Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Link of the Day

Killer NS piece - evolution's ten greatest inventions. Essential reading.

This piece about the eye does a nice job of explaining how small innovations in components can reshape the architecture of complex systems. Replace 'eye' with 'information' (or 'Net') and 'organisms' with 'firms', and you have a nice analogy for how the competitive landscape of production has been, and will continue to be disrupted.

"...THEY appeared in an evolutionary blink and changed the rules of life forever. Before eyes, life was gentler and tamer, dominated by sluggish soft-bodied worms lolling around in the sea. The invention of the eye ushered in a more brutal and competitive world. Vision made it possible for animals to become active hunters, and sparked an evolutionary arms race that transformed the planet...

And what a difference it made. In the sightless world of the early Cambrian, vision was tantamount to a super-power. Trilobites' eyes allowed them to become the first active predators, able to seek out and chase down food like no animal before them. And, unsurprisingly, their prey counter-evolved. Just a few million years later, eyes were commonplace and animals were more active, bristling with defensive armour. This burst of evolutionary innovation is what we now know as the Cambrian explosion.

However, sight is not universal. Of 37 phyla of multicellular animals, only six have evolved it, so it might not look like such a great invention after all - until you stop to think. The six phyla that have vision (including our own, chordates, plus arthropods and molluscs) are the most abundant, widespread and successful animals on the planet."

-- umair // 1:03 PM // 0 comments


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