The Word Has Changed (Exponent Podcast #5)

(32 min) Before, the monopoly was in production, but now it is in ranking a huge supply.

Need a word for Power through Network Effects, even though there are alternatives

People would see and react if you were a monopoly that jacked up the price of oil, but if you are Google and Amazon, you could reduce someone’s ranking and only a minority will notice.

Antitrust was designed to deal with scarcity, but that makes current antitrust that deals with abundance worse.

(57 min) What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  If Silicon Valley wants net neutrality, they should be open to regulation too.

 

This episode surprised us; through a discussion of who is at fault in the latest series of new vs old-world spats, we realized that not only has the Internet fundamentally changed winners-and-losers, but also the very nature of economic competition and the type of regulation that is required.

Topics & Links

  • Mathew Ingram: Giants Behaving Badly – GigaOm

Google v MetaFilter

  • Matt Haughey: On the Future of MetaFilter – Medium

Journalism v Facebook

  • Mike Hudack: A Rant About the State of Media – Facebook
  • Ben Thompson: Newspapers are Dead; Long Live Journalism – Stratechery

Amazon v Publishers

  • Ben Thompson: Publishers’ Deal With the Devil – Stratechery
  • George Packer: Cheap Words – New Yorker

Antitrust, Network Effects, and the Age of Abundance

Do Tech Companies Have a Responsibility to Society?

On how the Internet has fundamentally changed the world, and how government regulation is hopelessly behind


Technology and Politics (Exponent Podcast)

In 2014, Ben and James were talking about the system being “rigged”, anticipating political developments slightly more than 1 year later.

 

Are the recent debates on net neutrality, the protests of Google buses, even SOPA a sign of things to come? Building on Ben’s article The Net Neutrality Wake-up Call Ben and James discuss the intersection of technology and politics.

  • Why do people in technology tend to dislike politics?
  • Is net neutrality really that important and understanding open loop unbundling
  • The tech industry and creative destruction: is it good for society when companies go out of business?
  • The impact of money on politics
  • Why tech and politics are on a collision course
  • What we can do to effect change on an individual basis

Links:

Exponent: Episode 001 – THE GARBAGE TRUCK SONG

In this, the first episode of the Exponent podcast, we talk about our background, Microsoft and disruption, and the meaning of culture. We also explore our goals for this podcast, and just a bit about Taiwanese garbage trucks.

Show Notes:

  • If Steve Ballmer Ran Apple link
  • The Halo Effect:…and Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers link
  • Skating Towards the Goal link
  • Bill Gates’ Steve Jobs Moment link
  • Friction link
  • Note: The Internet Explorer rendering engine is called Trident, not Triton

Comment:

  • Companies get disrupted when they focus on maximizing profit and less on building the best product.
  • Steve Balmer was a sucessful CEO from the standpoint of maximizing shareholder value for a ~10 year period.
  • But what about in the long run: 30 or 50 or 100 years
  • What is the purpose of corporations?
  • Should companies milk their core business over a lifecycle and not try to maintain themselves after that.
  • Would it be better for Microsoft to generate billions for shareholders and have them reinvest in a bunch of startups.

exponent podcast

Exponent is a podcast about tech and society hosted by Ben Thompson and James Allworth

Ben Thompson is the author and founder of Stratechery, a blog about the business and strategy of technology. You can follow him on Twitter @benthompson.

James Allworth is the co-author with Clay Christensen of How Will You Measure Your Life and a writer for the Harvard Business Review. You can follow him on Twitter @jamesallworth.

Demagoguery and Democracy

When you think of the word “demagogue,” what comes to mind? Probably someone like Hitler or another bombastic leader, right? Patricia Roberts-Miller is a rhetoric scholar and has spent years tracing the term and its uses. She joins us this week to explain a new way of thinking about demagoguery and how that view relates to democracy. She also explains what she’s learned from what she describes as years of “crawling around the Internet with extremists.”

Patricia is a Professor of Rhetoric and Writing and Director of the University Writing Center at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of two new books on demagoguery. Demagoguery and Democracy (The Experiment, 2017) is a short book in the style of On Tyranny that covers the basics of her argument in about 100 small ages. Rhetoric and Demagoguery is a longer, more academic book for those looking for more on the rhetorical roots of demagoguery and its relationship to democratic deliberation.


Democracy Works is created by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State and recorded at WPSU Penn State, central Pennsylvania’s NPR station.

Radio Lab: Tit for Tat

In the early 60s, Robert Axelrod was a math major messing around with refrigerator-sized computers. Then a dramatic global crisis made him wonder about the space between a rock and a hard place, and whether being good may be a good strategy. With help from Andrew Zolli and Steve Strogatz, we tackle the prisoner’s dilemma, a classic thought experiment, and learn about a simple strategy to navigate the waters of cooperation and betrayal. Then Axelrod, along with Stanley Weintraub, takes us back to the trenches of World War I, to the winter of 1914, and an unlikely Christmas party along the Western Front.