Getting Faster: 5 People Who Sped Up Our World*
Everywhere we look our world is speeding up. We have "fast food" and "speed dating". In technology we talk of "sprints", and "continuous deployment". But the search for speed is not a new one and has been going on for centuries. Spanning 300 years we'll discuss 5 people who have spent their lives making things faster and learn how we can apply these concepts to the work we're doing today.
Everywhere we look our world is speeding up. We have “fast food” and “speed dating”. In technology we talk of “sprints”, and “continuous deployment”. But the search for speed is not a new one and has been going on for centuries. Spanning 300 years we’ll discuss 5 people who have spent their lives making things faster and learn how we can apply these concepts to the work we’re doing today.
Some of the people we’ll talk about:
- In the 18th century sailors could not calculate longitude and were lost at sea the moment they lost sight of land. We’ll talk about John Harrison’s 40 year quest to build a watch that could work on the ocean which allowed the calculation of longitude and opened up entirely new trade routes.
- In the 1800’s Samuel Morse helped develop the telegraph which increased the rate that information traveled from the speed of a horse to the speed of electricity.
- In the 1930’s a trucker from north Carolina named Malcom McLean started a shipping business. Over the next 50 years he invented and popularized the shipping container which made global trade possible.
- After world war two, Taiichi Ohno a young Japanese engineer had an idea while watching the supermarket checkout line: work should be scheduled by actual sales. This led him to create the Toyota Product System which jump-started the Japanese economy and changed the way we manufacture things.
- In the 1960’s a little known fighter pilot named John Boyd developed a philosophy of fighting known as “OODA loops” which changed the tactics and speed of modern millitaries
OSBridge 2012: Thriving in Chaos
OSBridge 2011: Improving Estimates for Web Projects
Various Drupal and Ruby meetups.
Alex is a Ruby programmer and manager at New Relic. Previous to New Relic he worked at OpenSourcery and Dark Horse Comics.