Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sam Savage's Short History of the World

This is my own adaptation from his book, but i've stayed pretty true to his words:
  1. Humans learn to read and write and can transmit information between generations.
  2. Humans invent machines and we get the industrial revolution. Primacy of math and physics. This is followed by the rise of engineering. Finally we get the field of industrial design, which gives everything handles and switches to make them operational (like your light switch).
  3. Machines learn to read and write during WWII. The birth of computer science and the start of the informational revolution. Unlike physics, which ultimately we grasp with our hands, information is understood through our mind. The equivalent of the industrial engineer is the informational designer.

To get a sense of what an informational designer does, I'd recomend this set of slides from Zach Gemignani of Juice Analytics. I don't think it's a stretch to say that effective use of data through analytics is the key driving force in Google's success.

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