Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What Is Tomorrow's Revolution?

I'm amazed sometimes when I hear people talk about the incredible things that they've seen or that they've done. People who built a little website that now serves millions of people. People who just wanted to make their lives a bit easier and wound up inventing entire new processes. Heck, the guy who first used the term "white-box test" and "black-box test".

In retrospect, these were big things. In retrospect we talk about the Rise of Ruby and Rails, or the messy explosion that is Agile or SCRUM, or the Gang of Four and their design patterns. At the time, though, we didn't always know these were going to be revolutionary. Sometimes we did (the guys who were launching an Apollo moon mission were pretty darn sure it was new and different), but sometimes we didn't.

Sometimes revolutionary is only visible in retrospect.

I wonder, sometimes, what we're doing now that is revolutionary. What things are we doing today that we'll look back on in 20 years and say, "this was the start of something big"?

So I turn it over to you: what are we doing now that is revolutionary?


  1. I think 20 years is too big a timeframe for meaningful answers.

    I mean, 20 years ago, there was no Windows, Linux, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, WWW, HTML, etc.

  2. Joe, if 20 years doesn't work for you, pick a different time frame. I chose 20 years just because it seemed like long enough to distinguish fad from change. Beyond that, it's pretty arbitrary. Think of non-code things, too...

    20 years ago, a lot of things were starting. Among them...
    - Windows (1.0 came out in 1985)
    - Perl (1.0 came out in 1988)
    - open source, under various names
    - the spiral development model (published in 1988)
    - SCRUM (first article, 1986)

    So what's the next set?