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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.

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Yahoo: This is Your Brain on Music

This new MP3 player from Yahoo is a beautiful thing. It’s early yet, but this is the kind widget that will bring Yahoo back into the center of things. Arrington says they have some big plans for music, and music is a great place to start. And it all goes back to this blog post by Ian Rogers with the memorable quote: “Inconvenience doesn’t scale.”The player is written as unobtrusive javascript, so it’s simple to add to a page. It recognizes MP3 links and layers itself over the layout. I need to play with it a little more, but it looks like a very well thought out implementation.The reason to focus on music? Music changed Apple Computer to Apple. It introduced millions of users to Apple software and Macintosh. If Yahoo can get some things right with music, it will go a long way. To understand the elemental force of music, read “This is Your Brain on Music.” 

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