Top Down vs. Bottom Up

This argument is often cited in other design contexts but it applies to the world of the small as well. Consider two schools of thought:

Bottom Up
Start with little tiny parts and put them together to build something from the "bottom up".

Advantage: You're already small.

Disadvantage: Ad Hoc. Poor infrastructure. No overall strategy, guiding script or design.

Top Down
Start at some relatively large scale, and incrementally shrink the devices, tooling, and effectors in stepwise powers of two, from the "top down." with an overall guiding strategy.

Advantage: You always have something to demostrate.

Disadvantage: Takes time, money and armies to drag all that infrastructure downtown to smallsville.

Technology shifts:

Lights go out

Dust gets bigger

Acoustics change

Assembly techniques

Quantum concerns

Solution: Do Both In Alternating Cycles