Originally referred to "pulling yourself up by your BootStraps".
http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/boot.html Historical note: this term derives from 'bootstrap loader', a short program that was read in from cards or paper tape, or toggled in from the front panel switches.
Now typically refers to starting an activity with relatively few resources (more specifically, avoiding OPM), and having a mechanism to build momentum. Similar to (but different from, or may use) Viral Marketing, Lean Startup, Micro ISV, Grunt-Fund.
- framed as Engelbart's planned process of tool-building: Doug Engelbart saw the opportunity to radically improve the effectiveness of intellectual problem solvers by continuously reinventing their Augmentation Systems, accelerating the human-tool co-evolution, using his own research team as the first subject group. He would start small and build on results, targeting both the Tool and the Human Systems at once, since it didn't make sense to make big changes in one without considering corresponding changes in the other.
- cf Bootstrap Institute
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