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A Christmas Present

What more could I ask for?

Wine. Innovation. A blow against government over-regulation. A story about a penniless Yugoslavian immigrant. Capitalism. And whooping some French ass. All from Reason.tv.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.



http://reason.tv/video/show/red-white-and-sacrebleu

Adding Value, Reducing Cost

I was listening to This Week in Google (Ep. 17), and I once again heard Jeff Jarvis say (quite correctly) that internet efficiencies "add value and reduce cost". Jarvis is famous for saying about the Internet-connected economy, "middlemen are doomed". Again, he's right. Most importantly, he said that "Google kills waste". The question I have is "how much of the U.S. economy is based on waste management?" I've gone on at length about this topic before, but I'm going to try and boil it down. If you want the long-winded version, start here. In the Industrial economy of the 20th century, people who weren't getting paid extracting raw materials or pounding them into something useful, were being paid for coping with the inefficiencies inherent to acquiring the materials for, producing, promoting, or delivering, material goods. (Sure, some were being paid for handling Intellectual Property and not material goods, but I think we all know w…

Education, Attention, and Maker Time

Watching Meet the Press this morning, I was really struck by the honest assessment of the state of the U.S. educational system by Sharpton, Duncan, and Gingrich. President Obama has tasked these three with assessing and identifying the elements of successful K-12 education in the U.S., and empowering it.
Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy
{Brief aside - Thank you MSNBC for this fantastic editing tool, where I can highlight the text in a transcript, and embed just the video for the highlighted portion. So easy, so powerful, so useful. I can search and edit in text, and publish and embed in video}
This led me to think of what Matt Dugener said in his TEDxDetroit talk about Michigan, and the culture we have in this state towards entrepreneurs and enterprising individuals. The whole thing is worth your time, but I want to focus on the idea that, in Michigan, we train our children to be excellent employees, but poor entrepreneurs.


Have you ever considere…

Michel Bauwens, and the Crisis of Value Theory

Once upone a time, Jeff Jarvis wrote the words "bits, not atoms", and sent me down a rabbit hole that I have yet to climb out of.
I've got a statement for you to chew on with me, written by Michel Bauwens: 1) The creation of non-monetary value is exponential
2) The monetization of such value is linearBauwens cited one of my posts over at the P2P Foundation's blog, and tripped off the usual technological alarms that send me scrambling for any mention of my name or writings. I'm rattled by how big this man thinks, and that he'd bother to cite my writings on what I had been calling "innovation deflation."
Bauwens' post sent me off to his "Recapitulating the Crisis of Value Theory" article, where I found the statements at the top of this entry. It is a profoundly formal definition of the ideas that I was toying with when talking about innovation, efficiency, and deflation.
I don't have a great deal to say in this post (yet), but I've…

This *is* the Droid You're Looking For: Verizon Droid

[Updated 11-12-2009]
I don't normally do tech reviews, but after playing with my new Droid from Verizon (Motorola, Google), I had to share some of the love. I've got about 15 friends waiting for me to do the recon work before they dive in, so I thought I'd collect my thoughts here. It also will provide a sounding board for friends who've joined the Church of Jobs, and want to yell at me for deviating from the One True Faith.
I support a great many iPhones at work, and I love the device, but the Droid makes the iPhone look a little tired. It's not necessarily a huge leap beyond the iPhone (except for the display, which really is profoundly better, with twice the iPhone's screen resolution), it's just all around more solid.

I won't review the features here, there's plenty of that data all over the web already. I will say that the actual phone is just spectacular (you know... that one app that all smartphones are still trying to do right?) . The sound is…

TEDxDetroit - Where Do We Go From Here?

I've given myself a day of reflection on TEDxDetroit before writing about it. I wanted to 1) let my head stop spinning from all the great ideas I was exposed to, and 2) allow some time for the Kool-Aid to leave my system and give the conference a more objective treatment.

I wanted to get these thoughts down while they were fresh, but as soon as the videos are available from these talks, I'll be sure to update the post to include them. Until then, forgive me if I don't offer a complete synopsis of the talks.

First off, if you're unfamiliar with TED or the TEDx concept, take a look at this piece in TIME about the TEDxDetroit conference for a little background information, or check out Chris Spiek's synopsis at Positive Detroit. Of course, you could visit TED.com and spend some time with a few of the videos there.

Charlie Wollborg, Terry Bean, Catherine Juon, Derek Mehraban, et al. did an incredible job lining up some real heavy hitters for the conference. The speakers …

Sonoma Trip Breakdown - Day 3

Up and at 'em early on Saturday. Chris had to work, but she left us a lovely note.

Richard took us up to Iron Horse for a tasting.


They had a Pinot Noir there that I consider to be my new baseline for what a Pinot Noir should be. It is the taste that I imagine when I imagine Pinot Noir. Danielle picked up a pair of Bourdeax style cabernet blends there.

After Iron Horse, it was off to the Redwood Forest for some photography. These pictures can't do the forest any justice. You feel so utterly small inside there.


We had a satisfying, yet somewhat unremarkable lunch up in Healdsburg (at least I got to see the final score on the Michigan game, ouch!), and then ducked over to Seghesio to sample the Zins.


Now, both Danielle and I are huge fans of Seghesio Zinfandel, so this was a much-anticipated stop. We were really looking forward to getting a taste of some of the zins that aren't in wide distribution. As expected, these Zins were great, but I didn't find them to be that much ab…

Sonoma Trip Breakdown - Day 2

We started today by dropping off Chris and Danielle for some antique shopping Healdsburg, while Richard and I headed to a few tasting rooms. We started at Dry Creek Vineyards.




They were wise to practically mandate a taste of their '08 Dry Chenin Blanc, a wine that may easily be overlooked. It shouldn't be. They also had a Late Harvest Zinfandel dessert wine that was too tasty not to pick up. I bought a bottle of each.

Here are the wines of note: * '08 Dry Creek - Dry Chenin Blanc (purchased) * '06 Dry Creek - Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon * '05 Dry Creek - Dry Creek Valley Merlot
All of those should be distributed widely enough to find out of town.
* '06 Dry Creek - Late Harvest Zinfandel (purchased)
After Dry Creek, we headed across the way to an old favorite, Teldeschi.



I've had great experiences there before, and have sent a few friends to visit when I heard they were heading out this way. They make some seriously killer Zinfandel. I must've tried a doz…

Sonoma Trip Breakdown - Day 1

We hit B. R. Cohn for a tasting. My first visit to this very cool vineyard. Apparently B.R. Cohn was the road crew manager for the Doobie Brothers forever, so lots of fun memorabilia on the walls. They have a very friendly tasting room, and Phil showed us some great wines.


Since I've committed to making this the el-cheapo wine tour, I'm trying to make sure that all my wines come in (mostly) under $25 a bottle, and I'm bringing back only a case. I picked up two bottles at B. R. Cohn:

* B. R. Cohn - Boater's Barbera, 06

* B. R. Cohn - Syrcab, 07
(77% Syrah, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon)

I also picked up a balsamic vinegar and a jar of the kalamata tapenade.

After that, we hit the CIA for lunch in Napa. We sat right next to the Demo Kitchen and watched them prep everyone's food.



Lunch was a terrific hangar steak, amongst various other samplings. We made a quick visit to the gift shop, but resisted coming home with any new cooking implements. After lunch, we headed back to base camp…

A Brief Sojourn...

October has been a very busy month. Tomorrow I head off to wine country in northern California to visit with some old friends. I promise to post some good pictures and tell some stories when I get back.

It's a much needed break from a very hectic year, and the first real vacation I've had since 2007. I should arrive back home refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the year.

First up on the agenda upon my return is TEDx Detroit. I'm very excited to be going, and I can't imagine being in a more perfect open mindset for the event than fresh off of vacation, especially considering some of the company I'll be keeping out in California.

I'll be sure and share what insights I gather from TEDx Detroit with all of you here. Be warned that, should there be any posting at all through the weekend, it is likely to wander off the reservation. Work and school have both imposed strict discipline of schedule and focus lately, so for the next 5 days, I'm taking my brain off …

Peabody, Jarvis, and the New Sacred Cows

Bo Peabody has a nice piece in the WaPo about the business models of Social Networks.

He's a bit more dour about their monetization schemes than I would venture, but generally is in the ballpark.
A visit from the pope may attract a large audience, but it's not a great place to make money. Likewise, social networks can successfully bring people together, but don't expect them to turn a profitPeabody cites examples of the failure of both advertising models on social networks, and the inability of social networks to get subscribers to pay for their services. Peabody cites the experience of Tripod (a once moderately sized social network which Peabody created), and reveals that the ad revenue generated on the site was never a fraction of a percent of that which Google hauls in with targeted search ads.

This is not necessarily a failure of a social networking ad model, but a failure of the size and intelligence of the social network. I imagine that Facebook's targeted ads, base…

Cautious Optimism about Google Sidewiki

I can see the potential benefits of using SideWiki. As Clay Shirky said, "Every webpage is a latent community".

As far as robbing bloggers of their comment space, Google Notes can do that. Facebook does that. FriendFeed does it, etc. It's not new, and I'm not sure that it's evil. Moving power to the edge isn't just about moving it to the authorspace, be it the New York Times, or BuzzMachine. In my case, it's about moving the power to me as a commenter. And I'm just as much on the edge as the Author.

If nobody whips up a integrated comment system for WordPress and Blogger that uses SideWiki as the engine, I'll be surprised.

A quick search through the API looks like there's no way to use the API to insert comments yet, which could be a roadblock. And the fact that comments are voted up instead of threaded pretty much kills it as a discussion space.

However, I'm cautiously excited about what this may evolve into.in reference to: Google Sidewiki…

Genachowski's Net Neutrality Policy

I was excited to get home and listen to Julian Genachowski's speech on the FCC's stance on Net Neutrality yesterday. If you haven't read it yet, you can find it here.

I was, and remain, cautiously optimistic about Genachowski's appointment, and President Obama's professed support of Net Neutrality. But as always, the Devil is in the details. Sadly, Genachowski's speech did little to share those details with us.

This seems to be Julian Sanchez's observation as well, though he's far more skeptical than I:
The digest version is that the open Internet is awesome (true!) and so the FCC is going to impose a “nondiscrimination” obligation on telecom providers—though Genachowski makes sure to stress this won’t be an obstacle to letting the copyright cops sniff through your packets for potentially “unauthorized” music, or otherwise interfere with “reasonable” network management practices.
If the FCC's stance amounts to protecting end-to-end best effort delivery…

Social Media Links - Video Edition

Hey folks, I've been gathering a few videos up lately, and put them together in a little playlist over on Youtube. They encapsulate some of the big-picture ideas around social media. They are the starting point for a body of evidence that the social nature of the Internet is a bigger game-changer than the printing press in human history.

Enjoy, won't you?

FCC: None of Your Damn Business

Erick Schonfeld writes a nice piece detailing the FCC's request to Apple, Google, and AT&T to clarify why the Google Voice application was rejected from the iPhone App Store. (h/t @ajkeen)

While I share Shonfeld's views on the importance of open pipes, I can't share his cheerleading of the FCC's inquiry: "The iPhone needs to be smashed open, and the FCC is swinging the hammer."

I think this is conceding victory to the iPhone in the handheld market way too early in the game. It is not some universal platform for access that we are all beholden to. The iPhone is what every product from Apple is: sleek, sexy, well designed, and easy to use. This extends well past the device itself and to the platforms and applications that support it, including the App Store. It is *not* open. To be open would go against the very fabric of what Apple is. Apple is more than a product or a platform; it's a lifestyle choice. Apple's market has always been to those people …

Anthony Bourdain on Detroit...

Tony Bourdain on Detroit:

Detroit. Where just about everything cool originated. As angry as one gets looking at block after block of abandoned row houses in Baltimore and wondering how the hell that happened, it's mind boggling to see how far Detroit has been allowed to fall. But what a truly magnificent breed of crazy-ass hardcase characters have dug in there. Of all three cities we visited, Detroit, oddly enough, even while looking the jaws of death straight in the face, remains closest to being a true culinary wonderland. This is due entirely to the successive waves of migration and immigration from all over the world, when people came to MAKE things in America -- each group bringing their own food and traditions. Detroit IS the story of America, for better -- and worse, and I think we've missed that, allowed ourselves to look away. Detroit, after all, made us who we are. Literally. A country of cars, highways, car culture, upward mobility, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, a…

The Knowledge Economy That Isn't

The online revolution really is just that: A Revolution.

For 15 years now, we've heard the phrase "The Internet Revolution" so often that it's a cliche, but most times, the authors throwing about the phrase didn't realize how right they were.

They never saw this coming, and many still don't. The hype about social media today sounds just like the hype about "multimedia" of 15 years ago. Is multimedia huge? Absolutely! So much so that it's practically ubiquitous today, and we don't even need to reference it as it's own entity anymore. Social media (and the Internet as a whole) will travel this same path. But what did we learn from multimedia and the dot-com bubble of the late 90's?

The Internet has greatly increased the power of the consumer, it has greatly benefited the consumer, and it has destroyed many traditional businesses in the process. I've been obsessed with this "Innovation Deflation" for weeks now, since Jeff Jar…

More Mass Market Deflation

Courtesy of Brad Stone at the New York Times:
Polyphonic and similar new ventures are symptomatic of deep shifts in the music business. The major labels — Sony Music, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music — no longer have such a firm grip on creating and selling professional music and minting hits with prime placement on the radio.

Much of that has to do with the rise of the Internet as a means of promoting and distributing music. Physical album sales fell 20 percent, to 362.6 million last year, according to Nielsen, while sales of individual digital tracks rose 27 percent, to 1.07 billion, failing to compensate for the drop. Mindful of these changes, in the last few years marquee musicians like Trent Reznor, the Beastie Boys and Barenaked Ladies have created their own artist-run labels and reaped significant rewards by keeping a larger share of their revenue.
Sound familiar? In an earlier post, I wrote:
Every business model relying on intellectual property law (patent and copyright) is h…

The NYT Book Review on Chris Anderson's Free: The Future of a Radical Price

One of my favorites, Virginia Postrel, offers a solid review of Chris Anderson's new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price in the New York Times.

She just nails it:

Opponents of the free-content argument too often reject the idea that free content is the future simply because they don’t want it to be true.[...]

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money,” Samuel Johnson said, and that attitude has had a good two-­century run. But the Web is full of blockheads, whether they’re rate-busting amateurs or professionals trawling for speaking gigs. All this free stuff raises the real standard of living, by making it ever easier for people to find entertainment, information and communication that pleases them.

Business strategy, however, seeks not only to create but to capture value. Free is about a phenomenon in which almost all the new value goes to consumers, not producers. It is false to assume that no price means no value. But it is equally false to argue that value impl…

The Highlight Reel

Mike Masnick, CEO and Founder of Techdirt, flatters me far more than I deserve, citing my recent post, Intellectual Property and Deflation of the Knowledge Economy:
The Citizen Media Law Group points us to an even better explanation of this very point, by Eric Reasons, noting that artificial scarcity is facing massive deflation. It's such a great concise way of making the point, I wish I'd thought of it:
Every business model relying on intellectual property law (patent and copyright) is heading for massive deflation in our lifetimes. We've seen it with the music industry and newspapers already. The software industry is starting to feel it with the maturity of open source software, and the migration of applications to the cloud. Television, movies, and books are next. I've come to question the ability of copyright and patent law to foster innovation, but leaving that aside, the willingness of people to collaborate and share, and the tools provided for it on the internet, …

Innovative Deflation

In recent posts, I have:

...Questioned whether Intellectual Property Law spurs innovation or hinders it.

...Suggested that one need not change IP law to have it lose in the long run to the culture of free (or the "culture of participation", if you prefer Craig Newmark's lingo).


...Claimed that we shouldn't abandon traditional economies in favor of a "knowledge economy" that may not be the panacea that some claim it to be. This comes largely out of Jeff Jarvis' recent thoughts on innovation yielding efficiency more than it yields growth. I argue that this efficiency doesn't just shrink some markets in isolation, but can lead to deflation of the economy as a whole. Innovative deflation.

I wanted to dig into this last point a bit more and get a discussion going on how to substantiate or dismiss such a claim: "Is the knowledge economy ripe for growth, or is it the means by which traditional economies are shrunk?"

My argument is two-fold. First, tha…

The Economic Reset Button

[Update: This accidentally became a series of posts on a theme.


Does Intellectual Property Law Foster Innovation? Where I question the efficacy of patent and copyright in a socially networked world.


Intellectual Property and the Deflation of the Knowledge Economy - Where I toy with the idea that the Knowledge Economy may not turn out to be much of an economy, especially when it comes to Intellectual Property


The Economic Reset Button - (this post) Where Jeff Jarvis asks Eric Schmidt whether or not this is a fundamental shift in the economic base


Innovative Deflation - Where I ask, "Is the knowledge economy ripe for growth, or is it the means by which traditional economies are shrunk?" ]

Below is an exchange between Jeff Jarvis and Eric Schmidt at the Aspen Ideas Festival. This is a very important 5 minutes to watch. Is our economy fundamentally shifting away from mass production/mass markets towards a knowledge economy?



Moreover, if my previous assertions are anywhere nea…

Intellectual Property and Deflation of the Knowledge Economy

[Update: This accidentally became a series of posts on a theme.


Does Intellectual Property Law Foster Innovation?Where I question the efficacy of patent and copyright in a socially networked world.


Intellectual Property and the Deflation of the Knowledge Economy - (this post) Where I toy with the idea that the Knowledge Economy may not turn out to be much of an economy, especially when it comes to Intellectual Property


The Economic Reset Button- Where Jeff Jarvis asks Eric Schmidt whether or not this is a fundamental shift in the economic base


Innovative Deflation- Where I ask, "Is the knowledge economy ripe for growth, or is it the means by which traditional economies are shrunk?" ]

Friday night I was discussing the future of intellectual property law with some friends. My argument, in a nutshell:

Every business model relying on intellectual property law (patent and copyright) is heading for massive deflation in our lifetimes. We've seen it with the music industry and news…

Cyberdefense and Civil Liberties

Jim Harper over at Cato is still keeping an eye on the Fed's grab for cybersecurity authority.
That’s correct. “Cyber” is not a problem that affects our sovereignty or the integrity of our national boundaries. Thus, it’s not a problem for the defense or intelligence establishments to handle.

The benefits of the online world vastly outstrip the risks - sorry Senator Rockefeller. With those benefits come a variety of problems akin to graffiti, house fires, street closures, petit theft, and organized crime. Those are not best handled by centralized bureaucracies, but by the decentralized systems we use to secure the real world: property rights, contract and tort liability, private enterprise, and innovation.
I've blogged about this before, here and here, but it's worth keeping tabs on.

Does Intellectual Property Law Foster Innovation?

[Update: This accidentally became a series of posts on a theme.


Does Intellectual Property Law Foster Innovation?(this post)Where I question the efficacy of patent and copyright in a socially networked world.


Intellectual Property and the Deflation of the Knowledge Economy- Where I toy with the idea that the Knowledge Economy may not turn out to be much of an economy, especially when it comes to Intellectual Property


The Economic Reset Button - Where Jeff Jarvis asks Eric Schmidt whether or not this is a fundamental shift in the economic base


Innovative Deflation - Where I ask, "Is the knowledge economy ripe for growth, or is it the means by which traditional economies are shrunk?" ]

Patent and copyright were established in this country under the assumption that the limited-term monopoly rights for creators foster innovation. The promise of exclusive reward to a creator for some set period of time provides incentive to pursue the overhead costs of research, invention, and innova…