Which scale & speed fits the challenge?

Two things side by side about scale that caught my eye:

One: Over at SNV, Julian Jaursch published a paper (English, German) on EU platform regulation, or more specifically the role of the Digital Service Coordinator (DSC). One of the core themes here is that there needs to be a regulator that fits the scale of the to-be-regulated. How big is big enough, how small is small enough?

“The most pressing question is therefore: Who will ensure that platforms follow the DSA’s rules? For very large platforms, it is mainly the European Commission that will be responsible. For all other digital services, member states will have to ensure that the rules are followed.”

In other words, which platform needs to be regulated at the national level, which at the EU level? The EU now takes an approach that basically says that the very biggest platforms have to deal with the European Commission directly: You come talk to the heavyweight so you’re dealing with someone in the same weight class. Nation states will deal with smaller platforms.

Two: Which reminded me of a thing Tressie McMillan Cottom said in an interview about choosing the right format for a thought I’m paraphrasing: Is this a tweet-length thought or a blog post-length thought or a book-length thought?

To me, these both point torwards a very similar thing: The idea of matching tools/approaches/scale/speed to fit the challenge. Different challenges require different tools. They also require differently sized tools to work effectively. Sometimes you need a shovel, at other times you need tweezers. Sometimes you need to act fast, at other times take time to deliberate and build slowly.

A lot of stuff that goes wrong is because the tools and approaches don’t fit the challenges. They might use the wrong method, an outdates model of the world, or simply apply the wrong scale or speed.

Whichever problem you’re trying to solve, it’s worth asking which tool/scale/speed/etc. fits the challenge.

Leave a Reply