CategoryQuoted

The Platform Revolution and the Shape of Change

To understand the powerful forces that are being unleashed by the explosion of platform businesses, it helps to think about how value has long been created and transferred in most markets. The traditional system employed by most businesses is one we describe as a pipeline. By contrast with a platform, a pipeline is a business that employs a step-by-step arrangement for creating and transferring value, with producers at one end and consumers at the other. A firm first designs a product or service. Then the product is manufactured and offered for sale, or a system is put in place to deliver the...

Diamandis & Kotler on Exponential Progress

Over the past 150,000 years, Homo sapiens evolved in a world that was “local and linear,” but today’s environment is “global and exponential.” In our ancestor’s local environment, most everything that happened in their day happened within a day’s walk. In their linear environment, change was excruciatingly slow— life from generation to the next was effectively the same— and what change did arrive always followed a linear progression. To give you a sense of the difference, if I take thirty linear steps (calling one step a meter) from the front door of my Santa Monica home, I end up thirty...

Kevin Kelly on the Technium

We created the technium, so we tend to assign ourselves exclusive influence over it. But we have been slow to learn that systems—all systems—generate their own momentum. Because the technium is an outgrowth of the human mind, it is also an outgrowth of life, and by extension it is also an outgrowth of the physical and chemical self-organization that first led to life. The technium shares a deep common root not only with the human mind, but with ancient life and other self-organized systems as well. And just as a mind must obey not only the principles guiding cognition but also the laws...

Antifragile

Hydra, in Greek mythology, is a serpent-like creature that dwells in the lake of Lerna, near Argos, and has numerous heads. Each time one is cut off, two grow back. So harm is what it likes. Hydra represents antifragility.   The sword of Damocles represents the side effect of power and success: you cannot rise and rule without facing this continuous danger—someone out there will be actively working to topple you. And like the sword, the danger will be silent, inexorable, and discontinuous. It will fall abruptly after long periods of quiet, perhaps at the very moment one has gotten used...

Blockchain Revolution

  Every ten minutes, like the heartbeat of the bitcoin network, all the transactions conducted are verified, cleared, and stored in a block which is linked to the preceding block, thereby creating a chain. Each block must refer to the preceding block to be valid. This structure permanently time-stamps and stores exchanges of value, preventing anyone from altering the ledger. If you wanted to steal a bitcoin, you’d have to rewrite the coin’s entire history on the blockchain in broad daylight. That’s practically impossible. So the blockchain is a distributed ledger representing a network...

Neil Postman on the Fear of Writing

You will find in Plato’s Phaedrus a story about Thamus, the king of a great city of Upper Egypt. For people such as ourselves, who are inclined (in Thoreau’s phrase) to be tools of our tools, few legends are more instructive than his. The story, as Socrates tells it to his friend Phaedrus, unfolds in the following way: Thamus once entertained the god Theuth, who was the inventor of many things, including number, calculation, geometry, astronomy, and writing. Theuth exhibited his inventions to King Thamus, claiming that they should be made widely known and available to Egyptians...

Douglas Rushkoff on “Likes”

In fact, the digital landscape so effectively monopolizes economic activity that most people have almost nothing left to be extracted. That’s why in order to maintain some semblance of growth, Internet companies had to find a way to monetize something other than cash from its users. Something measurable, countable, and attractive enough to shareholders to justify their real cash investment in the companies’ stock.   That’s right: “likes.”   Social media originally appeared to be an alternative to the marketplace ethos of the dot-com era. After the dot-com boom and bust...

Douglas Rushkoff on Nonverbal Communication

When the social now is relegated to the multitasking digital environment, we may expect the results we have been witnessing: teen suicides, depression, higher stress, and a greater sense of disconnection. It’s not because digital technology is inherently depressing, but, again, it’s because we are living multiple roles simultaneously, without the time and cues we normally get to move from one to the other.   In the real world, 94 percent of our communication occurs nonverbally. Our gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, and even the size of our irises at any given moment tell the...

Steven Johnson on Digital Serendipity

No medium in history has ever offered such unlikely trails of connection and chance in such an intuitive and accessible form. Yet in recent years, a puzzling meme has emerged on op-ed pages with a strange insistence: the rise of the Web, its proponents argue, has led to a decline in serendipitous discovery. Consider this representative elegy to the ‘endangered joy of serendipity,’ authored by a journalism professor named William McKeen:   ‘Think about the library. Do people browse anymore? We have become such a directed people. We can target what we want, thanks to the...

Matt Ridley: Does Science Drive Innovation?

Science is the daughter of technology   Politicians believe that innovation can be turned on and off like a tap. It starts, you see, with pure scientific insights, which then get translated into applied science, which in turn become useful technology. So what you must do, as a patriotic legislator, is ensure there is a ready supply of money to scientists on the top floor of their ivory towers, and lo and behold, technology will come clanking out of the pipe at the bottom of the tower.   This ‘linear model’ of how science drives innovation and prosperity goes right back to Francis...

Recent Posts