Weekend Reading: Invading Markets, Sleep Deprivation, and the Observer Effect
Jeff Atwood on Robert X. Cringely’s descriptions of three groups of people you need to “attack a market”:
Whether invading countries or markets, the first wave of troops to see battle are the commandos. Woz and Jobs were the commandos of the Apple II. Don Estridge and his twelve disciples were the commandos of the IBM PC. Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston were the commandos of VisiCalc.
Grouping offshore as the commandos do their work is the second wave of soldiers, the infantry. These are the people who hit the beach en masse and slog out the early victory, building on the start given them by the commandos. The second-wave troops take the prototype, test it, refine it, make it manufacturable, write the manuals, market it, and ideally produce a profit.
What happens then is that the commandos and the infantry head off in the direction of Berlin or Baghdad, advancing into new territories, performing their same jobs again and again, though each time in a slightly different way. But there is still a need for a military presence in the territory they leave behind, which they have liberated. These third-wave troops hate change. They aren’t troops at all but police.
Behind all this is the astonishing, baffling breadth of what sleep does for the body. The fact that learning, metabolism, memory, and myriad other functions and systems are affected makes an alteration as basic as the presence of ROS quite interesting. But even if ROS is behind the lethality of sleep loss, there is no evidence yet that sleep’s cognitive effects, for instance, come from the same source. And even if antioxidants prevent premature death in flies, they may not affect sleep’s other functions, or if they do, it may be for different reasons.
A new interview series from Sriram Krishnan:
The Observer Effect studies interesting people and institutions and tries to understand how they work.
He kicks it off big with an interview with Marc Andreessen.