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Platypus Innovation Blog

3 February 2016

Neal Stephenson on corporate structures?

The Diamond Age

Out-sourcing, automation, and online sub-contracting are all chipping away at the traditional company. Today small start-ups can explode into worldwide disruption. Looking forward -- will this only increase? With ever-smaller core teams acting as the focal point for powerful flows of money and services. It makes me think of this passage from Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age where the book's second hero, John Hackworth, travels through the Coastal Republic, a decadent country propped up by high-technology:
The Coastal Republic checkpoints at the intersections of the roads were gray and fuzzy, like house-size clots of bread mold, so dense was the fractal defense grid, and staring through the cloud of macro- and microscopic aerostats, Hackworth could barely make out the hoplites in the center, heat waves rising from the radiators on their backs and stirring the airborne soup. They let him pass through without incident. Hackworth expected to see more checkpoints as he continues toward Fist territory, but the first one was the last; the Coastal Republic did not have the strength for defense in depth and could muster only a one-dimensional picket line.

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