Arnold Andrewsen, a programmer working for the Calgary based software giant - — Samson Elite - recently spoke at a local tech show about how the biggest technological breakthroughs happen on existing platforms and rarely on new ones.
His talk came right after Apple announced the iPhone 7, which - in many people's minds - is constantly revolutionizing the cellphone industry. In Andrewsen's opinion the revolution isn't the mobile phone itself, but rather the independent apps available for it. To demonstrate his point, Andrewsen hinted at a handful of cellphone apps that have changed our everyday lives. He noted how - to positively reach and impact the most amount of lives worldwide - no app developer felt the need to first create a brand new operating system before releasing their app. Instead they all leveraged platforms that are widely in use already.
To back his argument he pointed at Blackberry, a mobile company that just recently retired it's own operating system in favour of the popular Android platform. This - he said - not only lowered their own developing costs but also made their phones more appealing to the mainstream media. Mainly because of the many Android apps that now can also be used on Blackberry devices.
"As the old saying goes: Why reinvent the wheel?" Andrewsen continued. "New platforms are rarely the revolution. The add-ons, apps, plugins, or even extensions are what revolutionize things."
"Look at the flashlights on mobile devices for example. At first it was just an app that would make your screen go bright white. You even had to pay for it. Then there were free flashlight apps, and today you can't buy a new smartphone that doesn't have it built in. The flashlight app was the revolution that lead to the replacement of standalone flashlights."
Shifting gears a bit he talked some more about how clever Tesla - the all electric car company - was when it released the patents of for its popular Model S. He mentioned how people tend to look at the car as revolutionary - and although it might be in a sense - he insisted the true revolution will come as a result of someone picking up the Tesla platform and taking it to new levels.
"This is also true at my job where I work a lot with WordPress - the largest blog platforms online. As great as WordPress is, the platform wasn't what revolutionized the internet or even blogging for that matter. It was the themes designed for it by independent developers. It was the plugins created for it by programmers like myself." Andrewsen insisted "It's the add-ons and not the platforms themselves that brought about the quick evolution of online blogging and website creation."
Andrewsen explained that operating systems or platforms are - generally speaking - the enabler. Rarely the breakthrough itself.
To learn more about Andrewsen and some of the work he has done in the tech world, check out his blog: http://wplocal.org/
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