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Every now and then someone decides we need to replace email, or the web, or Craigslist, and they think the reason it hasn't happened yet is that no one has really thought about the details.

It's not.

The reason those things haven't been dethroned is they are he lowest common denominator. You can't dethrone them by making something better. You can only dethrone them by making something that is both better and more common.

By definition the lowest common denominator is crap. By definition it is some legacy junk that was already on every computer 10 years ago. By definition it's a hundred competing standards from multiple companies because how else will a technology work on every device ever?

You can try to replace it with another tech, but it's going to have he same kind of characteristics, and it's arc of adoption is going to look like email's. Which means maybe 10 years from now it starts to look like a real contender. And by then how much crap has been jury-rigged into the spec?

It's the long tail. It's janky, but it's a common standard that does one job like a freaking champ. The long tail will never be engineered away. It ebbs and flows. Only in the last 10 years is snail mail losing its status as a reliable way to reach people.




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