prioritised non-destructive workflows because that’s primarily what node networks are good at.
I think Blender would disagree with that statement.
But USD isn’t inherently non-destructive. Similar to photoshop you can choose to work destructively in one layer or add new layers, keeping previous layers intact.
It’s hard to comment on the instancing because I haven’t seen the videos yet. But it’s certainly true that instance prototypes are more difficult (but not impossible) to edit due to their implicit nature. It’s actually not that hard to create an explicit prototype that can be edited normally, so hopefully the tooling will get better for that over time.
Its the collision of authoring vs layout that's shocking the Houdini Community in my opinion.
Being handcuffed about what you can/cannot do to Instances in USD is just very jarring - and kinda against the Houdini philosophy of low-level access when authoring.
Especially when you consider, how is the laymen supposed to even discover the rule preventing them from making a change?, because Houdini just renders, it doesnt tell you why your attempt failed.