The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Or CatB as it is popularly known, is a mecca of thoughts.

A collection of ideas central to tommorrow. Why tommorrow? Ever heard of the third wave? If you have not, we'll postpone detailed discussion for another day. But what it essentially means is that there were two waves of development in the human past; the first wave - when man learnt to grow food. The second wave - when the industrial revolution happenned. And in the same line, todays knowledge revolution is the third wave. And this third wave is changing the fundamentals of our society.

And for me, that is the one and only commandment. Over the days, you will be treated to several of my ideas regarding it. But for now we will stick to Cathedral and the Bazaar. Why am I talking about this? Because, I have several ideas related to this, which i want to discuss.

Cathedral and Bazaar, is a juxtaposition of two means of working, especially with reference to the software industry. The Cathedral is the organized juggarnaut for software production. It is the means employed by the Microsofts, the Oracles and others of this world. Where software is atomized into a set of small, simple tasks, doable by everyone. The Bazaar is the opposite. The unorganized wave of will, driven by motives other than those of profit, moving towards an undefined goal. It is the way the Linuxs of this world are built.

Why am I talking about it?

Well, I found a gem, that for me proves a central point of CatB. Yesterday we had a talk by some seniors who had come from McKinsey. Now these people, working consultants, were talking about the informal and helpful work-culture in McKinsey. The topic of discussion was the effectiveness of the mailing list and how helpful people of McKinsey can be. To quote from memory, "These people are very very helpful. When I was new to the topic, I posted messages, asking about everything and anything, and people responded. They answered all my doubts. And just a few days back, there was a question about which I actually knew something about. So I took that extra half an hour to post a reply. It felt great. That is that work culture here at McKinsey"

That aint no work culture, that is Maslow at work. The satisfaction of having helped. The power of knowledge in the knowledge economy.

The precise idea behind the bazaar in CatB.

The Bazaar is not an accident. Long live the bazaar.
I am Jack's wannabe bazaar

~!nrk

August 19, 2002

2 comments:

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