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The Pebble and the Avalanche

Book Description

The Pebble and the Avalanche shows how the Internet, the auto industry, music downloading, and other rapidly evolving industries are all connected by the same dynamic -- disaggregation. Moshe Yudkowsky shows why this dynamic is crucial to survival in the 21st century marketplace, and how you can use it to bring about change in your industry.

Disaggregation means taking things apart -- for example, the break-up of AT&T, which greatly improved phone service. But there are more subtle examples. Separating information from the storage medium -- digital music doesn't rely on records, tapes, or CDs; digital photographs don't require paper; and digital movies don't need film -- has enabled millions of people to create and share their work (and others') far more easily than ever before, with enormous implications.

Think of this process as an avalanche: at the top of a mountain, rocks are jammed together in a solid mass. Pry some of these rocks loose and you will unleash a tremendous outpouring of energy that sweeps everything from its path. The same thing happens in technology: with the right innovation, you can pry the pieces of technology apart and unleash an outpouring of powerful ideas that shake apart whole industries.

Yudkowsky details exactly how disaggregation works, describing five different ways of taking things apart, and the many ways it can be used to generate new innovations. The Pebble and the Avalanche provides strategies for successfully adapting to a disaggregation revolution, and points towards the future, identifying several industries that are about to be completely transformed by disaggregation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Preface
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Part I. Disaggregation: Why the Sum of the Parts Is Greater Than the Whole
    1. Chapter One Disaggregation: The Driving Force of Revolution
      1. Taking Things Apart: Recent Revolutions
      2. Disaggregation: The Science of Taking Things Apart
    2. Chapter Two Starting Revolutions: What to Take Apart
      1. Step 1. Sort the Innovation
      2. Step 2: Answer the Basic Questions
      3. Step 3: Assess the Revolutionary Potential
    3. Chapter 3 Benefits of Disaggregation: The Revolutionary’s Bill of Rights
      1. Creativity
      2. Competition
      3. Cost Reduction
      4. Simplicity
      5. Specialization
      6. Synergy
    4. Chapter Four Four Stages to Revolution: Devise, Interface, Accept, Evaluate
      1. Devise
      2. Interface
      3. Accept
      4. Evaluate
      5. An Important Distinction
  7. Part II. Case Studies: Two Hundred Years of Revolutions
    1. Chapter Five From Horses and Buggies to Jet Planes: The Revolution in Manufacturing
    2. Chapter Six The Automobile Takes On the Railroads
      1. The Industrial Age: Canals, Railways, and Automobiles
      2. The Roadway
      3. The Traffic
      4. Network Management
      5. The Business
    3. Chapter Seven The Internet’s Permanent Revolution
      1. The Ancient History of Networks: The 1970s and 1980s
      2. Two Visions of the Worldwide Data Network
      3. How and Why the Internet Won
      4. Benefits of the Permanent Revolution
      5. The Automobile and the Internet
  8. Part III. Business Strategies: How to Cope, How to Fail, and How to Predict the Future
    1. Chapter Eight Interfaces and Standards: The Nuts and Bolts of Modern Civilization
      1. The Origin of Standard Parts
      2. The Business Case for Standards
      3. Business Case Errors
      4. Standards and Obsolescence
      5. The Benefits of Standards
    2. Chapter Nine Coping with Surprises
      1. Digital Photography
      2. Five Steps to Remember: A, E, I, O, U
      3. A Little Pep Talk
    3. Chapter Ten Marx, Lenin, and Gates: Failed Counterrevolutions
      1. Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and the Nuts and Bolts of Socialism
      2. Bill Gates: Running the Wheels Backwards
      3. The Open Source Challenge to Microsoft
    4. Chapter Eleven The Role of Government
      1. The Other Government
      2. If You Lose Anyway
    5. Chapter Twelve Predictions: Three Revolutions in Progress
      1. XML: A Universal Language for Data
      2. The End of the Telephone Company: Internet Telephony
      3. The Amazing Exploding Computer: Jini and Bluetooth, or Something Like Them
    6. Chapter Thirteen Getting Started, Finishing Touches
      1. How to Start
      2. Finishing Touches: The Thoughts That Got Away
  9. Endnotes
  10. Index
  11. About Disaggregate
  12. About the Author
  13. About Berrett-Koehler Publishers
    1. Be Connected