"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

What sells?

A comment from Adam V. on why complicated stuff like Share Point is productized, but something as simply beautiful as a Wiki is not as easily productized.

In response I think this is a two-sided coin, with a customer as well as a vendor.

I think there is something to the "monetizing" argument.

I think it also comes from the customer side... I continue to see a lot of behavior in large enterprises that seems to believe anything of *value* (not just cost, mind you) should by definition be big, complicated, and even cumbersome.

Really. I think the portal vendors, like other kinds of vendors, are just capitalizing on these behaviors. "Selling" something as simple as a Wiki, or even as simple as Smalltalk, is *more* difficult than selling the more complicated and costly approximations.

1 comment:

Ian Bicking said...

I think a lot of that complexity has to do with security "requirements", which of course a Wiki usually ignores. Many organizations (read: managers) have a very restrictive idea of what people should be allowed to do, and from this a tremendous amount of complexity arises.

Part of those restrictions are about access, editing access, etc., and a lot are about structured content (DB people probably compound these problems). So instead of giving people freedom and allowing them to create their own conventions (or at least learn conventions that aren't codified in code), you create a system that is restrictive and imposes a pre-determined structure. And that structure is always insufficient, and as it grows it becomes only more complicated.

Anyway, that's my take on why Wikis are productized -- which is similar to yours (they are just too simple), but I don't think it's the simplicity that hurts them, it's the trust that a Wiki implies (and that trust is the source of its simplicity).

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.