Imagine for a moment that you’re an architect. Not an information architect, but an architect in the traditional sense of the word, going about with T-squares, tracing paper, and mechanical pencils. And you’ve been assigned the challenging job of designing the architecture for a large corporate headquarters.
Now imagine that aliens suddenly land and change a few basic laws of physics so that anyone—anyone—could, after a few minutes with an instruction manual, do what you do. Now everyone can do a little architecture themselves (albeit not as professionally as you might). They can even do some construction. And because it’s so easy, and fun in a novel way, many do just that.
Soon, like viruses, dozens or hundreds of little structures quickly pop up all over the corporate campus. Some are works of art, others are one rung above an outhouse. Unfortunately, most don’t fit your master architecture. Your job as the “official” architect has suddenly become really, really hard, if not altogether impossible.
If you’d been thinking straight at the time, you might have asked those aliens to give you a little parting gift before they took off—some sort of friendly zapper that would allow you to eliminate people’s desires to create their own structures without completely ticking them off. But you didn’t, and now when you go around and ask people to stop creating their own structures and use your master plan instead, they avoid you, laugh ...