Looking for where to save time in projects, lessons from container revolution

Long before I worked in data centers, information warehouses, I used to work in physical warehouses for HP and Apple as a distribution engineer.  Pallets, forklifts, boxes, bar codes, and processes were what I worked with every day.  When containers arrived to data centers so many people made a big deal of it, but I had seems containers used over 30 years go to move massive quantities of goods and having containers to encapsulate IT white space is interesting, but not even close to as revolutionary containers were to the shipping industry. 

The Economist has an article on Containers where they discuss how innovative containers were.


Big bills left in the shipping container

May 20th 2013, 21:16 by R.A. | WASHINGTON

I LOVE the history of the shipping container. Nothing could be more confounding to our usual ideas about innovation, stagnation, and technology.

And Contaners were a simple idea created by the execs not some whiz kid.

Except that's not how it works out. And not because an inventor came up with a revolutionary new technology. Instead, a few savvy shipping magnates figured out a better way to do things. A much, much better way.

The new system was simple. Customers or aggregating shipping firms would pack their cargo into giant, purpose-designed metal boxes. The boxes could be loaded on truck or rail trailers for transport to port, where purpose-built cranes would swing them onto purpose-built boats that don't carry anything but containers. Cargo could travel from factory to destination without ever being handled by a human. 

When you feel like there aren't any interesting opportunities turn around take a look behind you.  There may be some really good opportunities in your past that you didn't see.

Obviously container shipping revolutions don't come along every day. But I find this history to be a powerful antidote to economic pessimism. It's as if humanity faced a stand of trees stripped of low-hanging fruit and despaired of further economic gain, only to have someone shout, "Hey, there are also a bunch of trees behind us!"