Any theory of standards needs to include standard languages; i.e. French, Japanese, Java, etc.
No widely sucessful human languages were designed by professionals. Languages are extremely sticky (i.e. nobody can learn a second language perfectly after puberty). Most people acquire their primary language by a cognitive short cut. They adopting the local dialect. Preferential attachment indeed. Like any systems with large a installed base rationalization after the fact is extremely difficult. But it does create a vast and entertaining liturature of how we got here.
July 18th is Johann Schleyer’s birthday. Schleyer was a late 19th century German who invented a Volap’k (notice the umlat) a constructed language. It was quickly displaced by Esperanto.
I’m amused that Schleyer was extremely fastidious about retaining control over his IP rights. It must have been an interesting time, the late 19th century, when it first became plausible that individuals might own one of these widely used standards.