Deconstructing Technology, Startup

Startup: A Piece of String

Behold, the power of string!

This is a suspension bridge. No really, it is.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge

Or, it’s the starting point for one. You see a suspension bridge is really just a piece of rope, tied across a river. Everything else from that point on is just stabilization and convenience.

The basis for any suspension bridge is a piece of rope pulled taut across two points. But if you were to use that to cross a river, you’d need to either be a tightrope walker, or inch your way across by hanging underneath the wire, an inch at a time. While this might effectively get the job done, it is remarkably ineffective if you also want to get, say, your car across with you.

By adding two more ropes a bit higher up, and tying those ropes off to the base rope, you create a stable platform that will allow you to cross more easily, and without the need for a long balance bar, or a good set of gloves. But it still doesn’t make it convenient.

So suppose you add a second rope below, beside the original rope, and fasten planks between them. Suddenly you have a deck, and virtually anyone can cross on foot. Make the ropes strong enough, and the planks thick enough, and you can take a fairly substantial load. Keep upgrading each of those details, and you suddenly have a real live bridge.

In essence, this is the whole story of all the greatest suspension bridges in the world. But you don’t have to take my word for it:


  • Quit stringing me along with your theories.

    • dwegmull

      Atomic Toasters: now with string theories attached.

    • tonyola

      Oh, stop twining. We're all supposed to be in accord here.

      • Did you mean "a cord"? Because if you didn't I totally got dibs on that pun so I can join the club here.

        • tiberiusẅisë

          Frayed so.

  • Number_Six

    Jute think I'd have something in-sisal to add to this thread but I'm tied-up at the moment.

  • Alff

    Thanks, Dearthair, for a new twist on a familiar subject.

  • highmileage_v1

    How did I get entangled in this thread?

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      No idea, but it looks as though I got roped in as well.

  • PowerTryp

    Ugh these comments are terrible. I just want to let you all know that you're all aweful and I cant strand the lot of ya.

    • Deartháir

      We're knot forcing you to stay. You're cableble of leaving at any time.

      • PowerTryp

        What and sever all ties? I don't think so.

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  • Mike England

    So this string walks into a bar and orders a shot of bourbon, straight up
    The bartender says "Im sorry, we dont serve strings here"
    The string left, dissapointed, and walked around for awhile, then he had an idea.
    He tied a knot in himself and frayed the end.
    Back to the bar he went.
    "I'd like a shot of your best bourbon," He said "Straight up, in a snifter"
    and the bartender said "Aren't you the string that was here earlier today?"

    and the string said. . . you know what he said, right?

    "I'm a frayed knot"