MUST READ: Systems Design Explains the World

The one and only Avery Pennarun (of the world in which IPv6 was a good design fame) is back with another absolutely-must-read article explaining how various archetypes apply to real-world challenges, including:

  • Hierarchies and decentralization (and why decentralization is a myth)
  • Chicken-and-egg problem (and why some good things fail)
  • Second-system effect (or why it’s better to refactor than to rewrite)
  • Innovator’s dilemma (or why large corporations become obsolete)

If you think none of these applies to networking, you’re probably wrong… but of course please write a comment if you still feel that way after reading Avery’s article.


  1. Missing the link? Here it is...

  2. Thank you. Fixed. No idea how I lost it when writing the blog post :(

  3. Fascinating read, thanks for linking this Ivan, reminds me of "Thinking in systems" by Donella Meadows. Also, this quote from Joel Spolsky's 2000 post made me laugh:

    "We’re programmers. Programmers are, in their hearts, architects, and the first thing they want to do when they get to a site is to bulldoze the place flat and build something grand. We’re not excited by incremental renovation: tinkering, improving, planting flower beds."

    Substitute "networkers" for "programmer" and it's spot on ;-)

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