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Friday, December 20, 2002

Ad Hominem

A new weblog by Chris Locke, aka Rageboy, at Corante [Scripting News]  called "Ad Hominem: the sociology of IQ"

Just in time, Im a chapter away from finishing Gonzo Marketing.

Only it's pretty real here, too. I saw you flip me off in your blog. Hope you saw my reply. This is just awful isn't it? We were going to achieve World Peace through weblogging, but now it turns out we're human -- as David Weinberger once remarked, the best kept secret of the corporate world.

                Hey Chris, right back at you.

4:23:27 PM    comment []

Collaboration Made Simple

Peter Merholz points out a key lesson from the Supernova panel on collaboration: Simplicity.

This made me consider which collaborative digital tools seem to work? What gets people to coordinate, to work together to a common goal? And my answer: dumb simple ones. Email. Instant messaging. Simple bulletin boards like bugzilla. Voice telephone calls. Weblogs. And, when stepping out of the world of business, SMS...

Utility and agency is being pushed to the endpoints, where, with little explicit coordination, people use a suite of simple tools to get things done. One of the things that this discussion made abundantly clear is that the solution to enable collaboration is not really a technical one (much beyond the simple tools). It's a management one.  

Couldn't agree more.  Simple rules and simple systems yield complex results.

11:23:28 AM    comment []

Lack of Scarcity?

Eric Norlin is working on a thought piece that suggests that abundance on the Internet in its totality drives goods towards the public domain and makes it hard to make money.  This piece with which Doc agrees that Identity could deal with the "scarcity problem" as quoted in the previous post. 

Eric, in his 3rd point, comments in his draft: [this point needs work: specifically, *how* it is that a lack of scarcity drives something toward the public domain.] David Weinberger comments in his post: That seems intuitively right. But the question is: what on the Net is in such abundance that it drives goods thusly? It's not the abundance of goods but the abundance of access to goods: you don't need a lot of capital to create and/or distribute digital stuff. (BTW, in such an environment, what is the remaining virtue of capitalism?)

I am a believer in Says Law, back from your Econ 101 classes, in which the market flocks to extreme abundance or scarcity.  Says Law provides a natural equilibrium for all markets.  If something is abundant and cheap, it is consumed until it is in equilibrium or even tips to scarcity.  But let me try to help Eric with his draft. 

The Internet in totality has three significant emergent properties:

  1. Low transaction costs: this accelerates Says Law
  2. Inherent optionality: The Net is the most option rich medium, primarily because of its openness (free options create more free options).  Every layer in the OSI networking model creates options for use by the above layers.  As David Reed says in That Sneaky Exponential, "The value of potential connectivity is the value of the set of optional transactions that are afforded by the system or network."  When assets have economies of scope properties (high optionality) in a low transaction cost environment it further accelerates Says Law.
  3. Commoditization: All goods trend towards commoditization. On the Net, the scale and span of the network and diversity of interests allow otherwise fragmented markets to be pooled, further accelerating the process of commoditization.  All commodities prices also trend toward zero, as markets become more efficient in how they commonly define goods and contracts as well as develop mechanisms to transact them.
  4. Rapid Obsolecense: The openness of the Net fosters innovation.  That, combined with the above, results in shorter lifecyles and rapid depreciation.

For information goods, including software, the above implies a turbulent search for equilibrium that eventually tips to the public domain.  For infrastructure, the above implies a volatile physical commodity market in backwardation (future prices are lower than spot prices).

9:53:16 AM    comment []

Sovereign Identity

The Net itself isn't a force. It's a place that exerts a variety of forces, just as a planet exerts gravity and a magnetic field. The conditions it causes aren't about lack of anything (Eric talks about scarcity). They're about the opposite of scarcity: abundance. The Net is a place where information can be duplicated and communicated to the frontiers of infinity. Now we need to find ways of dealing with that.

I submit that creating sovereign identity services that reside with the individual is a necessary first step to dealing with the "scarcity problem" the Net creates for our default economics.  [The Doc Searls Weblog]

8:47:08 AM    comment []

The End is Nigh

The Bush Administration proposes requiring ISP MonitoringThe Bush administration is planning to propose requiring Internet service providers to help build a centralized system to enable broad monitoring of the Internet and, potentially, surveillance of its users. [Mercury News]

Guess ISPs will be investing in packet inspection afterall, might make the QoS discussion moot.

12:06:32 AM    comment []

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