Jim Nielsen’s Blog
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Judo Throw the Hype

I recently read “Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing”. Whatever your opinions on blockchain technology (something that, by no means, do I intended to solicit here) I thought the article was an interesting perspective.

What I found most interesting is the story about how the hype of blockchain technology propelled decision makers to invest in technology, even though the hyped technology was never actually employed:

Thanks to all the hype [of the blockchain], Maarten was able to develop his children’s aid package app, maternity care providers began talking to each other again, and many businesses and local authorities were gently made aware of their ramshackle data management.

Yes, it took a few wild, unmet promises, but the result is that administrators are now interested in the boring subjects that help make the world run a bit more efficiently – nothing spectacular, just a bit better.

In the end, the author points out, perhaps the greatest benefit of the blockchain was not the blockchain, but something more indirect:

Maybe this is blockchain’s greatest merit: it’s an awareness campaign, albeit an expensive one. “Back-office management” isn’t an item on the agenda in board meetings, but “blockchain” and “innovation” are.

Hyped technologies can be the boardroom trojan horse.

As someone who works on the web, this is a point worth considering. Perhaps all the new technologies that envelop us, however convoluted and wheel-reinventing, can actually be seen as opportunities—constructive entry points into a conversation. “Oh, so you’ve heard about fancy new thing X? Yes, we could use that. But did you know the problems it’s solving are as old as the web itself? And there are some proven, resilient ways to solve these age-old problems...”

Now I don’t know anything about martial arts principles, but this thought led me down a bit of a rabbit hole and gave me a new perspective. I like new perspectives, and this one sounds like Aiki: use the mass and momentum of your opponent, an over-hyped technology, as a vessel for positive change by redirecting its power.