Yesterday I discussed the incredible benefits of open source software in terms of reducing costs for startups and promoting competition in the marketplace… but the real magic of software is the concept of abstraction, it’s when a developer can consume a service using a single stable interface regardless of how the producer chooses to implement the service behind the scenes. The multitude of choices in the software realm (compounded by the open source world) necessitates standard interfaces for these components. I wonder if other industries could also benefit from similar ideas.
Imagine if everything you bought was designed like software. Imagine if cars were built with independent and autonomous “pieces” that snap together and you could (easily) customize every aspect of your ride. Imagine if every component of a computer was mounted on a slot that slides in and out like a drawer, just slide in a new hard drive or video card like a CD. Imagine if you could increase the resolution of your television by snapping on a new chip to the back. Imagine if you could upgrade your office chair by swapping in a new standard sized cushion (with that sleep number technology!).
When you really think about it, every industry is backwards compared to software. Modular technologies improve quality, extend the life of products and increase customer satisfaction. Software development could be a model for every industry to follow. This shift in thinking could also spark a tidal wave of new manufacturing with the potential to stimulate another decade of economic growth.
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