July 16, 2011

Leadership: getting others to follow

Often people talk about something "leading" as whether it is newer, faster, better, more exciting, having more new features, etc.

But fundamentally, leadership only occurs if others follow... a leading product is imitated by its competitors, has a following of customers, and a leading standard is widely implemented.

Where does leadership come from? Can it come from a committee? Not really .... in the end, invention and leadership come from individuals. 

In the area of standards and technology, leadership and innovation comes from individuals and groups .... they make proposals, get feedback, adoption, agreement, and then get others to follow.  A working group, committee, mailing list can only review, suggest improvements, push back on alternatives.

It is foolish to desire that "leadership" in a technology area will only come from one segment, one group, one committee... and impossible to mandate, even if it were desirable.

Industry prospers when those who innovate find ways to get others to follow. The web needs innovation from outside the standards organizations; those innovations then can be brought in, reviewed, updated, modified to meet additional requirements discovered or added during the review and "standardization" process.