmallPieces of MicroContent, which are more easily manipulated and recombined.
OnWritingAndAlphabets Language Easily recombinant pieces more easy to learn than Heiroglyphs or pictograms. Much easier to automate (printing, type-writers, computer terminals)
GPNM Managing supply chain networks. According to JohnHagel and JohnSeelyBrown, companies are innovating a new model, specifying loose performance characteristics and allowing suppliers to meet them however they want. This allows more ( (WarpLink) PhenotropicProgramming ) Hmm.
StartUps Employment Smaller, newer companies. PaulGraham asks why not more of them, rather than fewer, bigger companies with more employees?
Widgets Software Rather than applications, able to live and swarm independently in the new YasnsAsPlatforms
Programs Software "small methods on small objects" : ImplementationPatterns
The computer Hardware Breaks up into a swarm of devices connected by Wifi ||

See also BangTheRocksTogether, OnGranularity