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Showing posts from July, 2009

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…