Saturday, April 21, 2007


I've been reading Morville and Rosenfeld's Information Architecture for the World Wide Web at work for the last month, whenever I've been in the office for more than 8 hours. Some parts of it are repetitive, intuitive, and boring, but other sections are really worth the read. One part near the end actually gave me an idea for improving the corporate centralized data-publishing service from a search engine optimization perspective. While that means squat unless someone is willing to pay for the development, it's great to be able to pitch an idea that facilitates partner interaction internationally, and to be able to grab at something that's so low-hanging that I can demonstrate it with two simple SQL queries.

Unrelated, but something I found particularly interesting, was a paragraph near the end (p. 391-393) where the authors discuss how the web, and putting out something new on the web, is starting to be a non-issue for making your fortune.

"As all companies come to embrace Internet technology, the Internet itself will be neutralized as a source of advantage. Basic Internet applications will become table stakes--companies will not be able to survive without them, but they will not gain any advantage from them." [from Michael Porter, "Strategy and the Internet", Harvard Business Review, March 2001].

I paraphrase, and add some value, but basically they're stating that technology, web technology, and particularly, visible, intuitable, technology, isn't something that can sustain your business, because anyone can reproduce it and they will. However, there are architectures and behaviors (users, content, context) that can be harnessed that even a dedicated competitor might not be able to ferret out or duplicate (or afford). So in that context, embracing open standards lowers costs and increases sustainability, and eventually doesn't matter from a competitive standpoint, because what drives your business are the things that aren't visible to those with access to the same open standards, but rather the things they can't see, or can't reproduce. Sounds damn similar to O'Reilly's line.

And this (p. 391)...this is just damn funny: "So while you might not work at ExxonMobil, Thomson, or the UN, it's likely that you're dealing with enterprise-class IA challenges." I don't work for the UN.

No comments: