As yet more proof of the growing presence and prevalence of the Snowflake Effect I continue to find more and more examples of things shifting from static to dynamic and mass produced to mass personalised.  One of these is more than an example in that it is a trend itself and is nicely summarized as the transition from WYSIWYG to WYNIWY. 

WYSIWYG (often pronounced wizi wig) is one of the longest and oldest acronym’s I can recall and in case you’ve forgotten this stood for What You See Is What You Get and represented a very powerful and significant change that took place with the advent of things like desktop publishing, graphical interfaces and is still running strong today, though we rarely think about it and just take it for granted. 

However what is coming next, and has already started is an even larger, more pervasive and more powerful trend that exemplifies the Snowflake Effect and that is what I believe Gartner first started calling WYNIWYG; What You Need Is What You Get.  (to be pronounced winni wig?)  WYNIWYG is all part of the overall Snowflake Effect and particularly dependent upon our ability to address context.  Detecting and capturing context is not trivial and is already creating a large range of technology that is being referred to as contextual computing. As these capabilities become available Snowflake solutions will improve as they factor in the conditions and circumstances of any given situation to come up with a “just right” or unique solution that match the unique situation.  Using music as an example, WYNIWYG would enable you to be listening to music that was just right for you at a particular moment by its match to the context of that unique moment including things such as the mood you are in, time of day, the conditions around you, others you are with, etc. 

One of my favorite scenarios for this is to imagine music that enhances the performance of marathon runners.  This would involve the selection of just the right music for an individual runner at just the right time in the race by taking into account all the context of things like the condition of the course, cardiovascular rates, stride, energy level of the runner, etc. and then playing just the right song or part of a song that would help the runner achieve their best overall performance in the race.  From what I understand about marathon running at one point this could mean helping to calm the runner down, pump them up, maintain a stride, etc. and would vary tremendously not only for each runner but for each race and point within the race.  Non trivial to be sure, but not very difficult either utilizing just our current capabilities with things like the running shoe based connections to music players.

Think about it.  Classic Snowflake Effect to me.


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