Version Control Everything

Version Control systems are the product of what I believe is a continued abstraction of a computer program and it’s user defined configurations.

First we had physical backups of entire computers on hard drives, then time-machine type backups and Veeam backups for VMs. Now we have both application specific backups for programs like Salesforce (OwnBackup) that decouple the user’s own input and configurations from the actual SaaS application. Modern day version control feels like the latest level of abstraction of user input away from underlying system. Now anyone can edit or branch or merge any changes to any application without worry that it will damage or destroy older versions of user input (although Git has been around since 2005, other verticals are just starting to get their own git).

Every job with any sort of digital output uses one or two programs as the sum-product of their work. Designers have Photoshop or Sketch, Bankers have spreadsheets, developers have the code itself, movie editors have Final Cut Pro, musicians have Logic or ProTools, and so on. If you spend the vast majority of working hours inside an application, odds are it could use version control, with the exception of email (and other comm apps). The more frequent changes are, and the greater the universe of possibilities of user input is, the more likely a version control system is going to be necessary.

Finally, the collaborative piece of version control is arguably the biggest reason it creates value. Working with internal colleagues is table stakes for a vcs. Enabling an entire creative industry to collaborate and build off each other in a standardized way is in a single sentence what makes Github so valuable, vs a tool like Git. It’s exceptionally difficult to create this type of community in any verticals, but I’m excited to see some of the newer VCS companies figure it out. To me, it boils down to the right way to price and package the platform to encourage a community of collaboration and sharing. Github’s free if it’s a public repo model was and still is very clever. It’ll be interesting to see how other more creatively competitive industries respond to those types of sharing incentives.

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