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I’ve been checking out an interesting converstion at Gapingvoid about business models and supporting software (start here and work up), which prompted me to check out Sig Rinde‘s Thingamy. Both Sig and Alan Gutierrez are exploring slightly different approaches to providing software – the Thingamy (technical details not yet to hand) is a ‘system’ intended to replace other (larger, more expensive, less flexible ..) business software packages (Sig is aiming high – he mentions SAP and Peoplesoft as competitors). Alan calls himself a ‘long-tail’ programmer – his ‘target market’ is (I think) other programmers, or businesses who are capable of making use of his ‘works’ as pieces of a larger jigsaw.

What I find interesting about them (and the whole Cluetrain/Hughtrain thing) is the impact on the TYPE of software which is required. Referring to my earlier post about what sort of development is required internal to a business (my current situation), it seemed to me that it should be aimed at low-definition, high differentiation activities. It has since occurred to me that where Long Tail, Cluetrain and Hugh are going is to a place where most if not ALL of our future business activities will be low-definition:high-differentiation –  but that’s a pretty big scope for a single bespoke software  system!

There are at least two approaches to this: Sig’s, which is to provide a single architecture/infrastructure which is potentially infinitely tailorable; and Alan’s (and others like him) which is to make some of the building  blocks and have ‘bespoke programmers’ (Alan’s expression) put his bits together with others in infinitely variable ways for "lo-def:hi-diff" (my expression!) businesses. Note that these two approaches are not necessarily exclusive – it seems to me that Thingamy could be a backbone (Sig’s expression) into which Alan’s modules could be plugged/unplugged/re-arranged. And these possibilities could well become my FUTURE situation …

I think there maybe some value in Sig and Alan talking to each other (they both seem heavily into XML …)

Goodnight to all you beggars on the other side of the world – it’s after 1 AM in Adelaide, and I’m getting cold from lack of circulation to the legs …