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Give up control

26 Sep 2005

All of these things are probably true of the work you do online:

The really frightening thing is that this has always been true on the web. We’ve only just begun to understand this, come to terms with it, and learn to exploit it.

Anyone following the philosophical underpinnings of the Web 2.0 meme will recognize these ideas. They originate with the zeitgeist of the Internet itself — rough consensus and working code was the only way to build such a broad technological co-op. Tim O'Rielly often traces this to the open source movement and it’s culture of participation.

We’ve been tracking and contributing to these ideas for a while now at Adaptive Path — the implications for design, architecture, and experience on the web are tremendous. In particular, my partner Peter Merholz has been thinking and writing about what he dubs the “sandbox.” From his essay on our site, he suggested:

The Web’s lesson is that we have to let go, to exert as little control as necessary. What are the fewest necessary rules that we can provide to shape the experience? Where do people, tools, and content come together? How do we let go in a way that’s meaningful and relevant to our business?

Peter has set up a new blog, “Designing for the Sandbox,” to further discuss these ideas. Get on over there and have a look. ​