Strategies for a discontinuous future.

Consulting & advisory, research notes, in the press, about bubblegen,
next wednesdays.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Happiness is Back

Prospect magazine picks up on the Subjective Well Being research. Pretty cool.

-- Mahashunyam // 12:40 AM //

Friday, February 25, 2005

Connectivity Wars

Getting messy:

1) Fiber rollouts accelerating
2) First-mover and cost advantage to cable ops
3) (Lame) muni wireless stalling tactics by telcos


1) Are these all really substitutes?
2) The makings of a 3-way war?

Would love to hear Om and other connectivity heads chime in.

-- umair // 2:29 PM //


Apple Vs Tivo

Not to belabor a point I should have made a few days back, but I don't the brand synergies between Apple + Tivo are very strong - Apple usually acquires generic technologies, integrates, and cools them. This is a form of arbitrage, which isn't possible with Tivo, which is already cool.

-- umair // 2:22 PM //


Web 2.0

Om notes rumours about Yahoo grabbing Flickr.

Just a matter of time if this rumour isn't on the level - what's interesting to me is the already furious speed of consolidation in Web 2.0. The real next wave of innovation is just beginning to happen (RSS, tags, etc), and already winners are being acquired at fairly serious valuations fast. We can recite a long list...the point is that incumbents are almost instantly choosing to buy rather than make. I think there are two primary reasons - real estate/customer ownership/etc is becoming (seriously) valuable again, and R&D by acquisition has a far lower opp cost than otherwise.

-- umair // 2:15 PM //


Give it Up

Jeff points out NanoBot needs donations.

-- umair // 2:12 PM //


Media 2.0

The Guardian on TuneTribe, which is signing deals to get indie artists not just online, but also into shops.

It's an interesting tactic - but I think it would only work in the UK, where music buying is still stuck in 1985 (ie, go to your local mega-retailer and pay HUGE amounts - @10-15 quid - for relatively little music).

-- umair // 1:49 PM //


Media 2.0

OK. A group of fans in Germany make a movie of their fav book. It's almost hilariously bad. Which might make you dismiss this.

Except that the economics of several industries are discontinuously jumping in the other direction: for prosumers to be able to produce moderately high-quality movies with a minimum of learning, technology, and production costs. And for other to distribute and market them cheaply. And for others still to remix them, etc...

This is Media 2.0 disrupting Media 1.0 - an almost textbook example which, I think, deserves a lot more discussion. (/.)

-- umair // 12:56 PM //


Blog Job

My comments viz Kottke wants to get paid to blog:

1) Is this 'selling out'? a la the Blogversations furor?
2) Is this an important test case for the commercial potential of micromedia driven by Web 2.0? Yes and no - I don't think the market's there yet, because the coming media hyperfragmentation has yet to happen (though Kottke will likely make $$$).

-- umair // 12:52 PM //


Politics of the Day

Michelle Malkin thinks music = self-mutilation:

"There is even a new genre of music -- "emo" -- associated with promoting the cutting culture."

I'm no big fan of emo (as a matter of fact, it drives me nuts), but please, please, dear Townhall editors, fire Michelle Malkin. You've just succeeded in making your publication look stupid to, well, everyone in the universe under the age of 30.

Uhhh...and the Post thinks Condi is hot. No kidding.

-- umair // 12:49 PM //


iPod Economy

The NYT on Odeo, asking all the wrong questions ('how will they make $$'?).

-- umair // 12:47 PM //


Open-Source and Marx, Pt 2

Barry posted a comment a few days back arguing that open-source is socialist, not Marxist. It was a good comment - I called open-source Marxist for a very specific reason, which I think is absolutely crucial to understanding it's economics.

In a nutshell, it's this:

Marx argues that capitalists are able to extract surplus value from labour via, essentially, an institutional monopoly on the means of production. Now, the derivation of surplus value (essentially the consumption of labours power at labour's exchange value in exchange for labour's use value) is a little more complicated and is (for me) the heart of Marxian economics.

I think this is a critical first step in building an economics of open-source. One of the implicit (well, often explicit) goals of open-source is that the means of production should be free in terms of both use and exchange value. In other words, open-source is a means to end the monopoly of capital on the means of production.

To get a little more technical, the mechanism works by letting labour realize the gains to it's own exchange (wages) and use (production) values. The really important bit here is what happens to the surplus value in open-source - if you can figure that out, you can build nice econ papers, and sucessful business models too. But no one really has yet...so far, the surplus value is simply being arbitraged away by consumers, who are capturing it by getting things for free.

So, Socialism is, I think, more properly a political term. Also, please note that I'm NOT slagging open-source by calling it evil Marxist communist etc. Quite the opposite - I think it's fascinating that geeks have built an economic model which is fundamentally anticapitalist at it's very core (and that's why those of us on the beancounter side are having such a tough time monetizing it).

-- umair // 12:17 PM //


HCL Info launches India's cheapest PC

BoP business models beginning to take shape. Will be interesting to
see how this one plays out. Of course, it runs Linux.

-- Mahashunyam // 4:41 AM //

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Is Your Job Just Work?

Interesting stuff. "Fulfilling job" was one of the key factors in John
Helliwell's research on Subjective Well Being, aka Econ of Happiness..

-- Mahashunyam // 6:37 AM //



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