Category Archives: Economies

So do you want to be part of an org chart, or a an ant hill?

Robert Scoble compares Google to ant hill.

I thought about using a metaphor of a battle ship, like what worked with Gates, but, see, Google is more like an ant farm.

Google is more like an ant hill. One powered by 20% time which is how the ants find out where the food is. Heck, enough of Google’s ants have left to join Facebook, Twitter, and friendfeed, that it should be clear by now there’s some new tasty food bits that they aren’t yet munching on. Heck, friendfeed should be a major embarrassment to Google since that 14-person team has at least five Google superstars on it (the guy who came up with the idea for Google not to be evil started the company. That’s Paul Buchheit and he also ran the Gmail team. Also on the friendfeed team is the guy who ran the Google Talk team, the guy who ran Google Maps team, the designer for a whole bunch of Googley products, and the guy who ran the backend team on Gmail). Over at Facebook and Twitter I keep running into people who used to work at Google too.

And now Google’s own founders are admitting that they need to get into real time.

The ants are moving!

Interesting metaphor.  Causes one to ponder what it takes to manage an ant hill… Or, do is the proper term “steer”?  Is “managing” an antiquated concept in a knowledge economy?

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Filed under Economies, Run like a business

Is technology a solution to information asymmetry?

While the author of this article is focusing on the “privacy” issues arising from research (Reality mining) using data found with new technologies, I think he highlights a means to battle information asymmetries (IA).  IA leads to situations including moral hazards and I think act like a cancer on markets — and can lead to market failures.  So, can technologies that defeat IA be a good (thing)?

And, so far as privacy is concerned, perhaps we should remember the not too distant past:

“The new information tools symbolized by the Internet are radically changing the possibility of how we can organize large-scale human efforts,” said Thomas W. Malone, director of the M.I.T. Center for Collective Intelligence.

“For most of human history, people have lived in small tribes where everything they did was known by everyone they knew,” Dr. Malone said. “In some sense we’re becoming a global village. Privacy may turn out to have become an anomaly.”

Some links to follow:

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Filed under Economies, Market Failure

Recession – Market Failure?

a search using the terms “is recession market failure” referred someone to this site.

It is a question to study — and to discuss whether public values failure contributed to the market failure.

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Filed under Economies, Uncategorized

Market Failure – WallStreet to blame for Subprime Crisis?

That is what Alan Greenspan thinks:

But Mr. Greenspan, who was first appointed by President Ronald Reagan, placed far more blame on the Wall Street companies that bundled subprime mortgages into pools and sold them as mortgage-backed securities. Global demand for the securities was so high, he said, that Wall Street companies pressuredlenders to lower their standards and produce more “paper.”

“The evidence strongly suggests that without the excess demand from securitizers, subprime mortgage originations (undeniably the original source of the crisis) would have been far smaller and defaults accordingly far lower,” he said.

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Filed under Economies, Government, Market Failure, Policy

One Word – Information

That’s right.  Information is the “plastic” of this century.  Those that have information, control information, understand information and distribute information will be the masters of the 21st century economy.  An examination of the policy debates in Congress concerning intellectual property, the policy discussions at the FCC concerning spectrum and who controls it, the debate over electronic health records, and the debate over who controls information relating to your identity, credit, and personal history point to the conclusion that information, and all the goods derived from information (knowledge, innovation, wealth, etc), is the key to economic success.

Today, for instance, NYT carries a story about Google and Microsoft investing in health information companies.  A local Fox news station carries a story how a local city tried to ban cameras and recorders from capturing information discussed at meetings.  The federal government is trying to quash a lawsuit alleging the government has illegally siphoned emails from the 4th largest Internet hub located in San Francisco.  The government won’t divulge any information about the activity as it is a ‘state secret’.

There is a good essay or two here.  We’ll re-visit this topic when time permits a more thoughtful repose.

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Filed under Economies, Government Information

Another 19th Century Model that needs to be reformed

Is the Intellectual Property system (patents, copyrights, etc). The world has moved from an era of individual inventors (see Thomas Hughes: American Genesis) to one which creates by cooperation across cultures, across national boundaries and across coporate boundaries. Robert Scoble interviews IBM’s IP attorney — and he emphasizes this point.

If we don’t adjust how we innovate and how we license those innovations, our economy will follow that of England’s post-industrial slide from world domination to a former economic power.

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Filed under Economies, Innovation, Uncategorized

19th century business model, 21st century needs

PEW Foundation has a new study on state investment strategies regarding innovation.

Investing billions of dollars in everything from nanotechnology to health care and agricultural science R&D funds are being used by states as diverse as New York, Minnesota, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Georgia and Arizona. California alone has committed $3 billion to a 10-year investment in stem-cell research.

One of the findings is that we have seen a rise in average investments from a few million to more than a hundred million a year in such projects (Biotech, stem cell, telecom, etc). Another interesting factoroid, 52 of 57 major telecom initiatives were located outside the United States.  Georgia’s own Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technologies has been demoted to a policy center.  No significant state monies have been invested in telecommunications since 2001, although a few million are in play to incentivize communities to build wireless networks.

States can do more than just invest, they can also make sure to use research produced by state dollars within state projects. Example:

A Georgia company, Lifespan Technologies, developed at Georgia Tech in 1993 commercializing technology designed to monitor bridges. That company has succeeded in marketing its product in many places, but only recently, and after some political intervention, were they able to get a pilot project here in Georgia. Some 14 years after their start!

Another firm, ReachMd Consult, grew out of technology developed at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Despite piloting in 5 Georgia rural hospitals, there has been no action by the state to roll this technology out. However, New York is actively promoting this system as a means of managing potential brain damage from stroke.

These are just two examples. I am sure there are more. State procurement laws make it easier for more established companies to do business with the state. State budget cycles add 1-2 years to the time an idea achieves status as “doable” and funding is arranged via the legislative process.  In a state where attention is focused on insuring that the state taxpayer gets the proper return on their investment, we should make it easier for intellectual property developed here to start and flourish here.

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Filed under Economies, Government, Innovation, Uncategorized