Demo or die

While I was associated and involved with Internet design over the last 15 years I observed hype after hype arise. New tools shed new light on new possibilities. At a certain moment in the mid nineties the pace of innovation was so great that all attention was directed to trying to understand new possibilities and make these ideas visible as soon as possible, to be able to hit the market or to be able to shape new insights in the public domain. Many applications were developed simply because it was possible. Some were hugely successful and many failed. The pace at which an idea was required to become visible was great, there was often no time for thinking, and what occurred when something was released was regularly a surprise for the makers as well as the consumers.

The many design methodologies that were developed over these years had to match this need for speed in innovation. 'Demo or Die', a phrase often used in these years, reflects this breathless need for success. And because so many new 'things' were to be explored and seen, the optimists grew more and more optimistic and any doubt or criticism was ruled out for several years. This resulted in the hype of the Internet and eventually the bursting of the Internet bubble at the end of the nineties. The need to revisit the debates about 'deep design' have only become more urgent since that time.