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Rhizomatic strategies: MSFT, Silverlight, the Link, the Fragment

Gilles Deleuze

The giants, finding the limitations of growing to be the tallest tree, have started to look for other modes of expansion. Even the tallest tree can’t encompass the world.

Arborescent: growth by extension of mass and branching.

Rhizomatic: growth by linking and become part of the other.

From the definition on Wikipedia: “A rhizome works with horizontal and trans-species connections, while an arborescent model works with vertical and linear connections.” For near monopolies like Microsoft, companies that seemed to have the whole thing within reach, a new model of dominance has emerged. Google set the pattern, search is in the middle of everything.

The myth of the totalizing whole has been exposed. Not only is it not possible, it’s not desirable. For Microsoft to operate in the new order of things, they must accept a mixed operating environment. Rather than swallowing Yahoo whole, they must link to it and put themselves inside Yahoo as a fragment. Silverlight is the path toward that future because it doesn’t need to play Microsoft’s traditional zero-sum game. It can link to, and become part of, the other. The goal is to be the dominant fragment, the most aggressive weed in the garden.

Published in economics philosophy value zettel

One Comment

  1. […] The week was capped by a brawling Gillmor Gang with Robert Scoble and Mike Arrington engaged in heated debate over ownership of identity artifacts.¬†The wall at the back of Marc Canter’s revolutionary garden emerged as an offline visual rough draft of our constitutional articles. Canter also put forward the metaphor of¬†tentacles as the current mode of portability, and this connects directly to my observation of the general transition to rhizomatic power architectures. […]

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