lunedì 5 ottobre 2009

Commentaries on "The Law of Simplicity n°2"

What follows is the first of a series of commentaries on Maeda's "Laws Of Simplicities".

I hope to make some Maeda's misunderstandings about "organization", "simplicity", "meaning" and "context" clear raising some questions, suggesting different research paths and, when and if the case, agreeing with him.

I ask clemency for my bad english in advance.

2 - Organization makes a system of many appear fewer

Yep. It is true, in a meaning. False in another.
Organized systems are inclined to behave as a whole, where all the inner differences are annihilated for the profit of a constant (the organization rules). Look at totalitarisms and dictatorships for an example on how true it is this. Star Trek's Borgs are media examples of the same principle.

Ants are inclined to behave as a whole. Every ant has a precise role in the march. They do very specific tasks, and only these. Everyday. For the whole life.

Tick's life is simple. Wait for the host. Jump upon it. Store eggs in it. Die. Organized and simple, of course¹.

But, there is a "but", the more intermediate levels (links between the parts of the system) the system has, the more structured is, the more noise it produces and so it becomes less and less effective and more bureaucratic. In this sense, organized systems are noisy systems. Byzantine system. 2nd Thermodynamic theorem still applies.

Cybernetics teaches us that a message just emitted is already attacked by noises. The more distance it travels the more noise it attracts. I say to you "hi there". You say to a 3d "hi". The 3d says to a 4th "buh!". The message is noise now. Humans are not abstract machines (ok, i concede some *cough couch* societies do hope and work to makes them so) so they do not pass on the message as it arrived. Every intermediate level stops the message, makes something with it, tends to stabilize itself as an hub and only then (if) release it on bail.

As everyone can see in everyday life, every strictly organized enterprise lacks speed, adaptability, innovation and becomes a bureaucratic pyramid making money only by means of managed assets, acquisitions or monopoly position.
By contrast, small, disorganized but active startups innovate.
Take 3 people, each one with its strengths but willing to help each other to reach the goal and you'll have a more vital enterprise than organized system with its accounting, project manager, art director, UX Designer, IxD, web marketing guru and so on.