Some of you will have heard me going on about how “getting small” is a really BIG deal for over 15 years now. The context is that by making and breaking everything down into the smallest possible units (and not one bit smaller) we enable the creation of infinite numbers of infinitely customizable combinations so that each new assembly or mashup is a unique combination that fits a unique set of conditions just right. And yes, I’ve been using the Lego ™ block analogy for as many years to illustrate this.
One of the latest examples comes in the recent announcement of Amazon “Kindle Singles” which they describe as;
“twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book.”
Obviously not a new concept in terms of format or size but what this does do is add a significant new publishing venue and dramatically scales up the number of people who can now have their ideas and writing published for a much larger audience. For those who wish to do so this also adds some incentive and options to have their writing earn some money but I think the larger opportunity this presents is for more ideas to get out to more people.
You could argue that this is superfluous because anyone can already publish anything they want by posting it to the web via the blog and other means, and maybe these Kindle Singles won’t amount to much. However as you know I am very big on how well the whole Kindle environment or experience has been put together (see links below) such that it is not so much about a piece of hardware as it is about content and ways to seamlessly have what you want, where you want and how you want, when it comes to text.
There are a LOT of examples out there where a seemingly small and simple idea has amounted to a very big deal in terms of how it just hits the right note at the right time and takes off with far reaching effects. I’m not talking about fads that spike and then die off but small things which become very big and influential. Take something like Email for instance, which on its surface is just electronic letter writing and how “big and new” did that sound when first proposed? More recently things like Facebooka and of course Twitter would seem to be top examples. We often don’t factor in how much making something quick, easy and simple makes all the difference when it comes to adoption.
So it is with this line of thinking that I believe Amazon Singles could become a big deal. Yes, it is a proprietary solution and comes with the usual limitations and detractors who will quickly point this out. But again, so too have many such innovations and small new things started out this way and then caught on to become either defacto standards or otherwise broken out of the proprietary limitations. Some of us will remember the days when Email was very proprietary and you could only communicate with others who were using the same Email program.
In any case I think this intoduction of Kindle Singles is worth keeping an eye on and even more so to trying out for some experiential learning so I hope more and more of us will give it a try and get those good ideas out there.