The Konqueror developers are to be commended for their work, but they should take a page from Firefox’s book and make their browser a little easier to use. Doing so would catapult it into the vanguard of web browsers—on any platform.
In August 1997, a momentous deal was struck: Microsoft would invest
$150 million in Apple, and in return, Apple would make Internet
Explorer the default web browser for its Mac OS operating system for the next five years. Less than six months later, IE 4.0 for the Mac was released.
When IE 5.0 was released for the Mac in March of 2000, it was a breakthrough web browser, with excellent support for web standards—support, actually, that was way ahead of the Windows version of IE at the time— and innovative features that, again, the Windows version lacked (and still does!). Over the next few years, though, real work on the Mac IE browser pretty much stalled, as Microsoft contented itself with bug fixes and maintenance releases, culminating in the 5.2.1 release of July 2002.
If you’re reading this book, it’s likely because you’ve decided to start, or are thinking about starting, a hardware company. Congratulations! Launching a hardware startup is an exciting and challenging undertaking. There’s a saying: “Hardware is hard.” You have to navigate the complexities of prototyping and manufacturing, the daunting optimization problems of pricing and logistics, and the challenges of branding and marketing. And you’ll be doing it all on a pretty tight budget.
But today—right now!—is probably the best time in history to be starting your company. Technological advances, economic experiments, and societal connections have facilitated the growth of an ecosystem that enables founders to launch hardware companies with fewer obstacles than ever before.
Before we get into the specifics of getting your business off the ground, let’s set the stage by discussing some important influences that have brought the ecosystem to where it is today.
Today’s hardware entrepreneurs stand on the shoulders of early makers. The maker movement has had a profound influence on the hardware-startup ecosystem. Defined by three characteristics—curiosity, creativity, and community—it emphasizes project-based learning, learning by doing, and sharing knowledge with others. Experimentation is important. Having fun is a priority.
STEWARDSHIP GIVES US the alternative to the patriarchal strategies that attempt to drive change down from the top. By now, each of our organizations has probably already conducted at least one successful experiment in participation and self-management, and these experiences are a fitting foundation for building our strategy. One of our goals, then, is to put into widespread practice the innovations that we know have worked well in other organizations or in parts of our own. The key to doing this successfully is to honor the management process that created those particular successes.
WE DO NOT want to replicate the open-office story, exporting the design for the new office while ignoring the way in which the design was created. This instinct to widely implement the tangible end result of social innovations, without also instituting the participative process that created the innovation, is what makes it so difficult to successfully make use of what we already know. It is like reading only the last chapter of a mystery story. We know who did it, but the answer has no meaning and no lasting impression.