237 results back to index

pages: 386 words: 116,233

The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by Mj Demarco

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, bounce rate, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, commoditize, dark matter, delayed gratification, demand response, Donald Trump, fear of failure, financial independence, fixed income, housing crisis, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, Lao Tzu, Mark Zuckerberg, passive income, passive investing, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, wealth creators, white picket fence, World Values Survey, zero day

They have no differentiation or uniqueness, and they sink into a crowded abyss of me-too and make their owners crazy once the illusion of “be your own boss” fades. Businesses founded on false premises will rocket to the bin of commoditization and force you to do the inevitable: To play checkers. What is commoditization? Commoditization is a product or service that appears homogeneous among providers. For example, a service that has been heavily commoditized is air travel. Most people aren't loyal to any particular airline; they're loyal to the company with the best price. The product becomes commoditized. Another example is gas. I get gas at any of seven different gas stations because the product is commoditized. People tend to make buying decisions for commoditized goods and services based on one metric: price. If you don't, it's because the business has done a good job differentiating its product from the alternatives.

Did the market need a new limousine company? Was there intent to deliver a superior product that stands above the competition? Nope. The intent was selfish: I want to own a limo company so I'm going to start one. This creates excess supply and weak demand-too many limos running around and not enough customers. When supply exceeds demand, prices must drop; suddenly, the product becomes commoditized. Your total disregard toward market needs leads down the road to commoditization, where you must sell your soul to the buyer who wants the cheapest price. Where does this insanity start? People start businesses they have no business starting. People start businesses “doing what they love” or “doing what they know.” A gentleman who owns a carpet-cleaning business posted a similar story at the Fastlane Forum. He wrote: The problem is that although I provide incredible value for what I do, it is based on something that people don't want to buy.

My closest competitor was known never to answer their email. This gave me an advantage. If you are going to take your eye off the road and examine your competitors, expose their weaknesses. Exploited weakness is where brands are built: Differentiation is a defense to commoditization. What are they doing wrong? What inefficiency is there? Within the gray area of unsatisfied customers lies differentiation. The only alternative to boorish me-too goods and services is differentiation, and that is accomplished by innovation and analyzing your competitor's weaknesses. Force innovation. Chapter Summary: Fastlane Distinctions Commoditization occurs when you get into business based on a false premise-“I want to own a business” or “I know how to do this, so I'll start a business doing it.” If you are too busy copying or watching your competition, you're not innovating.

pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

AltaVista, barriers to entry,, commoditize, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

Without proprietary advantages in hardware or software, you're going to have to take the commodity price, which barely covers the cost of cheap factories in Guadalajara, not your cushy offices in Silicon Valley. "But Joel!" Jared says. "Sun is trying to commoditize the operating system, like Transmeta, not the hardware." Maybe, but the fact that Java bytecode also commoditizes the hardware is some pretty significant collateral damage to sustain. An important thing you notice from all these examples is that it's easy for software to commoditize hardware (you just write a little hardware abstraction layer, like Windows NT's HAL, which is a tiny piece of code), but it's incredibly hard for hardware to commoditize software. Software is not interchangeable, as the StarOffice marketing team is learning. Even when the price is zero, the cost of switching from Microsoft Office is non-zero.

The lowest theoretically sustainable price would be the "commodity price"—the price that arises when you have a bunch of competitors offering indistinguishable goods. So: Smart companies try to commoditize their products' complements. If you can do this, demand for your product will increase and you will be able to charge more and make more. When IBM designed the PC architecture, they used off-the-shelf parts instead of custom parts, and they carefully documented the interfaces between the parts in the (revolutionary) IBM-PC Technical Reference Manual. Why? So that other manufacturers could join the party. As long as you match the interface, you can be used in PCs. IBM's goal was to commoditize the add-in market, which is a complement of the PC market, and they did this quite successfully. Within a short time, scrillions of companies sprung up offering memory cards, hard drives, graphics cards, printers, etc.

The goal here is to make the video chip a commodity to lower its price, so that more games are sold, which is where the real profits occur. And why don't the video chip vendors of the world try to commoditize the games somehow? That's a lot harder. If the game Halo is selling like crazy, it doesn't really have any substitutes. You're not going to go to the movie theater to see Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and decide instead that you would be satisfied with a Woody Allen movie. They may both be great movies, but they're not perfect substitutes. Now, who would you rather be, a game publisher or a video chip vendor? __________ 3. Dean Takahashi, Opening the Xbox: Inside Microsoft's Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution (Prima Lifestyles, 2002). Commoditize your complements. Understanding this strategy actually goes a long, long way in explaining why many commercial companies are making big contributions to open source.

pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, young professional

The evolution of professional work Many practitioners and commentators are already thinking beyond traditional professional practices when they speak today of the ‘commoditization’ or ‘commodification’ of professional work. The terminology here is not precise, but the broad idea is clear enough—that routine professional work in most disciplines is being reduced to sets of standard practices, so that tasks that formerly required human experts can now be conducted by less knowledgeable, even lay, people with the support of appropriate processes and systems. In many discussions about commoditization, this phenomenon is seen as threatening, especially to those professionals who charge by the hour (because activity that used to yield considerable fees may now no longer demand large portions of time, nor indeed be the sole territory of traditional experts). Commoditization is also sometimes regarded as distasteful, as diminishing the worth of a service that can or has been reduced to routine work.

Commoditization is also sometimes regarded as distasteful, as diminishing the worth of a service that can or has been reduced to routine work. It follows, if some professional tasks can be commoditized, then many traditional providers, especially the sceptics and the threatened, downplay the significance of these activities, often dismissing them as no longer worthy of their attention. And yet dismissing commoditized work in this way ignores its value—that, from the perspective of the recipient, client, or customer, it is often a good thing, bringing lower costs, greater accessibility, and higher and more consistent quality of service. The term ‘commoditization’ has become rather overused in the literature. Its negative overtones and variety of meanings render it less useful than once it might have been. Some new terminology and, more importantly, some new thinking would be helpful here.

It depicts four main stages in the evolution and delivery of professional work: craft; standardization; systemization; and externalization (this last category is itself subdivided into three).7 In the broadest of terms, our claim is that market forces, technological advances, and human ingenuity are combining to drive professional work from left to right on our model, away from being provided as a form of craft by human experts, through various stages of development that will result, in due course, in much practical expertise being available, in a variety of ways, on an online basis. We regard this movement from left to right on our path as capturing and characterizing a fundamental transformation across the professions. In the parlance we find unhelpful, this movement away from craft does indeed represent the ‘commoditization’ of professional work, but it can be seen at a glance that this is not a single bound from traditional to commoditized. Instead, it is a more complex transition. Figure 5.1. The evolution of professional work Like all models, this evolutionary path is, of course, a simplification of reality. We recognize, for example, that some of the categories overlap with one another; that not all professional work will evolve neatly and linearly through each stage; that some work or parts of work may never evolve beyond one particular stage; and that some work may not evolve from an early stage but may spring to life at a later stage.

pages: 285 words: 86,853

What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave

In 2014, Google exceeded the market capitalization of ExxonMobil, leaving it second only to Apple among the most valuable companies in the world.16 The typical Google advertisement nets the company some tiny fraction of a penny to serve up to a customer, but over the volume of the tens of billions of ads it serves each day, those fractions add up to a kind of minimal transaction cost for using the Internet, collected by its most powerful gatekeeper.17 The functionality of AdSense is in fact a kind of HFT arbitrage in its own right: every time a user navigates to a site serving advertisements via Google’s network, a rapid auction takes place for the marketers with the highest bids to serve their ads. These transactions commoditize the long trail of user data each of us leaves behind online—the detailed consumer profiles about us informed by our purchase history, demographics, and many other factors—so that advertisers can identify target markets based on user “interests” as well as the contextual space of the host website. But AdSense is also a form of temporal arbitrage, commoditizing time just as effectively as HFT systems milking profits out of a few milliseconds of lag. Google has built a tremendous business out of the immediacy of AdSense, out of commoditizing the contemporary, the moment right now when a potential customer is literally hovering at the threshold. Internet ads, like all advertisements, are a form of cultural latency or temporal use tax, placing minor drag on the fluid market of attention.

“Netflix Gambles on Big Data to Become the HBO of Streaming.” WIRED, November 29, 2012. “Behind Apple’s Siri Lies Nuance’s Speech Recognition.” Forbes. Accessed May 28, 2014. Belsky, Scott. “The Interface Layer: Where Design Commoditizes Tech.” Medium, May 30, 2014. Bendeich, Mark. “Foxconn Says Underage Workers Used in China Plant.” Reuters, October 17, 2012. Berlin, Brent, and Paul Kay. Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. Stanford, Calif.: Center for the Study of Language and Information, 1999.

I remember a few angry-keyboard-mashing examples, like the time I was told to identify whether jewelry was gold or silver based on a single black-and-white picture. Impossible to tell! Or being asked if a person’s illegible scribbling looks more like “X” or “Y.” Neither, it looks like “Z!”60 Mechanical Turk is another system of arbitrage operating in the implementation gap. In fact, it quantifies and commoditizes that gap, turning it into a series of micro-tasks and judgments: incremental moments of abstraction and concretization. The grinding series of identical tasks it farms out can then be integrated, like individual frames in a full-motion film, into an illusion of continuous computation. What makes Mechanical Turk unusual is the way it puts the human back end of computation on display as a commercial service, applying the logic of the interface economy to the zone of implementation itself.

pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

What’s more, young artists need to have the sense of history that García Márquez celebrated when he said, “I cannot imagine how anyone could even think of writing a novel without having at least a vague idea of the 10,000 years of literature that have gone before.” Cultural amnesia only leads to cultural death. If the only university students who receive state help are computer engineers, we as a culture will lose something. But Google, YouTube, and Facebook treat cultural objects as commodities—click bait. The scholar James Delong suggests that Google’s principal mission is to commoditize the world’s media: In most circumstances, the commoditizer’s goal is restrained by knowledge that enough money must be left in the system to support the creation of the complements. Google is in a different position. Its major complements already exist, and it need not worry in the short term about continuing the flow. For content, we have decades of music and movies that can be digitized and then distributed, with advertising attached [and data scraped for profiling].

Google and YouTube are ad-supported “free riders” driven by a permissionless philosophy. Facebook, with its libertarian financier’s roots, takes much of the same stance toward content and advertising, but there are signs that its CEO has real ethical questions about where the company is going. Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, embraces the libertarian creed but has not taken the “don’t ask permission” route, has instead opened a new front: a relentless push to lower prices and commoditize content (especially books), which presents a different danger. And then there is Apple, the dissenter from the libertarian creed. Both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have been real allies to the content community, and their stance against the surveillance-marketing model that is at the core of Google’s and Facebook’s businesses—i.e., their support of ad blockers—puts them in direct opposition to the dominant search and social platforms.

Perhaps Henry Jenkins is right: the neorealism that was so much a part of the American New Wave in the 1970s has drifted into TV. But TV has also spawned an age of reality shows in which Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump can overwhelm any cultural innovation that might exist. 8. In 1970 the Nobel Prize–winning economist George Akerlof published a paper that may help us understand the effect that the commoditization of media by Facebook, YouTube, and Google is having on our culture. The paper was called “The Market for ‘Lemons’: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.” Akerlof says that when you buy a used car you assume the worst—it’s a lemon—in your negotiation stance. Thus the seller of a really good used car always loses out. No one will pay for more than average quality. The typical consumer of ad-supported media in our broadband universe is like that used-car buyer: he or she assumes that content is of average quality, and this inevitably gives rise to what Chris Anderson, in his book Free: The Future of a Radical Price, claims is a business strategy essential to companies’ survival—giving things away.

pages: 178 words: 52,637

Quality Investing: Owning the Best Companies for the Long Term by Torkell T. Eide, Lawrence A. Cunningham, Patrick Hargreaves

air freight, Albert Einstein, backtesting, barriers to entry, buy and hold, cashless society, cloud computing, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, discounted cash flows, discovery of penicillin, endowment effect, global pandemic, haute couture, hindsight bias, low cost airline, mass affluent, Network effects, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, shareholder value, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management

Consumers seeking affordable but decent fashion or decorative items that are less standardized (like jeans or sofas) will be influenced by factors such as fit and quality. So long as price is within budget, it is less likely that strict scrutiny will be applied to price, even if a cheaper sofa or pair of pants may be found down the street. Such price slack offsets the usual vulnerabilities for low-price-by-name business models. The comparison between differentiated and commoditized products hints at a few conditions necessary for this achievement. Low-price-by-name offerings need to be both similar and different: IKEA furnishings must be fairly standardized but still distinctive. Playing off quality and differentiation lets companies create products that can be sold at attractive prices without giving customers the ability to establish whether it really is the best deal in town.

The model depends on continuous and rapid response to shifting demand, meaning understanding changing consumer preferences, having control of the supply chain, managing inventory effectively, and deftness in distribution. All this requires good designers, operation mavens, and synchronized information technology. Upstarts will struggle to do it all well. True, as technology and supply chain automation commoditizes, these business models may become more vulnerable. They nevertheless appear to have sustainable competitive advantages that protect against the vulnerabilities of the basic low-cost strategy. Low-cost squared A strategy of consistently low pricing is typically enabled by low unit costs. Some low-price businesses, however, achieve competitive advantages through several cost-saving small steps.

The economic fortunes of a company’s end markets ebb and flow, often in unpredictable ways. For a fortunate few, fluctuations are small enough that they barely register, but for many, vicissitudes are tidal. Significant cyclicality can mask problems as well as disrupt or even thwart value creation. Prudence dictates minimizing exposure to deeply cyclical industries, such as energy and mining, where many companies sell commoditized products. Such companies rarely command sustainable competitive advantages. However, cycles also recur among purveyors of branded and other differentiated products boasting competitive advantages. Even quality companies must battle this reality and investors are better off confronting the fact head on. Cyclicality complicates the operating environment, taking control of important levers of value creation like pricing and mix optimization, costs, and capital expenditure.

pages: 287 words: 80,180

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim, Renée A. Mauborgne

Asian financial crisis, borderless world, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, endogenous growth, haute couture, index fund, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, market fundamentalism, NetJets, Network effects, RAND corporation, Skype, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

My Ocean Is Turning Red “HELP! MY OCEAN IS TURNING RED” captures the sentiment echoed so frequently by managers around the world. More and more people, whether managers of companies, heads of nonprofits, or leaders of government, find themselves up against an ocean of bloody competition and want to get out. Maybe your business is seeing its margins shrink. Maybe competition is getting more intense, driving commoditization of your offering and rising costs. Maybe you know you are going to announce that salary increases won’t be coming. That’s not a situation any one of us wants to face. And yet that’s a situation that so many do face. How can you address this challenge? The lessons, tools, and frameworks of Blue Ocean Strategy will help you to meet this challenge, whatever industry or economic sector you are in.

As trade barriers between nations and regions are dismantled and as information on products and prices becomes instantly and globally available, niche markets and havens for monopoly continue to disappear.9 While supply is on the rise as global competition intensifies, there is no clear evidence of an increase in demand relative to supply, and statistics even point to declining populations in many developed markets.10 The result has been accelerated commoditization of products and services, increasing price wars, and shrinking profit margins. Industrywide studies on major American brands confirm this trend.11 They reveal that for major product and service categories, brands are generally becoming more similar, and as they are becoming more similar, people increasingly select based on price.12 People no longer insist, as in the past, that their laundry detergent be Tide.

Historically, economists argued that absent competition, companies have no incentive to improve their product or service, but with competition, companies are pushed to up their game, lower their prices, and improve their products and services. At the level of the firm, however, competition is only good up to a point. When supply exceeds demand, as it does in an increasing array of industries, the intensity of competition tends to have deleterious effects on the profitable growth of organizations, as more and more firms fight to win a slice of a given pool of customers, triggering intense price pressure, razor-thin margins, commoditization of offerings, and slower growth. If companies continue to compete further to grab a bigger share of the existing pie without expanding it or creating a new one, such competitive actions are bound to produce negative economic consequences for firms. This is why blue ocean strategy argues that firms need to go beyond competing and the mere improvement of product or services in overcrowded industries and pursue value innovation to open up new market space and make the competition irrelevant.

pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

THE STRIP-MINING OF COMMUNITY The most important type of capital for purposes of this discussion is social capital. Social capital refers primarily to relationships and skills, the “services” that people once provided for themselves and each other in a gift economy, such as cooking, child care, health care, hospitality, entertainment, advice, and the growing of food, making of clothes, and building of houses. As recently as one or two generations ago, many of these functions were far less commoditized than they are today. When I was a child, most people I knew seldom ate at restaurants, and neighbors took care of each other’s children after school. Technology has been instrumental in bringing human relationships into the realm of “services,” just as it has brought deeper and more obscure pieces of the earth into the realm of goods. For example, the technology of the phonograph and radio helped turn music from something people made for themselves into something they paid for.

None of these demand the help of neighbors, relatives, or friends. We wish we were closer to our neighbors; we think of ourselves as friendly people who would gladly help them. But there is little to help them with. In our house-boxes, we are self-sufficient. Or rather, we are self-sufficient in relation to the people we know but dependent as never before on total strangers living thousands of miles away. The commoditization of social relationships leaves us with nothing to do together but to consume. Joint consumption does nothing to build community because it requires no gifts. I think the oft-lamented vacuity of most social gatherings arises from the inchoate knowledge, “I don’t need you.” I don’t need you to help me consume food, drink, drugs, or entertainment. Consumption calls upon no one’s gifts, calls forth none of anyone’s true being.

The first effective solution was war, a state that has been permanent since 1940. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, nuclear weapons and a shift in human consciousness have limited the solution of endless military escalation. War between the great powers is no longer possible. Other solutions—globalization, technology-enabled development of new goods and services to replace human functions never before commoditized, technology-enabled plunder of natural resources once off limits, and finally financial autocannibalism—have similarly run their course. Unless there are realms of wealth I have not considered, and new depths of poverty, misery, and alienation to which we might plunge, the inevitable cannot be delayed much longer. The credit bubble that is blamed as the source of our current economic woes was not a cause of them at all, but only a symptom.

pages: 221 words: 64,080

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

AltaVista, Atul Gawande, business cycle, commoditize, creative destruction, hedonic treadmill, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, young professional

The critical question comes down to whether in a given situation there is value in diversity, in the emergence of multiple divergent outcomes. When it comes to track-and-field, we may want our runners moving in the same direction, but when it comes to medical care or higher education, we may not. In business, of course, differentiation is general y considered a firm’s primary defense against commoditization. And in theory, the more fierce the competition, the stronger the firm’s commitment to differentiation should be. But in fact, I have argued that the opposite is often true: The more diligently firms compete with each other, the less differentiated they can become, at least in the eyes of consumers. Moreover, the irony is this: To a large extent, the herdlike behaviors I have described in this chapter emanate from what most managers would regard as best practice wisdoms.

Competitors race to match (imitate) the augmentation. Frequent-flier programs become standard across the industry. The entire category is back to where it started, with the exception that the ante has been raised—meaning it has become more costly for firms to compete in the category. Viewed from this perspective, it could be argued that product augmentation is but an expensive route to commoditization—the more generous the standard value proposition becomes within the category, the easier it becomes for consumers to be indifferent to which competitive alternative they choose. Once consumers realize that al airlines offer frequent-flier programs, that al detergents offer enhanced stain fighting, that al companies offer good warranties, they have less reason to be picky in their selections.

However, you are also seeing how it is possible to micro-segment a market to the point of common senselessness. Would you prefer a low-calorie premium dark lager, or a dark premium light ale? A mid-distance running shoe, or a short-distance low-impact cross-trainer? This is the stage at which the category starts to conjure the worst of two worlds—a growing profusion of alternatives, a shrinking proportion of which are meaningful. Product augmentation has become, once again, an expensive route to commoditization. What is perhaps most disheartening about this phenomenon is how skil ful businesses have become at sustaining it. In recent years, this art— the art of relentless, incremental augmentation, whether by addition or by multiplication—has become an essential product marketing competency; it has become what modern marketers do. I recently conducted some field research on the bottled water industry and spent a good deal of time listening to industry executives explain what made their water different from that of their competitors.

pages: 772 words: 203,182

What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler

8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

And some fifty countries mandate that employers pay wage premiums for evening and night work, but America is not among them.16 These statistics validate the disposable labor sobriquet associated with the commoditization of American employees during the Reagan decline. The investment and productivity performance of the family capitalism countries indicate that worksite standards don’t inhibit superior global competitiveness and productivity growth. Indeed, evidence indicates that worksite standards are analogous to high minimum wages in encouraging employers to value employees rather than commoditize them, which incentivizes upskilling and thus productivity growth by firms. Australian Brian Howe, deputy prime minister in the Paul Keating government during the 1990s, chaired a 2012 investigation of jobsite practices in that country.

As an example, one Apple executive mendaciously justified his Chinese labor force this way: “The US has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”12 Well, it’s theoretically possible that Apple is really responding to the superior training of Chinese workers, rather than their $145 per month salaries, but I seriously doubt it. In contrast, the family capitalism countries were proactive, prospering despite the tumult of global integration. They rejected trade controls, the commoditization of workers, and market fundamentalism in favor of canny mechanisms to maximize productivity and family income growth. Unhampered by ideology and buttressed with centuries of vigorous economic debate between the likes of Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek, they focused on meeting election mandates demanding family prosperity. It wasn’t that difficult to accomplish, because these rich democracies came armed to the existential struggle with better tools than America.

In Germany during 2012, this system produced wage gains averaging about half a point above the consumer price index, ranging from a nominal 3.3 percent in the highly productive capital goods industry to only 2 percent in the banking and insurance sectors. Wage Determination Features Compromise—Not Conflict The wage-setting mechanisms that have evolved in the family capitalism countries are rooted in American corporate practices, but the job site orientation is entirely different. Rather than wage compression featuring commoditized and disposable employees, these high-performing economies place a premium on job site productivity and rewarding John Calvin’s work ethic. The enterprise cultures abroad are profoundly different, with employees viewed as assets, not liabilities. That seminal difference can best be grasped by examining the potential wage crisis confronting Germany in 2011. Workers from lower-wage Eastern Europe would be permitted unfettered access to the booming jobs market in Germany after May 1, 2011 under EU rules.

pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

"side hustle", Airbnb, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk,, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

The End of Jobs Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9–5 Taylor Pearson Contents Copyright Download the Bonuses Free! Introduction Section 1: Have We Reached The End of Jobs? 1. Lessons on Globalization from an Evil Genius 2. The Acceleration of Technology 3. The Commoditization of Credentialism Section 2: Why Are We at the End of Jobs? 4. The Entrepreneurial Economy (2000ish–???) Section 3: Entrepreneurship Is Safer than Ever 5. Thriving in Extremistan Section 4: The Long Tail 6. The Democratization of the Tools of Production 7. The Democratization of Distribution 8. New Markets Are Created Every Day 9. The Stair Step Method 10. The Return of Apprenticeships Section 5: Entrepreneurship Is More Profitable than Ever 11. More Money 12. More Freedom 13.

The notion of software eating the world is the latest in a long line of technological innovations we’ve seen since the start of the Industrial Revolution. The story of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries and the Knowledge Revolution in the 20th is the proliferation of technology and the growth that accompanied it. Both the growth in technology and globalization are continuing at an accelerating rate. Many people are responding by further investing in credentials. Let’s see how that’s working out. 3 The Commoditization of Credentialism Why MBAs and JDs Can’t Get Jobs “It’s Never Been Worse to Be Information Smart Than It Is Today.” Gary Vaynerchuk at SXSW, 2014 Angie graduated from law school in 2013. It wasn’t a so-called top tier law school, but it was well-respected. I was sitting with her in a hamburger joint while she related to me that she spent a year waiting tables before she got enough connections to finally “get lucky” and land a job at a law firm.

More significantly, the value of the MBA over the course of a career has stalled.22 While everyone can relate and recognize that there’s a shortage of jobs for highly-credentialed individuals, no one seems to have a clear answer for why that is. The glut of lawyers in the U.S. may be the most obvious example, but even in the traditional STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which were long considered lock-ins for employment, people with related degrees are struggling harder to find jobs than they were a decade ago. Jobs in almost all industries are becoming increasingly commoditized. It makes sense to us that low-skilled jobs with lower barriers to entry are being affected by globalization and technology, but why is it affecting the more highly-credentialed ones? The Cynefin Framework and Your Career The Cynefin framework23 (pronounced Kih-neh-vihn) was developed by Dave Snowden after studying the management structure at IBM. The framework became popular, and was featured in publications including the Harvard Business Review.24 It divides work and management up in ways that are more effective given the changing nature of work.

pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, deskilling,, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

While we’ve seen the general phenomenon before, the way that work changes is different every time, and this time the changes are greater than ever. The skills that will prove most valuable are no longer the technical, classroom-taught, left-brain skills that economic advances have demanded from workers over the past 300 years. Those skills will remain vitally important, but important isn’t the same as valuable; they are becoming commoditized and thus a diminishing source of competitive advantage. The new high-value skills are instead part of our deepest nature, the abilities that literally define us as humans: sensing the thoughts and feelings of others, working productively in groups, building relationships, solving problems together, expressing ourselves with greater power than logic can ever achieve. These are fundamentally different types of skills than those the economy has valued most highly in the past.

As Boissy says, “There’s a hunger for it.” We’re not all in the health care industry, but we all face many of the same challenges. Competition is getting more intense as performance is measured more rigorously, and we’re being paid according to what we deliver. Technology is advancing and disrupting all around us, doing wonderful things but increasingly making our business, whatever it is, more commoditized, leaving us struggling to achieve and maintain some kind of competitive advantage. A friction-free economy—in which information costs, transaction costs, and switching costs are dropping rapidly to zero—is more efficient but also more merciless; in an always-on environment, stress and burnout are increasing. As technology takes over cognitive tasks, deep human connection becomes more economically valuable.

Yes, even your golf swing; sensors that attach to your clubs and send analytical data about your swing to your computer have been around for years and are improving all the time. As for some of the most important systems in our lives—computer systems—they’re increasingly being created by computers themselves. Obviously the world will need plenty of computer engineers as infotech proliferates, but, as we’ve seen before, the important issue isn’t the number of jobs but rather the number of high-value jobs. Computer coding is becoming commoditized, with schools adding classes for students as young as five. The skill is becoming analogous to writing—everyone in a modern economy must be able to do it at some basic level, but the world needs very few people who do it for a living. Instead, coding, or at least a knowledge of how it works, becomes a skill that everyone brings to their work in other fields. The larger point is that, as technology transforms our world in new ways, men’s innate tendency to systemize, which has served them well since humans’ emergence as a species, becomes ever less of an advantage for them in the economy.

pages: 692 words: 127,032

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, different worldview, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, global pandemic, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

It is a vast misunderstanding by a generation that has lost touch with—or perhaps never really knew—what education should do: open us up to wonder and the great meaning and aesthetic beauty of life. THE SHINING CITY UPON A HILL It is wonder that we lost in our move to a commoditized, national defense model of science funding, which revolved around dispelling fear. It was perhaps important and perhaps helpful, but it went too far, and by forgetting the real reasons we do science it was ultimately a colossal error. As Sanders says, “Science is no longer about science. It’s about marketing. It’s either ‘Gee whiz’ or ‘What is it going to do for me?’”11 The commoditization can be seen in how we oversell the practical benefits of science. The war on cancer, for example. We say, “We’re going to cure cancer in fifteen years,” and then when we don’t, that’s memorable. It’s less memorable but more helpful to talk about the basic research that led, eventually, to the discovery of monoclonal antibodies, which actually have application now in fighting cancer, among other things.

But those solutions are, yet again, taking the responsibility out of parents’ hands and putting it in the hands of science museums and other community resources or educational materials. They also ignore the plethora of science information that is freely available on the Internet. WHY SCIENCE DEBATES ARE IMPORTANT TO AMERICA The larger issue is that science is walled off from the general population, a subject left to experts, science museums, universities, and the odd science festival. It has become commoditized and the public is merely presented with the conclusions and not exposed to the process. And in its absence, other powers have rushed in to fill the vacuum in the public dialogue, making science into their whipping boy when its conclusions don’t support their ideological predilections. This is the problem science debates solve: By putting science in its rightful place as an ongoing part of the policy discussion of the nation, parents can become educated in the context in which they are used to taking in information—policy discussions that affect their lives.

The futuristic superconducting technologies Wilson pushed for helped keep the accelerator vital under the leadership of his successor, the physicist, Nobel laureate, and great science humanitarian Leon Lederman, and it remained the world’s most powerful until 2006, when the Large Hadron Collider opened at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva. TO AWAKEN, PERCHANCE TO WONDER As Wilson noted, science, like art, is a cultural expression that makes a nation worth defending. Like great art and great music, its true value lies in exploring the unknown. Today, the opposite argument, the commoditization of science, is virtually the only one heard. It has metastasized from the smaller-minded appeals of the cold war to all of human learning and higher education. Education and knowledge are no longer values of truth and beauty that make life worth living, they are means to the ends of greater pay and more consumption, which somehow are supposed to make life worth living. Legal and humanities scholar Stanley Fish wrote of this triumph of small-mindedness in 2010 in an eloquent criticism of Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education, a set of recommendations made by an independent panel to the British government.

pages: 459 words: 140,010

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger

1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Google Chrome, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Jony Ive, Loma Prieta earthquake, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

It was important in the spread of the personal-computer revolution, and now it powers the Internet. The market for post-PC devices is different from the market for personal computers. The personal computer started as a hobbyist product designed by tech enthusiasts for people like themselves. Commoditization began in just a few years, but the unique nature of the computer—a device whose purpose is left to the user to define—allowed it to resist commoditization for decades. In the post-PC era, even though the devices are still really computers they are designed around specific functions. So the forces of commoditization that had been held at bay are now rushing in. The mainstream market for these devices doesn’t want flexibility and moddability and choices to make once they’ve purchased a device. They want it all to be simple, clear, consistent, and attractive.

Retailing the Revolution Spreading the Word: The Magazines Word of Mouth: The Clubs and Shows Hand-Holding: The First Retailers The Big Players 7. Apple Jobs and Woz Starting Apple Magic Times Trouble in Paradise Shooting for the Moon 8. The Gate Comes Down The Luggable Computer The HP Way and the Xerox Worm IBM 9. The PC Industry Losing Their Religion Clones Consolidation Commoditization Cyberspace Apple Without Jobs 10. The Post-PC Era The Big Turnaround Getting Really Personal Into the Cloud Leaving the Stage Looking Back Copyright © 2014, The Pragmatic Bookshelf. Praise for All Editions of Fire in the Valley Things change over time, even when they don’t. When Fire in the Valley first came out in 1984, I was just discovering that these clunky little TVs with keyboards were better than Wite-Out, but the idea they might already have a history seemed a Warholian conceit.

Swaine and Freiberger capture the emotions and motivations at the core of this very special place with tenderness and finesse that endure to this day. → Andy Cunningham Founder and president, SeriesC Fire in the Valley presents the full story: from calculating machines and military computers through the heady days of garage start-ups, the rise of the clones, the initial forays into cyberspace, and on to consolidation, commoditization, and the heightened frenzy of an all-connected world of mobile devices and cloud services that we experience today. Its theme is best summed up by the authors themselves: time and again, crazy dreamers had run up against resistance from accepted wisdom and had prevailed to realize their dreams. Babbage and his Analytical Engine, Turing’s test, von Neumann’s computer, Shockley’s transistor, Noyce’s integrated circuit, Kildall’s operating system, Roberts’s microcomputer company, Moore’s law, Gates and software, Woz and hardware, Jobs and the first truly personal computer, Kapor and the spreadsheet, Berners-Lee and the Web, Andreessen and the web browser, and all of the lesser-known and unsung heroes are here.

The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise by Martin L. Abbott, Michael T. Fisher

always be closing, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, business climate, business continuity plan, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, database schema, discounted cash flows,, fault tolerance, finite state, friendly fire, hiring and firing, Infrastructure as a Service, inventory management, new economy, packet switching, performance metric, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software as a service, the scientific method, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, web application, Y2K

These negotiations in turn help drive down the cost of building (or implementing) the house. Each vendor is subject to a competitive bidding process, where price, quality, and reputation all come into play. Technology solutions, much like building materials, suffer the effects of commoditization over time. A good idea or implementation that becomes successful in an industry is bound to attract competitors. The competitors within the solution space initially compete on differences in functionality and service, but over time, these differences decrease as useful feature sets get adopted by all competitors. In an attempt to forestall the effects of commoditization through increased switching costs, providers of 301 302 C HAPTER 20 D ESIGNING FOR A NY TECHNOLOGY systems and software try to produce proprietary solutions or tools that interact specifically and exclusively with their systems.

Furthermore, your shareholders really expect you to focus on the things that really create competitive differentiation and therefore shareholder value. So only build things when you are really good at it and it makes a significant difference in your product, platform, or system. Use Commodity Hardware We often get a lot of pushback on this one, but it fits in well with the rest of the principles we’ve outlined. It is similar to our principle of using mature technologies. Hardware, especially servers, moves at a rapid pace toward commoditization characterized by the market buying predominately based on cost. If you can develop your architecture such that you can scale horizontally easily, you should be buying the cheapest hardware you can get your hands on, assuming that the cost of ownership of that hardware (including the cost of handling higher failure rates) is lower than higher end hardware. 203 204 C HAPTER 12 E XPLORING A RCHITECTURAL P RINCIPLES Scalability Principles In Depth Now that we’ve had an overview of our suggested principles, let’s dig deeper into the ones that we believe support scalability the most.

In an attempt to forestall the effects of commoditization through increased switching costs, providers of 301 302 C HAPTER 20 D ESIGNING FOR A NY TECHNOLOGY systems and software try to produce proprietary solutions or tools that interact specifically and exclusively with their systems. Avoiding getting trapped by extensive modification of any provider’s solution or adoption of tightly integrated provider tools allows you the flexibility of leveraging the effects of commoditization. As competitors within a solution space begin to converge on functionality and compete on price, you remain free to choose the lowest cost of ownership for any given solution. This flexibility results in capital outlay, which minimizes the impact to cash flow and lowers amortized costs, which positively impacts profits on a net income basis. The more your architecture allows you to bring in competing providers or partners, the lower your overall cost structure. Several times within your career, you are likely to find a provider of technology that is far superior in terms of features and functionality to other providers.

pages: 57 words: 11,522

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, commoditize, knowledge worker, Republic of Letters

In more sinister versions (such as the one in Pseudo-Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca), Procrustes owned two beds, one small, one large; he made short victims lie in the large bed, and the tall victims in the short one. Every aphorism here is about a Procrustean bed of sorts—we humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on the occasion, has explosive consequences. Further, we seem unaware of this backward fitting, much like tailors who take great pride in delivering the perfectly fitting suit—but do so by surgically altering the limbs of their customers. For instance, few realize that we are changing the brains of schoolchildren through medication in order to make them adjust to the curriculum, rather than the reverse.

– I find it inconsistent (and corrupt) to dislike big government while favoring big business—but (alas) not the reverse. – How often have you arrived one, three, or six hours late on a transatlantic flight as opposed to one, three, or six hours early? This explains why deficits tend to be larger, rarely smaller, than planned. * My great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s rule. THE LUDIC FALLACY AND DOMAIN DEPENDENCE* Sports are commoditized and, alas, prostituted randomness. – When you beat up someone physically, you get exercise and stress relief; when you assault him verbally on the Internet, you just harm yourself. Just as smooth surfaces, competitive sports, and specialized work fossilize mind and body, competitive academia fossilizes the soul. – They agree that chess training only improves chess skills but disagree that classroom training (almost) only improves classroom skills

pages: 406 words: 88,820

Television disrupted: the transition from network to networked TV by Shelly Palmer

barriers to entry, call centre, commoditize, disintermediation,, hypertext link, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, James Watt: steam engine, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, market design, Metcalfe’s law, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, yield management

And, more to our point, is there a way to make money (or at least get paid) for making the show? Much has been said about the disruptive nature of the democratization of production tools. Inexpensive digital cameras are ubiquitous. And, to be sure, daily advancements in desktop audio and video post-production software — coupled with the constant downward price pressure on personal computer solutions — have seriously commoditized production ability. But ... it has done absolutely nothing to commoditize production capability. The average American 25-year-old has watched more than 36,000 hours of television. Nielsen puts the number at about 4.5 hours each day. That qualifies almost any American television viewer as the undisputed expert in what they personally like to watch and how much attention they usually pay to production values (the quality of the elements in a show, including video, graphics, music, sonic quality, sets, lights, actors, costumes, number of cameras, etc.).

On the other hand, IPTV does offer an u inherent two-way system that allows for census- IPTV should be as based measurements and true transactional user different an experience from televi- experiences. These features are theoretically sion as television is from radio. desirable and may give a competitive advantage Copyright © 2006, Shelly Palmer. All rights reserved. 2-Television.Chap Two v3.qxd 3/20/06 7:34 AM Page 29 Value-added Services Enhance the Viewing Experience 29 to the companies that utilize IPTV distribution methodologies — or they could simply become commoditized or value-add feature sets that have no economic impact. It depends on how quickly IP-provisioned systems are deployed nationwide. When thinking about disruptive technologies, keep in mind that sometimes existing technologies can be modified or adapted to compete effectively. This is the very definition of an arms race. Existing digital cable systems outnumber IPTV systems by several orders of magnitude.

Network television shows can also enjoy a long and profitable “off-net” life.You will find episodes of “Star Trek,” “Seinfeld,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Spin City” or monster franchises like “CSI” or “Law & Order,” to name a few, in DVD box sets and broadcast syndication worldwide. Here, the problem is digital distribution. As the public Internet becomes more available and file sharing services become commoditized, there is little hope of maintaining the value proposition or sales structure of these back catalogs. Concepts Are Worthless — Packaging Is Priceless! Production and distribution are now fairly well democratized. But there is still a great deal of value in the old infrastructure. To test this theory, try to sell the “concept” of a music show to MTV, or a news show to CNN, or a kids’ show to NICK.

pages: 222 words: 50,318

The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream by Christopher B. Leinberger

addicted to oil, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, big-box store, centre right, commoditize, credit crunch, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, drive until you qualify, edge city, full employment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, RAND corporation, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Seaside, Florida, the built environment, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight

Stockbrokers want to trade only a defined class of stock, such as class A Intel stock or preferred AT&T stock. No one wants to trade undefined crude oil or special Intel stock; it is too risky and complicated. In other words, public markets trade only items that have been commoditized (made identical). So when Wall Street took on real estate in the form of REITs and CMBSs in the early 1990s, real estate had to commoditize what it built. The industry did this with what it knew how to build then: drivable sub-urban products. This commoditization resulted in what is referred to as the “nineteen standard real estate product types” that Wall Street knows, understands, and can be traded in large quantities.9 Any deviation by building a product that was “nonconforming,” a term of art on Wall Street, meant that it was not one of the nineteen and that you either did not get financing or, if you did, it was far more expensive.

Once a project is judged to be conforming, it can be traded like Monopoly cards, without the acquirer ever going out to look at what is being bought or sold. This is the reason why any suburban place in the country looks pretty much the same as any other. The nineteen standard product types ensure that once you have seen one neighborhood retail center or any other standard product type, you have seen them all. Although this “cookie cutter” style of development was a mark of early drivable sub-urbanism, the commoditization process solidified it into a single nationwide type. The phenomenon was best captured by Tom Wolfe in A Man in Full, when one of the characters is driving through the nameless suburbs of Atlanta and comments, “the only way you could tell you are leaving one community and entering another is when the franchise chains start repeating and T H E S TA N DA R D R E A L E S TAT E P R O D U C T T Y P E S | 5 3 FIGURE 3.1.

pages: 554 words: 149,489

The Content Trap: A Strategist's Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Anand

Airbnb, Benjamin Mako Hill, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Minecraft, multi-sided market, Network effects, post-work, price discrimination, publish or perish, QR code, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, selection bias, self-driving car, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social web, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, two-sided market, ubercab, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

One concern is that although news sources and aggregators are complements generally, any single news source is undifferentiated and therefore expendable—and this possibility is greater as entirely online news outlets, blogs, and tweets become viable sources for news. But the data suggests otherwise: Surprisingly, the top sources of news continue to command disproportionate numbers of readers and links on aggregators. In early 2014 we analyzed the rankings of sources on Google News, examining more than 20,000 randomly selected stories over a month. At first glance, the threat of commoditization appeared real: More than 2,000 news sources were ranked as the top source for some story. If news was undifferentiated—so that each source was as likely as any other to be ranked at the top—then the predicted top-rank market share for any single news source would be very small: 1/2,000, or 0.05 percent, to be precise. Adding the market shares of the top thirty outlets in that world and one would predict they’d get a meager 1.5 percent.

It seeks out news outlets, striking paid deals for exclusive content, showcasing them in internal conferences, and sometimes offering them educational programs on managing their own digital transition. Let’s see how book publishing has fared. The Kindle’s version of 99-cent songs was $9.99 books—a 40 percent discount from the hardcover retail price. It seemed that publishers were destined to follow the same path as recording studios, as Amazon appeared intent on commoditizing the book market to prop up hardware sales. To fight the trend, five major publishers struck deals with Apple, according to which they themselves—not the e-retailer—would determine the retail price, and would retain 70 percent. ( Subsequent antitrust investigations of price-fixing have now rendered these agreements obsolete.) Random House, the world’s largest trade publisher, held out. In effect, the five publishers reasoned, “An enemy of an enemy is a friend.”

What’s also remarkable is how proactive each company has been in enlisting others to help increase its value and then capturing that value—often at their expense. Ninety-nine-cent and DRM-free music was a choice by Apple, free office applications through Docs a choice by Google, and $9.99 e-books, self-publishing, and low-cost hardware a choice by Amazon. In each case the choice related not only to a strategy for propping up value in the core business but to reducing the price of, or even commoditizing, the complements. Figure 12: Content Versus Complements: The Battle Among Digital Giants Therein lies perhaps the greatest challenge for content producers: Their future will depend not only on what they make but on how effectively they manage value-creating opportunities in adjacent areas. Otherwise complements will continue to capture value—often at their expense. 15 A DETECTION CHALLENGE Yes, companies are often slow to recognize the power of complements and product connections when they could be seizing opportunity.

pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Narrative Science, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, personalized medicine, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Users are producing increasing amounts of content, without worrying about ever having to delete it to make room for more. A clear trend of commoditizing storage capacity exists. One reason for it is that the storage price (Figure IV) has dropped exponentially (by a factor of approximately ten, every five years). Figure IV: Hard Drive Cost per Gigabyte (1980-2009) Source: “a history of storage costs”,, 8 September 200988 An estimated 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years, and the amount of information created by businesses is doubling every 1.2 years.89 Storage has already become a commodity, with companies like Amazon Web Services and Dropbox leading this trend. The world is heading towards a full commoditization of storage, through free and unlimited access for users. The best-case scenario of revenue for companies could potentially be advertising or telemetry.

These will raise some of the biggest ethical and spiritual questions we face as human beings (see Box H: On the Ethical Edge). * * * Box H: On the Ethical Edge * * * Technological advances are pushing us to new frontiers of ethics. Should we use the staggering advances in biology only to cure disease and repair injury, or should we also make ourselves better humans? If we accept the latter, we risk turning parenthood into an extension of the consumer society, in which case could our children become commoditized as made-to-order objects of our desire? And what does it mean to be “better”? To be disease free? To live longer? To be smarter? To run faster? To have a certain appearance? We face similarly complex and on-the-edge questions with artificial intelligence. Consider the possibility of machines thinking ahead of us or even out-thinking us. Amazon and Netflix already possess algorithms that predict which films and books we may wish to watch and read.

pages: 268 words: 75,490

The Knowledge Economy by Roberto Mangabeira Unger

additive manufacturing, balance sheet recession, business cycle, collective bargaining, commoditize, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, first-past-the-post, full employment, global value chain, information asymmetry, knowledge economy, market fundamentalism, means of production, Paul Samuelson, savings glut, secular stagnation, side project, total factor productivity, transaction costs, union organizing, wealth creators

It exists in every sector—in knowledge-intensive services and precision, scientific agriculture as well as in high-technology industry. Nevertheless, in each sector it appears as a fringe from which the vast majority of the labor force remains excluded. Its operation is controlled by a small number of large firms with increasingly worldwide presence. These firms have learned to routinize or commoditize much of their productive activity and then to contract these pieces out to businesses and factories in other parts of their world. The result is that the knowledge economy proper, the mind-rich way of producing with all the potentially revolutionary traits that I later explore, becomes an ever more restricted inner circle: a kingdom within a kingdom. The inner kingdom and the routinized periphery of the present global but insular form of the knowledge economy sell widely their products and services as well as access to their platforms and networks.

The larger piece is composed of lower-wage jobs in services rendered in the domestic market and in conventional manufacturing work carried out in countries that offer the cheapest labor and the lowest taxes. Such jobs may offer work in the leftover of declining mass production, remaining viable only at the cost of low returns to labor and a low tax take. Or they may create positions in a variant of standardized manufacturing that has become the sidekick of the megafirms of the knowledge economy, as they learn how to routinize parts of their production process and assign the commoditized parts of their business to dependent companies, often in faraway places. The second piece of the new labor market is the privileged one: the relatively small number of jobs established in the recesses of the genuine and exclusive knowledge economy. In the wake of the continuous decline of mass production and its reduction to leftover or sidekick status, there results what has been described as the “hollowing out of the middle of the job structure.”

Developing countries can no longer rely on this prescription to sustain economic growth and begin to close the gap separating them from the richest economies. Some have long suffered from what has been described as premature deindustrialization. Others have tried to prolong the life of mass production by combining low wages (by international standards) with a specialized and subordinate niche in global value chains, useful to the megafirms of knowledge-intensive production. They have embraced the commoditized side of a business that in its upper reaches, typically in a faraway rich country, exemplifies the familiar insular form of experimentalist, knowledge-intensive production. Only a few (especially China and India and to a lesser degree Russia and Brazil) have established, always in the insular mode, an outpost of the cosmopolitan knowledge economy. There are multiple and connected reasons why the standard industrializing prescription of development economics has stopped working.

pages: 1,136 words: 73,489

Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software by Nadia Eghbal

Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), bitcoin, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, death of newspapers, Debian, disruptive innovation,, Ethereum, Firefox, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, Induced demand, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kubernetes, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Network effects, node package manager, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, pull request, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ruby on Rails, side project, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, two-sided market, urban planning, web application, wikimedia commons, Zimmermann PGP

Code, when tethered to corporeal form—distributed, for example, on disks or CDs—is easier for producers to commoditize. Charging for books, CDs, or floppy disks containing code made software “excludable.” And, similarly to how video-rental stores like Blockbuster made movies “rivalrous” by only having a limited number of physical copies to rent, companies like Adobe made software rivalrous by selling commercial licenses with a limited number of user seats. If you wanted more seats, you had to pay for them. We still use artificial rivalry to monetize content today. For example, although libraries now offer e-books, only a certain number of people at a time can check out the same e-book, due not to the limitations of technology but to restrictive commercial licenses. Producers commoditized code for as long as they could. Commercial licenses, layered on top of software, leveraged the threat of legal action to get customers to pay.

Commercial licenses, layered on top of software, leveraged the threat of legal action to get customers to pay. Digital rights management (DRM) was an attempt to control access by embedding restrictions directly into the technology. Music purchased on iTunes had limits on the number of times it could be shared with others, a constraint embedded directly into the song file. The bundling strategy still works in some instances. Apple still commoditizes software by keeping it tightly coupled with its hardware. Big game companies, like Microsoft Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo, also combine game software with a hardware platform lock-in. But it was always possible to pirate software, or to photocopy a book containing code. And as our lives moved increasingly online, code and physical form began to slide apart even further. Code by itself is not, and has never been, worth anything, and consumers already know this intuitively when they refuse to directly pay for it.

If a house is built in an upscale neighborhood but that neighborhood later falls into disarray, the house’s value will depreciate as well. Similarly, treating code as a living organism does not replace the idea of software as a commodity. Rather, it’s that software can be understood as both artifact and organism. The rules of the “information economy,” like patents and licenses, lend themselves well to commoditized content, but when content is a living organism its value is better measured in terms of people and relationships. This innate duality—software visible as both a fixed point and a line—is at the heart of today’s conflict around how we value not just software but online content more broadly. Is software worth nothing, or is it indispensable to society? The answer is both. DEPENDENCIES Code, in active state, carries its value in its dependencies, or who else is currently using it.

Mastering Private Equity by Zeisberger, Claudia,Prahl, Michael,White, Bowen, Michael Prahl, Bowen White

asset allocation, backtesting, barriers to entry, Basel III, business process, buy low sell high, capital controls, carried interest, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, fixed income, high net worth, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Lean Startup, market clearing, passive investing, pattern recognition, performance metric, price mechanism, profit maximization, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, time value of money, transaction costs

CDD is typically conducted in conjunction with consultants bringing specific industry expertise; these external experts typically prepare market studies, undertake competitive benchmarking and conduct location studies to provide requisite background information. CDD can also include the analysis of systems and infrastructure supporting a target’s operations. Examples of CDD red flags that may stop an investment in its tracks include: Shrinking market size and/or a declining market share Disruptive and commoditization threats Dependence on powerful suppliers or a concentrated customer base FINANCIAL DD (FDD): Financial DD (FDD) includes a detailed examination of a target’s historical financial statements and management’s financial projections. FDD is typically conducted in conjunction with an accounting firm engaged to thoroughly review audited historical financial statements (generally at least the past three to five years), budgeted versus actual performance, current unaudited financials and management’s financial projections.

SECTION V THE EVOLUTION OF PE Private equity (PE) has become an integral component in the asset mix of every institutional investor, yet continues to innovate and grow. In the last section of our book, we consider the latest trends in the industry and take a closer look at topics concerning the evolution of the asset class. On the one hand, we see increasing innovation and differentiation; on the other, we see a trend towards institutionalization and, in certain segments, commoditization, driven at times by a changing regulatory environment. As the industry continues to mature, the lines dividing traditional limited partners (LPs) and general partners (GPs) have become blurred. The GP–LP relationship is in flux as investors in the PE asset class not only develop direct and co-investment capabilities, but also take advantage of a liquid secondaries market to actively shape their PE exposure.

So while the PE landscape will continue to change and CPPIB’s private equity business will continue to evolve, our commitment to strategic partnerships as a core component of the firm’s private equity strategy can be expected to remain constant. Closing In summary, the picture that is emerging is one of a more diverse PE model: institutional investors are attempting more direct investments in larger, lower risk transactions, a trend that has been observed for some time in real estate and infrastructure investing. This may be the start of the commoditization of the PE asset class that, in line with other markets, is expected to see more disintermediation. For PE’s bread and butter transactions, LPs are negotiating and receiving an increasing proportion of co-investments, thereby lowering fees and regaining some control over the allocation process. The co- and direct investing trend is a relatively recent one, so it remains to be seen if the move into a partial GP role will achieve the desired returns for its LPs.

pages: 270 words: 79,992

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart,, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, period drama, Peter Thiel, pirate software, publication bias, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

“If you want to sell stuff made in China, you no longer have to have representatives on the ground in that country, nor do you have to place orders for a certain, guaranteed volume of goods. All you have to do is click on a site like” As Wessel points out, other companies now exist that provide twenty-four-hour call centers and state-of-the-art business management software to small organizations. “The competitive advantages of scale are being commoditized. Minimum efficient scale is getting smaller and smaller.10 The impact of the collapse of scale will change—in fact, already is changing—our economy and our companies in ways we do not yet understand. In some ways, this is a natural next step in the recent history of manufacturing. During the twentieth century, manufacturing required a lot of direct workers, all located here in the United States.

Companies that require large server farms are always looking for sites near cheap sources of power, sometimes through price breaks or tax incentives that lead to local political issues. Of course, when you’re surfing the Internet, you don’t care where the Web sites physically reside. You’re in the virtual cloud of the Internet, and the specific server—be it in Idaho, New York, or Shanghai—doesn’t affect your experience. Indeed, servers have become incredibly commoditized, with large volumes of computing power made available in seconds for pennies. Amazon has developed some notoriety in this area with a product called Amazon web services (AWS). In the process of building a giant infrastructure to sell everything, but especially books, over the Internet, Amazon realized that they could sell excess capacity on their server farms. Need a place to host your Web site?

. … They are not copies of any single idea but they mix IP from multiple sources to create a new heterogeneous composition, such that the original source material is still distinctly recognizable in the final product. Also, like many Web mash-ups, the final result might seem nonsensical to a mass market (like the Ferrari phone) but extremely relevant to a select long-tail market.”23 The Power of Quirky Apple might think that its emphasis on design will enable it to protect its position, but in fact radical connectivity—and, specifically, the crowdsourcing it enables—is beginning to commoditize even design and other forms of intellectual property, reducing the commercial impact of scale. At night, I plug my laptop in and leave it on my dresser (high enough that little hands won’t find it) to charge. But in the morning, when I unplug the laptop, the power supply always slides behind the dresser. I got sick of beginning each morning with a tinge of frustration, so I started looking for solutions.

pages: 290 words: 83,248

The Greed Merchants: How the Investment Banks Exploited the System by Philip Augar

Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, information retrieval, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, new economy, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, regulatory arbitrage, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, yield curve

The high priests of capitalism eat, breathe and sleep making money – it’s their product as well as their objective – and they genuinely believe themselves to be in a business that is risky, volatile, under pressure and getting more so. A report for the Securities Industry Association, one of the investment banks’ most influential trade organizations, summed this up in a paper in 2002 called ‘Large Investment Bank Margin and Return on Equity Trends: The Twenty-Year Downtrend to Continue’. It presented an industry being squeezed by steady declines in margins, more competition, commoditization of core products and ever increasing capital requirements. It forecast ‘a war of attrition for market share driving lower peak cycle returns on equity going forward’.2 Other leading commentators had the same opinion. The Wall Street Journal portrayed an industry in secular decline: ‘New banking products have shorter shelf lives – made obsolete by fast changing markets or swiftly copied by rivals.

Instead Infineon’s price dropped and Citigroup could only get out at prices between €11.50 and €12.8 This experience was not unusual; it is generally reckoned that 30 per cent of any commission on block trading is lost in getting out of the positions. Falling commission rates, the increased proportion of net trades and the growing popularity of programme trading have combined to make trading equity stocks for customers a precarious business. When commentators and people in the business speak of commoditization, this is one of the main areas that they have in mind. Yet the authoritative paper ‘Large Investment Bank Margin and ROE Trends’, written for the Securities Industry Association by Brad Hintz, a respected analyst with the broking firm Sanford Bernstein and a former CFO of Lehman and Treasurer of Morgan Stanley, contains some surprising results. Hintz used the SIA Databank to establish margins on individual business lines.

In contrast to the apparently bleak picture outlined above, Hintz’s analysis showed that in equities – defined as commission-bearing agency business as well as proprietary and other trading and derivatives – the margins were very high: Table 3. Pre-tax margins in equities: large US investment banks.9 Year 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Margin % 17.5 17.2 14.6 11.3 16.8 29.2 45.0 44.9 59.6 59.9 43.2 How can this be reconciled with equities’ reputation as a product line that is under intense margin pressure? Hintz himself gave the answer, explaining that the commoditization of the straight equities business has been offset by an important new area: ‘These pricing trends have been offset since the late 1990s by the rapid growth of high margin equity derivative books in the business during the past several years. Some firms have cited that up to 30 per cent of their net revenues are now coming from derivative activities.’10 Derivatives are the dog that did not bark during the debate on pricing, a discussion that has not kept pace with changes in the industry.

pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Many of us have our Amazon wishlists publicly searchable anyway. We write about what we want to buy and ask our followers to weigh in on a possible purchase. And so we submit. We share the image, which in turn sends a message that the network and the advertiser take to mean—even if we don’t want them to—“more of this, please.” THE FACEBOOK EYE The documentary lifestyle of social media raises concerns about how we commoditize ourselves and how we put ourselves up for public display and judgment. That doesn’t mean that fun can’t be had or that this kind of documentation can’t coexist with an authentic life. It’s just that the question of what’s authentic shifts, sometimes rather uncomfortably, and not just in the Zuckerberg/Sandberg sense of frictionless sharing, of disclosing everything, always, completely. Instead, it’s that our documentation and social broadcasts become the most important thing, an ulterior act that threatens to become the main event.

YouTube commenters and journalists alike labeled Clark “the next Sweet Brown,” though YouTube comments tended to be more explicitly racist or condescending. “This is what is in our white house right now,” one viewer remarked; wrote another: “She was actually trying to sound articulate and intelligent. EPIC FAIL!!!” The page-view- and advertising-driven digital economy means that these stories inevitably become commoditized, with YouTube, iTunes, and the Web sites hosting these media pocketing most of the cash, and the blogs and other publications who post them (even in the spirit of honest commentary) profiting from the flood of traffic. In some cases, money trickles down to the original subjects; the Gregory Brothers, who produced the popular Auto-Tune the News series of videos, split profits from “Bed Intruder Song,” their iTunes track, with Antoine Dodson.

Privacy is, above all, the currency we draw on to pay for a range of free Internet services, most notably social networks. We offer Google and Facebook information about ourselves, while simultaneously being assured that our data is being used responsibly and that we have a wide range of privacy controls. It’s more accurate, then, to say that privacy is submitting to market pressure, becoming increasingly commoditized. Your privacy has been taken, chopped up into packets of data, and circulated through commercial transactions beyond your view. A now-famous paper produced by Bain & Company and published in 2011 by the World Economic Forum argued that personal data should be considered a “new asset class.” “Personal data will be the new ‘oil,’” the report’s authors claimed. “It will emerge as a new asset class touching all aspects of society.”

pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, mass immigration, Metcalfe’s law, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

The fractionalization and offshoring of production stages that took off in the 1990s changed matters. The manufacturing value chain was fractionalized, with labor-intensive fabrication stages separated out and offshored along with the G7 know-how necessary to bring the offshore fabrication up to G7 standards. This high-tech / low-wage combination radically lowered the cost of fabrication. While this commoditized fabrication, it did not commoditize the pre-and post-fabrication service stages. The result was the smile curve discussed in Chapter 3. Whether governments are looking for more good jobs or trying to boost the competitiveness of their exports, the shift in value to services means that there should be much less industry in twenty-first-century industrial policy. Good Manufacturing Jobs without the Manufacturing When companies like Uniqlo combine their advanced knowledge with low wages, the value added in fabrication plummets.

In the diagram, a typical value chain is characterized as being made up of just three stages: pre-fabrication activities (such as design, finance, and organizational services), fabrication activities (things done in factories), and post-fabrication activities (such as marketing, post-sales services, and the like). The assertion behind the change illustrated is that the fabrication stages are losing value since they are being commoditized and shifted to lost-cost locations in developing nations. Since the shares have to add to 100 percent, the drop in the fabrication stage’s value-added shows up as rises in the value in the pre-fabrication and post-fabrication stages. In particular, the pre-and post-service jobs tend to go to (or stay in) cities in G7 nations. This smile curve is also consistent with the trend called “servicification” of manufacturing since the total value being added in what looks like the manufacturing sector (the fabrication stages) is falling while the value being added in what look like service sectors is rising.

Thus, all three were done with a combination of excellent G7 know-how and excellent G7 workers who were paid high wages. Production unbundling allowed G7 firms, such as Apple, to offshore the fabrication stage. Moreover, since the offshore factories were supplied with all the necessary Apple know-how, and moving goods was cheap, it did not really matter much where the factory was located. Fabrication, in other words, was commoditized by the global value chain revolution. In any case, the offshoring directly lowered the cost of fabrication, which directly lowered the value that was added by fabrication. To many readers, this argument seems to confuse value and costs. It may remind them of the old quip that says “an economist is someone who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” For better or worse, the quip is literally true.

pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

I found that Clayton Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution, had developed a framework that explained what I was observing. In a 2004 article in Harvard Business Review, he articulated “the law of conservation of attractive profits” as follows: “When attractive profits disappear at one stage in the value chain because a product becomes modular and commoditized, the opportunity to earn attractive profits with proprietary products will usually emerge at an adjacent stage.” I saw Christensen’s law of conservation of attractive profits at work in the paradigm shifts required by open source software. Just as IBM’s commoditization of the basic design of the personal computer led to opportunities for attractive profits “up the stack” in software, new fortunes were being made up the stack from the commodity open source software that underlies the Internet, in a new class of proprietary applications.

The remainder of this chapter will discuss some ways in which that future is and is not unfolding. The chorus of doubt about the jobless future sounds remarkably similar to the one that warned of the death of the software industry due to open source software. Clayton Christensen’s Law of Conservation of Attractive Profits holds true here too. When one thing becomes commoditized, something else becomes valuable. We must ask ourselves what will become valuable as today’s tasks become commoditized. CARING AND SHARING What might we do with our time, if there were a universal basic income sufficient to meet the necessities of life, or if paid working hours were reduced by the same amount as domestic labor, and wages increased? Keynes was right. The key question for mankind should be how to use our freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy our leisure, and how “to live wisely and agreeably and well.”

Thus Red Hat founder Bob Young told me, “My goal is to shrink the size of the operating system market.” (Red Hat, however, aimed to own a large part of that smaller market.) Defenders of the status quo, such as Microsoft VP Jim Allchin, claimed that “open source is an intellectual property destroyer,” and painted a bleak picture in which a great industry is destroyed, with nothing to take its place. The commoditization of operating systems, databases, web servers and browsers, and related software was indeed threatening to Microsoft’s core business. But that destruction created the opportunity for the killer applications of the Internet era. It is worth remembering this history when contemplating the effect of on-demand services like Uber, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence. I found that Clayton Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution, had developed a framework that explained what I was observing.

pages: 227 words: 32,306

Using Open Source Platforms for Business Intelligence: Avoid Pitfalls and Maximize Roi by Lyndsay Wise

barriers to entry, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, different worldview,, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, Richard Stallman, software as a service, statistical model, supply-chain management, the market place

In comparison with historical data warehouse structures, this truly provides a wow factor because organizations can actually achieve results that were impossible just 3 to 5 years ago. Low TCO/high ROI. Technological advancements and flexibility drive BI market demand. With data storage and in-memory capabilities costing less than in the past, developing strong data warehousing infrastructures has become quite possible. Add to this access points like Google Analytics and analytics have become more commoditized in the minds of organizations. After all, if it’s possible to access Web stats and perform analyses for free online, why shouldn’t the same be said for other solutions that provide similar functions? Based on this fact as well as the fact that companies can now more broadly control their BI experience through self-service deployments, the demand extends towards the deployment of offerings that have quick implementation times with lower costs of maintenance.

With analytics becoming a general feature set within broader applications, decision makers are beginning to expect these features as an inherent part of their computer interaction. Both of these aspects lead to OS adoption, whether directly or indirectly. Taking this one step further means looking at the definition of OS and free software and identifying why its expansion has become so relevant within organizations. Providing software free of charge creates an interesting dynamic within the analytics space. Will these applications commoditize BI overall? Maybe, but probably not. Even so, what they will do is provide all organizations and consumers with the ability to gain insights quickly. Whether this means identifying product performance or trends in music consumption, analytics are becoming a common way to interact with information and online content. Looking at BI specifically, with the number of BI solutions available, organizations may wonder why OS should be an option.

However, the importance solution providers place on continued development and their focus on customer satisfaction puts them at an advantage in relation to traditional BI vendors and has led to increasing popularity. Traditionally, because of astronomical support fees, solution maintenance has come at a cost. With newer entrants to the market and more diverse pricing, organizations with mature BI environments are starting to feel taken advantage of. With BI starting to become more commoditized based on the use of Google analytics and the availability of free trial versions of software, traditional licensing, support, and maintenance models no longer work. Businesses are looking for added value and key differentiators based on an increasing focus on providing customer value. Looking at maintenance specifically and the ability to quickly address bug fixes, provide new releases with regularity, and align product updates with customer desires.

Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson

Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, linked data, low cost airline, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, mass immigration, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

In the 1970s the US population was typically segmented into 40 lifestyle groups. Nowadays there are 66. This diversity comes in many forms — lifestyle, beliefs, values, income, ethnicity, family structures and so on — all with one thing in common: they dislike homogenization. The second problem is that standardization stifles innovation. Making things the same reduces points of difference and leads to commoditization. Customization, on the other hand, encourages experimentation, which drives innovation. Local customization is also very difficult for competitors to track, let alone copy. As a result, retailers are starting to customize store formats, products and even service offers according to local tastes. Equally, manufacturers are formulating specific products for specific regions or groups. For example, Coca-Cola has created four Retail and Shopping 223 different canned coffee drinks for the Japanese market, each targeting a particular region.

An intelligent pill has been developed in Canada that, once swallowed, will dispense the correct amount of drugs according to pre-programmed instructions. It is about the size of a five-cent coin and the “brains” of the device are no bigger than ten blood cells. Once the pill has done its job it simply disappears, along with your food waste. Hospitals at home The internet will revolutionize the future of medicine, aggregating demand for medical services and increasingly helping to commoditize the pricing of basic products and services. Patients will use information delivered by search engines to self-diagnose and self- Healthcare and Medicine 241 medicate, much to the chagrin of governments and the medical establishment. Already 25% of Americans use the internet at least once a month to access medical information; you can imagine the doctor’s reaction when he walks into a room only to find “his” patient surfing the net for a second opinion.

This is where various services that used to be conducted by your local hospital (or at the 248 FUTURE FILES very least in your own country) are now exported to low-cost countries such as India, much in the same way that banks are outsourcing their call centers. Hospitals in the US send X-rays to India overnight via the internet for initial screening. We will slowly see the globalization and ultimately the commoditization of all but the most specialist medical services. Healthcare will therefore essentially become a retail market driven by brands (reputation), price and convenience and the patient will be firmly in control of most purchases. Countries such as China and India will become global centers for certain types of medicine and medical research, including the development of new drugs, at the expense of countries like the US.

pages: 233 words: 67,596

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning by Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris

always be closing, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, business process, call centre, commoditize, data acquisition, digital map,, global supply chain, high net worth, if you build it, they will come, intangible asset, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knapsack problem, late fees, linear programming, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Netflix Prize, new economy, performance metric, personalized medicine, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, recommendation engine, RFID, search inside the book, shareholder value, six sigma, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method, traveling salesman, yield management

Under these conditions, it was easy to view the company’s revenue as purely incremental, with no costs—and if people think things are free, they are often priced too low. The company had many revenue reports but very few relating to costs. As a result, it was impossible to determine the profitability of offerings to customers. This revenue orientation may have been reasonable at one time, but today the telecommunications business has become more commoditized. It’s harder to grow your way into profitability. So MCI embarked upon a major initiative to calculate its activity-based costs. It created 5,000 cost centers, grouped into 970 cost groups. A set of costing factors (business versus consumer focus, for example) was created to apply to each of the cost centers each month. The costing factors are reviewed annually. MCI created a collection point for the cost information at the enterprise level, which was much more effective than the previous approach.

Yet the company’s managers admitted that the beer flow coordinators didn’t have the skills to make the process work. No new people were hired, and no substantial training was done. The new system, at least in its early days, was not being used. The company was expecting, one might say, champagne skills on a beer-skills budget. At a polymer chemicals company, many of the company’s products had become commoditized. Executives believed that it was important to optimize the global supply chain to squeeze maximum value and cost out of it. The complexity of the unit’s supply chain had significantly increased over the previous couple of years. Responding to the increased complexity, the organization created a global supply chain organization, members of which were responsible for the movement of products and supplies around the world.

Their executives will argue for analytical strategies and decisions with passion and personal example. Their managers will constantly press subordinates for data or analytics before they take major actions. The managers of analytical competitors of the future will not be narrow “quant jocks.” They’ll always be thinking broadly about whether their analytical models and data are still relevant to their businesses. If a particular type of analysis becomes commoditized throughout their industries, they’ll find some new basis for analytical competition. They’ll use intuition sparingly but strategically when it isn’t possible to test an assertion or gather data for an analysis. They’ll undoubtedly be hotly pursued by other firms that also want to be analytical competitors. Fortunately for their employers, they’ll find their jobs stimulating and satisfying and will stay put as long as they’re recognized and promoted.

pages: 268 words: 112,708

Culture works: the political economy of culture by Richard Maxwell

1960s counterculture, American ideology, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business process, commoditize, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, intermodal, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, talking drums, telemarketer, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

., 46 Business Committee for the Arts: founder David Rockefeller, 32, 34, 40 Business Week, 101, 135 Cablevision, 140, 145 Caldas, Luis, 111 Calloway, Cab, 113 Campbell, Colin, 237 Canada, 64, 184, 203 253 Index Capital, 5, 7, 11, 31, 48, 65, 85, 98, 109, 126–34, 140, 171–75, 190, 197–99, 206–18 Capitalism, 4, 5, 36, 63, 69, 90, 132–34, 139–40, 147, 163, 166, 168, 236–37, 243 Caracas, 35 Caribbean, 3, 119 Carlson, Walter, 37 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 27, 28, 35, 39, 52 Chanel No. 5, 87 Child care, 11, 243 Chile, 64 China, 31, 45, 65, 175–76 Christian Right, 51 Cisco Systems, 208–9 Civic Progress, 66–68, 77, 79 Cleveland, 46 Clinton, Bill, 47 CNN, 148, 233 Coca-Cola, 76, 100 Cockcroft, Eva, 22, 27, 29, 30, 52 Cohen, Lizabeth, 171–72, 191 Cold War, 1, 16, 19, 24–31, 41–46, 49–51, 52 Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 32, 42, 136–39, 141–43, 225 Columbia University, 32, 91 Commercialization, 7, 18, 19, 80, 133, 190. See also Commodification; Commoditization Commodification, 73, 148, 197, 210–18, 242 Commoditization, 113 Companhia do Pagôde, 113–14 Computers, 2, 123–25, 185, 198–207, 216–18, 243; cost of, 199; environmental costs, 202; software industry, 238 Conglomerates, 178, 181, 183, 226, 231–32 Consumer movement, 84, 90–96, 100, 187 Consumers Union, 90 Cookies, 216 Copyright term extension, 234 Corporate welfare, 171–72, 176 Corporation and the Arts, The, 33 Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 182 Crane, Philip, 46 Cuban Missile Crisis, 31 254 Cultural industries, 2, 6, 134–35, 228–31, 242–43 Cultural policy, 7–9, 16–20, 24, 28–32, 39–43, 60, 64, 118, 171–72, 175, 187–91, 218–20, 240–45 Culture: definitions, 1–4 Curtin, Michael, and Thomas Streeter, 225–49 D’Acci, Julie, 245 Dança da Garrafa, 111–13 Dança do Robó, 111 Davis, Susan G., 163–96 Debartolo Group, 178 De/Cipherin’, 17, 108–28 DeGeneres, Ellen, 232, 238 Deindustrialization, 171, 190, 235, 215 Democracy, 25, 27, 33, 35–38, 45, 47, 93, 98, 102, 170, 174 De Montebello, Philippe, 48 Deregulation, 141, 231 Diaper fallacy, 243 Dine, Jim, 31, 37, 39 Disney, 136, 140, 145, 181–82, 210, 212–15, 233; Club Disney, 181–82; Disney Store, 182; Disney Store Online, 212 Dissent, 28, 49, 170, 226 Diversity, 79, 175, 219, 225–28, 244 Do-it-yourself: the metaphysic of, 13–16 Dominican Republic, 176 Dondero, George A., 28 Drum talk, 121–22 East Asia, 3 Ebersol, Dick, president of NBC sports, 147; and feminization of TV sport, 147–53 Economics, neoclassical, 202 Edge, 228–31, 243 Education, 18, 23, 34, 90, 131, 202–3, 211; corporate influence, 94 Eells, Richard, 32–41 Eisner, Michael, 140 Electronics, 2, 3, 9, 14 11 Pop Artists, 31–40 El Salvador, 175 Emerson Electric Co.: interlock with Anheuser-Busch, 64 Enchantment, 2–3, 13, 15.

When political economists analyze the commercialization of culture, they typically examine the historical circumstances and structure in which cultural products, resources, and even cultural workers and consumers are turned into a commodity form or some form of income-generating property that can be bought and sold in a market (capital, labor, productive assets, etc.). This process of commercialization has also been called commoditization (or commodification). By making this process appear peculiar, political economists can draw their readers out of what Michael J. Shapiro calls a “structurally induced amnesia.”9 To achieve this, political economists tend to cultivate two important qualities in their historical accounts of commercialization. First, commercialization is understood not as a physical or biological phenomenon but as a process that is social in origin (though biology has become an object of commercialization).

That popular dance can now be constructed as a commodity is often overlooked; stage dance is far more obvious because choreography is about one vision, one body, re-creating space, sound, and rhythm to get across a particular idea, or lack thereof. But the phrase “popu112 Dance lar dance” itself implies that there is no one creator, no master lurking in an empty studio at dawn trying to figure out the transition from a center stage grand plié to a downstage exit. This commoditization of popular dance reconfigures the body that performs said dance as a consumer and a consumed “item.” The performing body, and hence the performance, must be reduced to its most tantalizing parts for the maximum effect in a minimum amount of time and space. Choreographically, this works out as dances that can be done with feet or foot either planted or tracing out a small “boxed” area and hips and torso pulsing in isolation patterns that accentuate the heavy rhythmic emphasis of the music it is constructed to represent.

pages: 425 words: 112,220

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, young professional

When working in a group, innovators must be willing to be the fool. The best investors don’t grasp too tightly to any given playbook. As a seed investor, I am always trying to use my pattern-recognition abilities without holding on too dearly to whatever worked before. None of my best investments were alike, obvious, or fit a popular rubric. Some, like Warby Parker, struck investors as too crowded a market and too commoditized. Others, like Pinterest, Uber, and Carta, initially appeared too niche with limited markets. And some, like Periscope, defied social norms and made people scratch their heads whenever I’d describe them. You can consult groups, history, and common knowledge, but the tough decisions and crazy notions of future possibilities come from within. The same is true for ventures of all kinds. I like how Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold his last company to Salesforce before becoming a VC himself, made the same case for teams in a blog post: No answers are obvious or everybody would be doing these things.

When I walked into a sweetgreen store for the first time, I was immediately struck by the team’s attention to design and how they embraced technology in ways that no other fast-casual food chains were. Soon after, I met the team, joined their board, and have since advised the team on technology, design, and marketing matters. Suffice it to say, I was struck by how Jonathan, Nic, and Nate were consistently innovating in a space that most would write off as commoditized and stagnant. When you sit down with the three cofounders, you can immediately tell how tethered they are to sweetgreen’s mission. Whether they’re discussing their online ordering system, their selection of lettuces, or how to decrease the length of lines, the conversation comes back to core tenets: providing quality food and experiences for their customers, staying local, and promoting a healthier lifestyle for their customers and employees.

As a result, properties on Airbnb looked far superior to those posted on Craigslist. This level of handholding, while certainly not economically scalable over time, set a level of quality and aesthetic for Airbnb that vastly differentiated their marketplace from Craigslist and other generic listing websites. Give your customers something precious, something that cannot be easily scaled, automated, or commoditized. The greatest innovations in an industry are strange and artlike before they become the new standard. Do things that your competitors and incumbents wouldn’t even think of doing for lack of financial reward. Only through these explorations will you discover the key differentiator—the art—that surprises customers and builds a remarkable product and brand. DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS AS YOU GROW Once your product is in demand and you look for ways to be more efficient, you’ll be tempted to develop the “science” side of your business.

pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

The first is consumers, who obviously want to pay as little as possible and thus side with platform builders that seek to rapidly grow their networks. The second is that in most markets, many suppliers compete for business, and many other potential suppliers are waiting in the wings. Platforms usually enhance this competition by reducing barriers to entry, and they often commoditize the suppliers, making them more interchangeable to the consumer. Competition and commoditization, of course, tend to drive down prices, and to deliver the business to the companies willing to supply products most cheaply (while maintaining acceptable quality). In short, platform builders and consumers both want low prices, and competition among suppliers tends to result in them. And there’s often potential for the platform to increase utilization and efficiency, thereby driving down prices even more.

When physical goods and services are differentiated and customers can be locked in, the disruptive potential of online-to-offline platforms is more limited. Questions 1. What are a handful of scenarios for how products and platforms will come together in your industry over the next three to five years? 2. If information asymmetries in your industry were reduced, what new opportunities and businesses would open up? 3. What are your main strategies for avoiding the commoditization and price reductions that platforms can bring to incumbent product companies? 4. If you’re building a network with two or more sides, which side(s) are you willing to let join and participate for free, or even to subsidize? Who has the greatest elasticity of demand? 5. Are you confident that you can continue to differentiate your offerings as platforms spread? If so, why? What are your sustainable sources of differentiation?

., 166–67 Angry Birds, 159–61 anonymity, digital currency and, 279–80 Antikythera mechanism, 66 APIs (application programming interfaces), 79 apophenia, 44n apparel, 186–88 Apple; See also iPhone acquiring innovation by acquiring companies, 265 and industrywide smartphone profits, 204 leveraging of platforms by, 331 Postmates and, 173, 185 profitability (2015), 204 revenue from paid apps, 164 “Rip, Mix, Burn” slogan, 144n as stack, 295 application programming interfaces (APIs), 79 AppNexus, 139 apps; See also platforms for banking, 89–90 demand curve and, 157–61 iPhone, 151–53 App Store, 158 Apter, Zach, 183 Aral, Sinan, 33 Archilochus, 60–61 architecture, computer-designed, 118 Aristophanes, 200 Arnaout, Ramy, 253 Arthur, Brian, 47–48 artificial general intelligence (AGI), 71 artificial hands, 272–75 artificial intelligence; See also machine learning current state of, 74–76 defined, 67 early attempts, 67–74 implications for future, 329–30 rule-based, 69–72 statistical pattern recognition and, 72–74 Art of Thinking Clearly, The (Dobelli), 43 arts, digital creativity in, 117–18 Ashenfelter, Orley, 38–39 ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), 287 assets and incentives, 316 leveraging with O2O platforms, 196–97 replacement by platforms, 6–10 asymmetries of information, 206–10 asymptoting, 96 Atkeson, Andrew, 21 ATMs, 89 AT&T, 96, 130 August (smart door lock), 163 Austin, Texas, 223 Australia, 100 Authorize.Net, 171 Autodesk, 114–16, 119, 120 automated investing, 266–70 automation, effect on employment/wages, 332–33 automobiles, See cars Autor, David, 72, 101 background checks, 208, 209 back-office work, 82–83 BackRub, 233 Baidu, 192 Bakos, Yannis, 147n Bakunin, Mikhail, 278 Ballmer, Steve, 151–52 bandwagon effect, 217 banking, virtualization and, 89–90, 92 Bank of England, 280n bank tellers, 92 Barksdale, Jim, 145–46 barriers to entry, 96, 220 Bass, Carl, 106–7, 119–20 B2B (business-to-business) services, 188–90 Beastmode 2.0 Royale Chukkah, 290 Behance, 261 behavioral economics, 35, 43 Bell, Kristen, 261, 262 Benioff, Mark, 84–85 Benjamin, Robert, 311 Benson, Buster, 43–44 Berlin, Isiah, 60n Berners-Lee, Tim, 33, 34n, 138, 233 Bernstein, Michael, 260 Bertsimas, Dimitris, 39 Bezos, Jeff, 132, 142 bias of Airbnb hosts, 209–10 in algorithmic systems, 51–53 digital design’s freedom from, 116 management’s need to acknowledge, 323–24 and second-machine-age companies, 325 big data and Cambrian Explosion of robotics, 95 and credit scores, 46 and machine learning, 75–76 biology, computational, 116–17 Bird, Andrew, 121 Bitcoin, 279–88 China’s dominance of mining, 306–7 failure mode of, 317 fluctuation of value, 288 ledger for, 280–87 as model for larger economy, 296–97 recent troubles with, 305–7 and solutionism, 297 “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” (Nakamoto), 279 BlaBlaCar, 190–91, 197, 208 BlackBerry, 168, 203 Blitstein, Ryan, 117 blockchain as challenge to stacks, 298 and contracts, 291–95 development and deployment, 283–87 failure of, 317 and solutionism, 297 value as ledger beyond Bitcoin, 288–91 Blockchain Revolution (Tapscott and Tapscott), 298 Bloomberg Markets, 267 BMO Capital Markets, 204n Bobadilla-Suarez, Sebastian, 58n–59n Bock, Laszlo, 56–58 bonds, 131, 134 bonuses, credit card, 216 Bordeaux wines, 38–39 Boudreau, Kevin, 252–54 Bowie, David, 131, 134, 148 Bowie bonds, 131, 134 brand building, 210–11 Brat, Ilan, 12 Bredeche, Jean, 267 Brin, Sergey, 233 Broward County, Florida, 40 Brown, Joshua, 81–82 Brusson, Nicolas, 190 Burr, Donald, 177 Bush, Vannevar, 33 business conference venues, 189 Business Insider, 179 business processes, robotics and, 88–89 business process reengineering, 32–35 business travelers, lodging needs of, 222–23 Busque, Leah, 265 Buterin, Vitalik, 304–5 Byrne, Patrick, 290 Cairncross, Francis, 137 California, 208; See also specific cities Calo, Ryan, 52 Cambrian Explosion, 94–98 Cameron, Oliver, 324 Camp, Garrett, 200 capacity, perishing inventory and, 181 Card, David, 40, 261 cars automated race car design, 114–16 autonomous, 17, 81–82 decline in ownership of, 197 cash, Bitcoin as equivalent to, 279 Casio QV-10 digital camera, 131 Caves, Richard, 23 Caviar, 186 CDs (compact discs), 145 cell phones, 129–30, 134–35; See also iPhone; smartphones Census Bureau, US, 42 central bankers, 305 centrally planned economies, 235–37 Chabris, Chris, 3 Chambers, Ephraim, 246 Champy, James, 32, 34–35, 37, 59 Chandler, Alfred, 309n Chase, 162 Chase Paymentech, 171 check-deposit app, 162 children, language learning by, 67–69 China Alibaba in, 7–8 concentration of Bitcoin wealth in, 306–7 and failure mode of Bitcoin, 317 mobile O2O platforms, 191–92 online payment service problems, 172 robotics in restaurants, 93 Shanghai Tower design, 118 Xiaomi, 203 Chipotle, 185 Choudary, Sangeet, 148 Christensen, Clay, 22, 264 Churchill, Winston, 301 Civil Aeronautics Board, US, 181n Civis Analytics, 50–51 Clash of Clans, 218 classified advertising revenue, 130, 132, 139 ClassPass, 205, 210 and economics of perishing inventory, 180–81 future of, 319–20 and problems with Unlimited offerings, 178–80, 184 and revenue management, 181–84 user experience, 211 ClassPass Unlimited, 178–79 Clear Channel, 135 clinical prediction, 41 Clinton, Hillary, 51 clothing, 186–88 cloud computing AI research, 75 APIs and, 79 Cambrian Explosion of robotics, 96–97 platform business, 195–96 coaches, 122–23, 334 Coase, Ronald, 309–13 cognitive biases, 43–46; See also bias Cohen, Steven, 270 Coles, John, 273–74 Collison, John, 171 Collison, Patrick, 171–74 Colton, Simon, 117 Columbia Record Club, 131 commoditization, 220–21 common sense, 54–55, 71, 81 companies continued dominance of, 311–12 continued relevance of, 301–27 DAO as alternative to, 301–5 decreasing life spans of, 330 economics of, 309–12 future of, 319–26 leading past the standard partnership, 323–26 management’s importance in, 320–23 markets vs., 310–11 as response to inherent incompleteness of contracts, 314–17 solutionism’s alternatives to, 297–99 TCE and, 312–15 and technologies of disruption, 307–9 Compass Fund, 267 complements (complementary goods) defined, 156 effect on supply/demand curves, 157–60 free, perfect, instant, 160–63 as key to successful platforms, 169 and open platforms, 164 platforms and, 151–68 and revenue management, 183–84 Stripe and, 173 complexity theory, 237 Composite Fund (D.

pages: 400 words: 124,678

The Investment Checklist: The Art of In-Depth Research by Michael Shearn

Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, business cycle, call centre, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, commoditize, compound rate of return, Credit Default Swap, estate planning, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, Network effects, pink-collar, risk tolerance, shareholder value, six sigma, Skype, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, technology bubble, time value of money, transaction costs, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

Some of the Best-Performing CEOs Are Unknown and Do Not Promote Some of the best CEOs are collegial, team oriented, and soft spoken, and they are able to gain the confidence of their employees. In fact, many CEOs who have compiled the greatest long-term records of creating wealth are relatively unknown and don’t self-promote, such as Yun Jong-Yong, who was CEO of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics from 1996 to 2008. Yun transformed Samsung from a maker of commoditized memory chips and other commoditized products to a company that designed innovative digital products, such as cutting-edge cell phones. The opposite of the self-promoter, Yun refused many interviews. Instead, he let the results speak for themselves as Samsung Electronics gained $127 billion in market value under his tenure.24 The management teams of some of the best-compounding stocks from 2000 to 2010 spend very little time meeting with Wall Street—for example, Four Seasons Hotels, Strayer Education, Whole Foods Market, Morningstar, and Expeditors International.

This way, it is able to charge lower prices for its products or services compared to competitors. This widens the competitive advantage and makes it more sustainable. There are various ways for a business to create advantages based on economies of scale, including increasing efficiencies by consolidating a fragmented industry. Obtaining a Cost Advantage through Industry Consolidation In large, fragmented markets, especially those that have become commoditized, you can often see businesses with low-cost advantages building market share. The higher the market share, the more customer choice is limited, which gives the surviving dominant players an advantage. For example, LabCorp and Quest each played large parts in the consolidation of the laboratory testing business. In the early 1990s, there were seven or eight national lab companies that all performed the same type of tests.

You may also want to review the risks section in the 10-K of direct competitors and look for risks that the business may not have covered. Trade associations will often outline common risks, and many articles are written on how to reduce them. This will help you build a comprehensive collection of risks the business may encounter. Write down the operational risks you find in the 10-K or other sources in a report; these operational risks might include: Overcapacity Commoditization Deregulation Increased power among suppliers Shifts in technology Changes in laws and regulations Product obsolescence Patent expirations Development of new product lines where the business has limited expertise The emergence of competitors Brand erosion Overreliance on too few customers Limited geographic distribution Research and development failure Business-development failure Merger or acquisition failure A weak product pipeline And others Spend time carefully reviewing each of these risks.

pages: 725 words: 221,514

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, sexual politics, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor, zero-sum game

The twice-born were likewise largely protected from falling into debt bondage, while for much of the rural poor, debt dependency was institutionalized, with the daughters of poor debtors, predictably, often dispatched to brothels or to the kitchens or laundries of the rich.55 In either case, between the push of commoditization, which fell disproportionally on daughters, and the pull of those trying to reassert patriarchal rights to “protect” women from any suggestion that they might be commoditized, women’s formal and practical freedoms appear to have been gradually but increasingly restricted and effaced. As a result, notions of honor changed too, becoming a kind of protest against the implications of the market, even as at the same time (like the world religions) they came to echo that market logic in endless subtle ways.

It’s difficult to say precisely how they imagined their situation, because it’s only in the Old Testament, written on the other side of the Fertile Crescent, that one has any record of the pastoral rebels’ points of view. But nothing there mitigates against the suggestion that the extraordinary emphasis we find there on the absolute authority of fathers, and the jealous protection of their fickle womenfolk, were made possible by, but at the same time a protest against, this very commoditization of people in the cities that they fled. The world’s Holy Books—the Old and New Testaments, the Koran, religious literature from the Middle Ages to this day—echo this voice of rebellion, combining contempt for the corrupt urban life, suspicion of the merchant, and often, intense misogyny. One need only think of the image of Babylon itself, which has become permanently lodged in the collective imagination as not only the cradle of civilization, but also the Place of Whores.

The Assyrian law code is one isolated instance; veils certainly did not become obligatory everywhere after 1300 bc. But it provides a window on developments that were happening, however unevenly, even spasmodically, across the region, propelled by the intersection of commerce, class, defiant assertions of male honor, and the constant threat of the defection of the poor. States seem to have played a complex dual role, simultaneously fostering commoditization and intervening to ameliorate its effects: enforcing the laws of debt and rights of fathers, and offering periodic amnesties. But the dynamic also led, over the course of millennia, to a systematic demotion of sexuality itself from a divine gift and embodiment of civilized refinement to one of its more familiar associations: with degradation, corruption, and guilt. Here I think we have the explanation for that general decline of women’s freedoms that may be observed in all the great urban civilizations for so much of their history.

pages: 318 words: 87,570

Broken Markets: How High Frequency Trading and Predatory Practices on Wall Street Are Destroying Investor Confidence and Your Portfolio by Sal Arnuk, Joseph Saluzzi

algorithmic trading, automated trading system, Bernie Madoff, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, financial innovation, Flash crash, Gordon Gekko, High speed trading, latency arbitrage, locking in a profit, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Ponzi scheme, price discovery process, price mechanism, price stability, Sergey Aleynikov, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Small Order Execution System, statistical arbitrage, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, transaction costs, two-sided market, zero-sum game

The SEC became concerned, not about the scalping, but that the retail public was seeing one set of prices, while other market players saw better prices on the ECNs. In response, the SEC proposed Regulation ATS (Alternative Trading System), which mandated all orders go to a public quote. Instinet fiercely lobbied against it. Management had employees calling clients and urging them to write comment letters to the SEC. Instinet claimed that such a rule would create a commoditized limit order book, which would “crush innovation.” In reality, Instinet was afraid of losing the special selling appeal of its own private stock market, with meaty institutional orders that the SEC, if they had their way, would forcibly make available to all traders through all systems. No doubt, management was also worried that the automated traders might not pay for the privilege of jumping 1/64 ahead of investor orders if the automated traders could do it to the entire market.

The NBBO was an aggregation of the best priced orders on all exchanges and ECNs, and it was protected. This meant that if one market center, say the NYSE, had a participant with an order to buy stock at $10.00 and did not have a matching sell order at $10.00, while another exchange, say NASDAQ, did, then the NYSE would have to route out that buy order to NASDAQ, which would then match the buy and sell order. As a result, Reg NMS commoditized trading destinations. Speed of execution became paramount. The slower, specialist-oriented NYSE was forced to become a fast, electronic market. By the time Reg NMS was implemented, the stock exchanges had beefed up their systems, changed from member-owned, nonprofit corporations, to for-profit exchanges, and many of them became publicly traded companies. Although some say the exchanges did this to respond to Reg NMS while at the same time to protect themselves, they did it with an “eye on the prize,” lobbying for the regulations to turn out exactly as they wanted, when they wanted it.

Most businesses follow the 80/20 rule, in which 80% of their business comes from 20% of their customers. This ratio is far different in the exchange business, in which nearly three-quarters of the volume comes from just 2% of the clients.1 This distortion is the result of the exchanges catering to their biggest clients at the expense of average investors. By attempting to level the playing field with all its new regulations, the SEC commoditized the stock exchange business. In turn, this led exchanges to supply high-value products and services to its highest volume clients. If they didn’t, the exchanges feared these clients would move their volume to another market venue. This quest for profit has created significant conflicts of interests in the stock exchange business model. No longer do exchanges produce the majority of their revenue from corporate listings and services.

pages: 186 words: 49,251

The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow

Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, David Heinemeier Hansson, discounted cash flows, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, passive income, rolodex, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, subscription business, telemarketer, time value of money, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Readers were asked to subscribe to general interest publications, and their subscription fees, combined with advertising revenue, provided the money needed to fund the editorial product and the cost of mailing the publication to each reader. This trend continued well into the 20th century, as it was also a reliable way to get rich. Publishers like William Randolph Hearst and, more recently, Rupert Murdoch have made their initial fortunes from publishing subscription-based newspapers. However, the economics of information publishing deteriorated with the rise of the Internet, which eliminated distribution costs and commoditized content to such an extent that consumers began to expect it to be free. Not only did consumers expect content for free; the kind of content they were interested in also became more esoteric. As former Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson revealed in his best seller The Long Tail, now that the entire world’s content is only a Google search away, we are no longer satisfied with the broad general interest information provided by mainstream publishers; our appetite for content has become more specialized.

As former Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson revealed in his best seller The Long Tail, now that the entire world’s content is only a Google search away, we are no longer satisfied with the broad general interest information provided by mainstream publishers; our appetite for content has become more specialized. If you love the sport of curling, you can consume as much curling information as you want for free online without ever picking up a newspaper, which might run a curling story a couple of times per winter at best. Thus the traditional publishing model was under attack from two sides: information was becoming commoditized, and our appetite for it was becoming more specialized. Magazines and newspapers started slashing editorial budgets, with fewer and fewer subscribers underwriting the costs of creating content and mailing it out. Content got so bad that people began realizing that good content was actually worth paying for—and subscriptions took on a new life in the information industry. First, the Wall Street Journal courageously put its best content behind a paywall in 1997 and gained 200,000 paying customers within 18 months.8 In 2007, the Financial Times introduced a “metered model” paywall.

pages: 319 words: 100,984

The Moon: A History for the Future by Oliver Morton

Charles Lindbergh, commoditize, Dava Sobel, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, multiplanetary species, Norman Mailer, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, UNCLOS, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Some of the competitors, though, are running still; SpaceIL, which is behind the Israeli mission launched in early 2019, and iSpace, the Japanese team which plans to launch an orbiter in 2020 and a lander in 2021, are Google Lunar X Prize veterans, as are MoonExpress and Astrobotic in the United States. Instead of a race to the Moon, the Moon Race is a race to get things done on the Moon. Getting there is part of the prize, not the object of the competition. As such it marks the beginning of the commoditization of access to the Moon. By the mid-2020s, there should be a number of companies capable of taking cargo to the Moon and providing it with electricity and communication links once there. If the market looks good—if funding bodies will pay for lunar-surface science, if investors will pay for scouting out of resources, if enough rich enthusiasts just want to do stuff—then missions which bring something back will be feasible, too.

One of the reasons for seeing the Age of Being Explored by Europeans as the dawn of the Anthropocene is that it was a time when, as Jason Moore argues in “Capitalism in the Web of Life” (2015), capitalism grew by appropriating the land’s processes from those living in, on and through them, especially in the Americas. Inside capitalism, proletariats were exploited; outside capitalism, human lives and natural bounty were taken and reshaped. The European facility with the organization of markets, and the organization of violence, was used to re-engineer lands formerly held by indigenous peoples. Frequently unsustainable forms of forestry and farming were introduced to make them productive. People, commoditized as labour, were moved from the farmsteads of one continent to the plantations of another, there to transform the sunshine that was absorbed by those plantations into the cheap calories which fed the workers in metropolitan factories. This appropriation allowed, literally and metaphorically, some very lunches which looked very cheap, if you set aside moral and environmental costs: cheap energy, cheap food, cheap labour, cheap nature.

In Manny’s world of TANSTAAFL, there is no continuing source of cheaps, no productive flows outside the system for people to undervalue and appropriate. Everything in the environment is either already inside the economy or already under the political control of the Authority. Luna City has no outside but rock, ice and vacuum. Inside, there is only what has been created and paid for, what is owned. All supplies of air, food and water are already monetized, commoditized, charged for—whether by the entrepreneurs of Hong Kong Luna or by the Authority. Prof tells Manny and Wyoh that the only way to avert the Malthusian fate the Authority has engineered for the Moon is not to expand the economy further but to re-integrate it with the Earth’s—and until then, to cut the Moon off from the Earth completely. The flow of grain which passes out through the colony’s mass driver must be stopped until new technologies allow nutrients and volatiles to be shipped back up to the Moon in sufficient quantities to close the circle.

pages: 404 words: 95,163

Amazon: How the World’s Most Relentless Retailer Will Continue to Revolutionize Commerce by Natalie Berg, Miya Knights

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business intelligence, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, computer vision, connected car, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Elon Musk, gig economy, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, market fragmentation, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, QR code, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, remote working, sensor fusion, sharing economy, Skype, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, trade route, underbanked, urban planning, white picket fence

Jeff Bezos, 20071 Digital transformation is sweeping across the retail sector, but up until now three categories – furniture, fashion and food – have been relatively insulated. Affected? Yes. Disrupted? No. These are categories where quality is subjective and cannot always be determined via a screen. These are categories where the desire to see and touch the product traditionally outweighed the convenience of buying online. And therefore, the margin for error in purchasing these categories online was historically higher than when buying commoditized products like books or DVDs, where shoppers knew exactly what they were going to get regardless of where they purchased it. But that’s all about to change. By 2021, 28 per cent of clothing and footwear sales and 18 per cent of furniture and home furnishing sales in the US are expected to take place online (up from 9 per cent and 6 per cent respectively a decade earlier2), according to Kantar.

Amazon, 20185 Amazon also recognized this change in behaviour and in 2009 launched its AmazonBasics range. At the time, Amazon had already begun dabbling in private label with a handful of other lines such as Pinzon kitchen gadgets, Strathwood outdoor furniture, Pike Street bath and home products, and Denali tools. But this was the first time Amazon would attach its brand to a product (hardware aside) so it made sense to start out in a low-risk, commoditized category and one that would complement its core product range – electronic accessories. Priced approximately 30 per cent lower than major brands, the AmazonBasics line was initially limited to accessories like cables, chargers and batteries. But within just a few short years, the brand accounted for nearly one-third of Amazon’s battery sales, outselling national brands like Energizer and Duracell.6 Less than a decade after launch, AmazonBasics had been expanded to dozens of categories – home, furniture, pet supplies, luggage, sports, etc – and, by 2017, it was the third-best-selling brand overall on, according to One Click Retail.

The tablet, which was already on its fourth generation by the time the Fire phone was launched, built on Amazon’s e-book sales and Kindle success and also offers users access to the Amazon e-commerce site directly from its home screen. But it did not enable connectivity beyond the functionality of connecting to the Amazon store, nor did its early versions use the latest touch interface technology, despite the fact that Apple had commoditized the touchscreen with the introduction of the iPhone four years earlier. Where Amazon has been more successful in applying the first two global technology drivers, though, is in its core retail business, where it has brought the concepts of ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive interfaces to bear with far more success. One click to no click Applying the first two global technology drivers to the Amazon timeline, it is possible to recognize just how important their application has been in facilitating the removal of friction from the online shopping experience it offers.

pages: 372 words: 101,678

Lessons from the Titans: What Companies in the New Economy Can Learn from the Great Industrial Giants to Drive Sustainable Success by Scott Davis, Carter Copeland, Rob Wertheimer

3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, airport security, barriers to entry, business cycle, business process, clean water, commoditize, coronavirus, corporate governance, COVID-19, Covid-19, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, factory automation, global pandemic, hydraulic fracturing, Internet of things, iterative process, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, megacity, Network effects, new economy, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, random walk, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, skunkworks, software is eating the world, strikebreaker, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, winner-take-all economy

Figure 5.3: The 1999 AlliedSignal-Honeywell merger. Source: Melius Research Despite those strategic failings, Bossidy succeeded in building a strong senior team, and he benefited greatly from the tailwinds of the booming 1990s. Buying Honeywell was supposed to be his crowning achievement before retirement. Instead, it exposed underlying weaknesses: both companies were seeing sharply greater global competition and product commoditization. The merger of AlliedSignal and Honeywell is a useful lesson in the limitations of traditional deal analysis. These were two solid companies with substantial aerospace operations and little direct overlap. Yet the organizations had very different cultures: Honeywell favored creativity, while AlliedSignal pushed for strict engineering discipline. Michael Bonsignore, a 30-year veteran of Honeywell, succeeded Bossidy and tried to integrate the two organizations, but he made little headway.

Her first decision was to commission a study of all past deals at AlliedSignal and Honeywell to figure out what worked, what didn’t, and why. The results were astonishing. The average return on invested capital for deals in the preceding decade (1991–2001) was 0 percent—and that was a time when deal prices were not especially high. As it turns out, most of the deals had projected generous benefits from revenue synergies that never played out. Most of the deals also involved assets with rising product commoditization, where the seller had underinvested and customers were unhappy, but neither AlliedSignal nor Honeywell factored in those problems. Perhaps they didn’t even know about them. In response, Madden overhauled the acquisition process by installing new people, instituting much tougher due diligence, and introducing a rule against revenue synergies in the deal model. Cote added the requirement that all deals involve “great businesses in good industries.”

Their success lasts for a while, until competition rises. Mature industrial companies are well past that stage, playing in a global marketplace where competition is widespread and ingrained. Such firms do spend on products and innovation, but more often they win and grow by focusing on operations. We’ve chosen an extreme example in this chapter to show a path to success after innovation has been commoditized. Rental equipment is an industry in which even expert observers assume there’s no chance to thrive. There are no obvious barriers: anyone with financing can start a company, buy equipment, and rent it out. Yet United Rentals, along with number two player Sunbelt Rentals, has built tremendous, compounding success through a feedback loop of scale and continuous improvement. WHAT IS THE RENTAL EQUIPMENT INDUSTRY?

The New Class War: Saving Democracy From the Metropolitan Elite by Michael Lind

affirmative action, anti-communist, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, future of work, global supply chain, guest worker program, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, knowledge economy, liberal world order, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, moral panic, Nate Silver, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, union organizing, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, working poor

But the financial industry is volatile and global innovation rents quickly disappear, as a result of lapsing patents, intellectual property theft, foreign success in indigenous innovation, and the commoditization of former cutting-edge industries. Furthermore, there are too many opportunities for evasive tax arbitrage. Which billionaires and firms will consent to be taxed to pay for these massive schemes of national redistribution? The ones who hide their wealth in the Cayman Islands, or others, perhaps, who hide it in Panama or Jersey or Switzerland? Can other sources of revenue pay for massive, permanent cash transfers to the working class as well as the poor? A “robot tax” has been endorsed by French socialist Benoît Hamon and American capitalist Bill Gates, to fund a UBI as a solution to the as-yet-nonexistent problem of mass technological unemployment. But if robots were cheap and common enough to cause mass unemployment, the commoditized robot industry might not generate enough profit to support a massively expanded welfare state; you might as well try to pay for a universal basic income with a microwave oven tax.

pages: 285 words: 58,517

The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models by Barry Libert, Megan Beck

active measures, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversification, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Rift, pirate software, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, software as a service, software patent, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Wall-E, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Van Kralingen gives the call to action in crystal clear terms. Companies in a crisis need to look at their entire portfolios, rationally and candidly, and figure out what they have that customers want today and what customers will want tomorrow. Then get rid of anything that does not fit the resulting model, and invest in the growth opportunities. In our case, the information technology industry was rapidly becoming commoditized, and we determined that we needed to shift our portfolio to a more balanced mix of high-value offerings. That meant growing our services and software businesses, both through internal investments and through acquisitions. We have acquired more than 200 companies at a cost of $30 billion to help fill out our portfolio of products and services in these strategic growth areas, such as our growing analytics business.

In the 1990s, Kodak recognized the imminent transition to digital technology; in fact, it invented the digital camera. But rather than refocus its strategy on the next big thing, Kodak tried to slow the progress of digital technology and maintain its dominance in film through aggressive advertising. When Kodak finally entered the digital market with its Easy Share product line, it was too late; digital was already on the path to commoditization. In 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. These situations happen because our mental models prevent us from seeing the need for change and, even when we see it, from acting on it. IBM probably could not have shed its PC business—once a jewel in its portfolio, representing innovation and daring, the ability to rapidly innovate, and an exciting success over Apple—if Sam Palmisano had not just come into the CEO role with a mandate to focus on high-margin, high-growth businesses.

pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, double helix,, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

Advances such as this may well form the foundation of future information technologies in the area of quantum computing; this will take computer engineering into the realm of individual atoms and even subatomic particles. Even if such breakthroughs don’t arrive in time, and integrated circuit fabrication technology does eventually hit a physical limit, it seems very likely that the focus would simply shift from building faster individual processors to instead linking large numbers of inexpensive, commoditized processors together in parallel architectures. As we’ll see in the next section, this is already happening to a significant degree, but if Moore’s Law eventually runs out of steam, parallel processing may well become the primary focus for building more capable computers. Even if the historical doubling pace of Moore’s Law does someday prove to be unsustainable, there is no reason to believe that progress would halt or even become linear in nature.

Likewise, it seems to be increasingly difficult for Microsoft and other software vendors to continually add new features to desktop productivity applications and operating systems that are compelling enough to justify expensive upgrades. Yet the business models of both Intel and Microsoft depend on continuing to sell ever more powerful processors and new or updated software applications to take advantage of that power. If customers were to permanently turn away from the idea of faster processors, the business would quickly become commoditized, and Intel would lose its competitive advantage. For that reason, we can be sure that Intel, Microsoft and hundreds of other software companies are actively seeking the next killer app—something that will fully leverage the vastly increased computer power that will be available in the coming years and decades. I think that there are good reasons to believe that this next killer app is going to turn out to be artificial intelligence (AI).

pages: 289 words: 113,211

A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, computer age, computerized trading, disintermediation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index arbitrage, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, margin call, market bubble, market design, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, The Market for Lemons, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Books that were managed on Excel spreadsheets in the nascent days of a trading desk were still managed the same way, but with positions that had grown by orders of magnitude and with one new product thrown on top of another. Inventory was hedged and pushed back onto the heap like so many pairs of old underwear shoved behind the closet door. Money 36 ccc_demon_033-050_ch03.qxd 7/13/07 2:42 PM Page 37 A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN had been flowing in so quickly that no one was bothered if some sloshed over the sides. But once swaps and emerging markets followed the others into the commoditized world, the froth of profits receded and all the carcasses and rusted hulls that had been ignored rose into view. John Mack, a strong leader with an appreciation for the organizational aspects of the problem, and, it turned out, an eye on preparing the firm for sale, began to work on his “one-firm firm” program. Mack actually wanted to corral everyone and make Morgan Stanley look like a corporate entity, and not the collection of power bases it had become.

Expense control is fine initially but it is not the same as management, so the steps that led to the creation of Citigroup did not necessarily contribute to a smooth-running operation. Weill was ultimately a world-class deal maker, not a corporate manager. Sadly, this meant that, as one analyst put it, he built up “a reputation as a brilliant strategist and he’s going out as someone who couldn’t manage everything he has under one roof.” Consolidation of the kind that created Citigroup is a natural result of the commoditization of financial information and markets. Weill was one of the first to see that. The informational ether—with access to real-time prices; market commentary flowing as a continuum from screens at home and office, airport terminals, and teller lines; stock recommendations spilling out of countless Web sites—reduces the market advantage of investment firms. With little left to differentiate themselves, their best offense comes from economies of scale and cross marketing.

The markets are more liquid and quicker to react to information. Information flows more freely and is distributed more widely, and prices are readily available to virtually all participants. Trades are executed nearly instantaneously worldwide at transaction costs that are a small fraction of what they were a few decades ago. And, whether developed with the intent of better meeting the demands of investors or, more cynically, to stave off commoditization and maintain profitability, we are awash in new and innovative instruments. But the positive effects of innovation come at a price. Innovation increases complexity. Many innovative instruments are in the form of derivatives with conditional and nonlinear payoffs. When a market dislocation arises, it is difficult to know how the prices of these instruments will react. Innovation and mechanical efficiency have also increased complexity by pushing markets to become more interconnected.

pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine,, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, wealth creators, Yogi Berra

The goal of every business is to raise the volume and predictability of its output to the point that it becomes a commodity. This is achieved not by raising prices but by lowering prices and benefiting from the learning curve efficiencies that result from larger volumes. The largest profits and barriers to entry come when the learning curve is steeper than the curve of declining prices. The issue of intellectual property and its ownership is separate from the issue of commoditization. The most profitable companies launch a large number of learning curves and commodities.” Whoa. There’s a lot there to chew on. Profits are best when costs drop faster than prices, as long as prices are dropping. Okay, I get that. Intellectual property—and I guess he means patents and copyrights—can slow how fast prices go down. This can be good for profits but not necessarily good for customers who love falling prices.

See Productivity and wealth Cable companies as political entrepreneurs replacement of service Cameron, James Carnegie, Andrew Cartwright, Edmund Case, Steve Catmull, Ed Cell phone operators versus peer to peer as Thieves versus Wi-Fi Change, Alinsky’s rules Chicago Booth School China, economic rise Chits Cisco Citigroup Civil Rights Act Title VII (1964), Griggs v. Duke Power Cloud computing Apple servers Google Colgate-Palmolive College reunions, on-top groups Collins, Edward K. Command-and-control death of vertical integration wealth creation Commoditization Commodore Conover, Lloyd Coolidge, William David Copyright, weakness of Cost-cutting, Vanderbilt example Craigslist Cramer, Jim Creators types of Cuban, Mark Curtis, Charles Decision making and anchors of stock markets Dell, Michael Diamond, Jared Digg Digital products copyright, limitations of virtual pipes for zero marginal cost of DiLorenzo, Thomas Discrimination, employment tests DNA analysis Drake, Edwin Drew, Daniel Duke Power, Griggs v.

pages: 232 words: 71,024

The Decline and Fall of IBM: End of an American Icon? by Robert X. Cringely

AltaVista, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, business process, cloud computing, commoditize, compound rate of return, corporate raider, full employment, if you build it, they will come, immigration reform, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Paul Graham, platform as a service, race to the bottom, remote working, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application

As this book shows, Rometty has continued to follow the Palmisano playbook at IBM, while Barra just broke a decade-long tradition of secrecy at General Motors to recall 2.6 million faulty cars, and to admit that they should have been recalled years before. Both women take risks, but in this example one is taking a risk on honesty and a new direction, while the other is taking a risk that Sam was right. Sam wasn’t right. IBM could fail on its present course, or just become irrelevant. Information Technology is becoming an increasingly commoditized industry. In time, IBM will have to compete on volume, quality, and cost. This is not something IBM has historically done well. The days of offering unique products and services at a premium price are coming to an end. For IBM to excel in the long term it must adapt to the changing market. In this chapter, I will explore IBM’s current challenges and what I think it should do before it’s too late.

Lousy margins aside, one of IBM’s major value propositions over the years was that it offered an all-inclusive package--hardware, software and the services needed to tie everything together. IBM sold a lot of hardware and software over the years using services as a loss leader. Without services, what’s IBM’s value proposition over Oracle, Microsoft, HP and everyone else? Why pay IBM the big bucks? I’m not disagreeing with your proposition, by the way. IBM could very well become like Oracle. But in a world where both hardware and software are rapidly commoditized, what kind of player will IBM be? Former IBM Employee / April 25, 2012 / 11:50 am IBM will become just a ‘marketing name’ Gerstner merely delayed the inevitable at IBM. He beat out C. Michael Armstrong (career IBMer) for the CEO job because Armstrong advocated breaking up Big Blue. Armstrong, true to his vision, went to be CEO of both Hughes Aircraft and AT&T and broke them up (liberated shareholder equity) and sold off the pieces.

Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities by Thomas H. Davenport

Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, cloud computing, commoditize, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, intermodal, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, recommendation engine, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, sorting algorithm, statistical model, Tesla Model S, text mining, Thomas Davenport

• Is there anyone else in your industry—or related industries—who is investing more than you are in the technology? Chapter_03.indd 84 03/12/13 11:28 AM 4 The Human Side of Big Data I f your goal is to make something good happen with big data in your o ­ rganization, perhaps the most important component is the human one. After all, almost every other major factor of big data production is free or cheap. The software is often open source; the hardware is highly commoditized. The data is often either already lying around within your organization, or obtainable at little cost from, say, the internet. There are exceptions to this pattern, of course. But the humans who do big data work are difficult to find and keep, and expensive. And it’s pretty clear that not much will happen without them. Thus far the primary focus on the human side of big data has involved the data scientists, or the people who produce the ­applications and models.

Figure 5-1 The big data stack App (visua lications lizatio n, BI, an alytic s) Bus (mo iness view viewsdels, , cub es) Appli catio n cod m ov Da ta Data em en t e Platfo rm in frastr uctur e Stora ge Source: SAS Best Practices, 2013. Chapter_05.indd 119 03/12/13 1:04 PM 120 big data @ work Storage There is nothing particularly distinctive about the storage of big data except its low cost. Storing large and diverse amounts of data on disk is becoming more cost-effective as the disk technologies become more commoditized and efficient. Storage in Hadoop environments is typically on multiple disks (solid state storage is still too expensive) attached to commodity servers. Companies like EMC sell storage solutions that allow disks to be added quickly and cheaply, thereby scaling storage in lock-step with growing data volumes. Indeed, many IT managers increasingly see Hadoop as a low-cost alternative for the archival and quick retrieval of large amounts of historical data.

pages: 49 words: 12,968

Industrial Internet by Jon Bruner

autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, commoditize, computer vision, data acquisition, demand response,, factory automation, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, job automation, loose coupling, natural language processing, performance metric, Silicon Valley, slashdot, smart grid, smart meter, statistical model, web application

Among the difficulties in creating truly integrated automotive networks are the long period it takes to refresh the national fleet (it takes about 15 years to refresh 95% of American cars), and the informal means by which they’re maintained and upgraded — in contrast to industrial applications. “The mechanic down the street will need new skills,” says Prasad. “Maybe this is a matter for Code for America[31].” Prasad doesn’t think that the addition of third-party intelligence will commoditize Ford’s cars; instead, it lets Ford focus on building excellent machines. “You have to have excellent hardware and excellent software,” he says. “The software needs a good operating system, the operating system needs good hardware, and the good hardware needs to be connected to an excellent car.” “There are lots of lessons to be learned for designs of internetworked platforms that attract others to add layers,” says Prasad.

pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart,, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Finance is no longer about the case-by-case judgment of financiers, but about how good they are at locking in the best big-data scientists and technologists into exclusive contracts. Politicians target voters using similar algorithms to those that evaluate people for access to credit or insurance. The list goes on and on. As technology advances, Siren Servers will be ever more the objects of the struggle for wealth and power, because they are the only links in the chain that will not be commoditized. If present trends continue, you’ll always be able to seek information supremacy, just as old-fashioned barons could struggle for supremacy over land or natural resources. A new energy cycle will someday make oil much less central to geopolitics, but the information system that manages that new kind of energy could easily become an impregnable castle. The illusory golden vase becomes more and more valuable.

To pretend that a bottom-up approach by itself could have done the same is nuts. The future is not predictable enough to know what kinds of big, inherently top-down jobs will need to get done, but it is extremely unlikely that there will be none. Big data requires big data centers, and big companies build them. Some new niches for big companies are suggested by the notion of a humanistic digital economy, such as the commoditized decision reduction services to be described later on. Other futuristic candidates for jobs for big companies are stabilization of the climate, repositioning earthquakes,* or creating launch structures that make space access inexpensive.† *Gluing existing faults and using explosives to open up new ones in less destructive locations, such as in the oceans, might accomplish this. Yes, this is one of my crazy, speculative side projects.

Then a reader could accumulate interesting combinations of author’s signatures, and the combinations would be intrinsically rare. For instance, one could collect the signatures of all the cyberpunk science fiction authors on one slate. • Books will be merged with apps, video games, virtual worlds, or whatever other digital format becomes prominent. These will make some serious money for authors at first, while they are novel, before the biggest servers commoditize them. • The distribution of book sales will be even more lopsided than in traditional markets. There will be a small number of superwinners and a huge number of vanity authors, with little in between. • Many readers will read what is put in front of their eyes by crowdsourcing algorithms, and often will not be aware of the identity of the author or the boundary between one book and another.

pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

Associated regulations, such as those guiding investment funds and asset management, that have emerged in the wake of the crisis will, like complex bank regulations, perpetuate a capital market with some unfavorable consequences for the nonfinancial economy. Just like the Dodd–Frank Act, new regulations, such as those governing investment managers or insurance companies and their capital management, will standardize and commoditize investment. Part of that is pushing fund managers to increasingly follow general market trends and ratings from credit rating agencies, which have also been regulated in a way that promotes standardization and commoditization. Regulations dress themselves in the language of promoting competition, but the competition they seek is based on the idea of a low-margin, low-spread, high-volume, and commoditized capital market.58 Such capital markets, also characterized by the growing role of intermediaries, will affect the ability of companies to raise funds for long-term investments in innovation on standard capital markets.59 There is a short-termism in modern finance, and the way that gray capitalism has changed both external and internal funding for innovation should concern everyone.60 The changing patterns of investments cut the growth potential of economies.

pages: 757 words: 193,541

The Practice of Cloud System Administration: DevOps and SRE Practices for Web Services, Volume 2 by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup, Christina J. Hogan

active measures, Amazon Web Services, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, business process, cloud computing, commoditize, continuous integration, correlation coefficient, database schema, Debian, defense in depth, delayed gratification, DevOps, domain-specific language,, fault tolerance, finite state, Firefox, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, Infrastructure as a Service, intermodal, Internet of things, job automation, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, load shedding, longitudinal study, loose coupling, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, place-making, platform as a service, premature optimization, recommendation engine, revision control, risk tolerance, side project, Silicon Valley, software as a service, sorting algorithm, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Steven Levy, supply-chain management, Toyota Production System, web application, Yogi Berra

While these surpluses would eventually be exhausted, the temporarily depressed prices helped kickstart the era. The second trend was the commoditization of hardware components used in home computers, such as Intel x86 CPUs, low-end hard drives, and RAM. Before the advent of the web, the average home did not have a computer. The popularity of the Internet created more demand for home computers, resulting in components being manufactured at a scale never before seen. In addition, the popularity of games that required high-end graphics, lots of memory, and fast CPUs was one of the major drivers toward making increasingly higher-end devices available in the consumer market. This mass production led to commoditization and, in turn, lower prices. The price of home PCs came down, but servers still used different components and remained expensive.

Availability Requirements During the dot-bomb era, there were no significant changes in availability requirements. The Internet-based companies that had survived the crash developed a better understanding of their availability requirements and figured out how to meet them without breaking the bank. Technology Three trends enabled the next phase: surplus capacity left over from the previous boom years, the commoditization of hardware, and the maturation of open source software. The first trend was short-lived but significant. A lot of capacity had been built up in the previous boom years and suppliers were slashing prices. Millions of miles of fiber had been laid in the ground and in the oceans to meet the predicted bandwidth needs of the world. With relatively few customers, telecommunications providers were desperate to make deals.

The other chapters in this book reflect the operational practices that make all of the above work. The economics of computing change over time. Faster and more reliable computing technology had a super-linear cost curve in the pre-web and first web eras. The second web era was enabled by linear cost curves. Cloud computing gives us sub-linear cost curves. These changes happened by taking advantage of commoditization and standardization, shifting to open source software, building more reliability through software instead of hardware, and replacing labor-intensive operations with more software. Every order-of-magnitude improvement in the cost of computing enables a new era of applications, each of which was unimaginable just a few years before. Could the person who used an 8-bit computer to balance his or her checkbook in 1983 ever have imagined Facebook or Google Glass?

pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker

4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

/b/tards don’t like it when anyone explains their subculture to NORPs (or normal ordinary respectable person; shorthand for someone whose mind hasn’t been warped by the horrors of 4chan). And while /b/tards are happy to contribute to the memesphere anonymously and for no pay, when someone else starts selling T-shirts, people can get nasty. 4chan thought KYM wanted to commoditize, but we loved this stuff. Most of us had artist backgrounds, who were hyperaware of the market commoditization of culture. That’s not what we wanted for web culture. Of course, it’s not like Know Your Meme was ever hugely profitable (but it was acquired in March 2011 by Ben Huh’s Cheezburger network, so that’s probably going to change). Cheese sees KYM almost as a public service that sustained itself in order to properly archive and analyze stuff that no one in academia seemed willing or able to preserve properly.

pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, IKEA effect, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, private space industry, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

As a result, Manchester’s manufacturing became the envy of the world, and companies everywhere sought to copy its model. Sadly for the local factories, they could. Along with selling clothing, Manchester firms started selling the machines that made them. Companies such as J&R Shorrocks and Platt Brothers, which were famed for their engineering skills, soon were exporting their machinery around the world, where it was copied, enhanced, and otherwise commoditized. By the 1900s, huge textile factories could be found from France to America. Manchester’s mechanical advantages had been matched, and new industrial centers closer to agricultural sources of the raw cotton, especially in the American South, began to take over. Manchester’s factories went through the long-familiar quest to move upstream, with more-fashionable designs, higher quality, branded appeal, and further mechanical innovation.

Although textiles and flatware are long gone, the UK still has a major aerospace industry (British Aerospace, or BAE Systems as it is now called, is the world’s second-largest defense contractor), and its car designs are still world renowned. And then there are innovative consumer product companies such as Dyson, which uses high design and superior engineering to get consumers to pay premium prices in previously stale and commoditized market segments such as vacuums and fans. Manchester’s universities still produce more engineers than universities in any other city in the UK. The skills are there—they’re just looking for new outlets. Maybe one of the dreadlocked design students hovering over the laser cutter in the Manchester Fab Lab will be the next Dyson. Or maybe they’re working on their own, using many of the same tools, now cheap enough for an individual to own.

pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, commoditize, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Urbanism, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional, Zipcar

Television helped reinforce the image of this new utopian suburbia, with shows like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, and Leave It to Beaver depicting this new, happy, middle-class life in its full splendor. The homes themselves were also very different from their predecessors in earlier suburbs. Previously, residential development typically took the form of either custom-built homes for the wealthy or lower-income rental housing. But the post–World War II era brought with it new developments in materials and mass production that lowered costs dramatically and enabled the commoditization of the home-building process. The popularization of these techniques is credited largely to William Levitt, the enterprising young seaman from Long Island who returned after the war to Levitt & Sons, the building company started by his father, Abraham. A successful operation before the war, Levitt & Sons had mostly built custom homes for the upper middle class on Long Island, developing now well-established places like Rockville Centre and Manhasset.

“For literally nothing down—other than a simple two percent and promise to pay, you too can find a box of your own in one of the fresh-air slums we’re building around the edges of American cities,” he wrote. In 1962, the songwriter Malvina Reynolds wrote “Little Boxes,” the now-famous satire of conformist middle-class America and houses made out of “ticky tacky,” the slang term for the materials used in commoditized construction. (The song would much later gain a second life in the mid-2000s as the opening theme song for the Showtime series Weeds.) Pop culture wasn’t the only early critic of suburbia. As early as 1959, land-use experts started to raise concerns about the breakneck pace of development. That year, the Urban Land Institute and the National Association of Home Builders released a sixteen-minute film called Community Growth, Crisis and Challenge, which warned of the negative impacts of what had become known as sprawl.

pages: 293 words: 78,439

Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today's Business While Creating the Future by Scott D. Anthony, Mark W. Johnson

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, diversified portfolio, Internet of things, invention of hypertext, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, obamacare, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, pez dispenser, recommendation engine, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, the market place, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transfer pricing, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Zipcar

It built a line of businesses that produced hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and then in 2009 it spent more than $6 billion to buy Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a company that specialized in business process automation. This is transformation B: creating a new growth engine. Whereas transformation A is often defensive in nature, the disruption that forces it opens opportunities to solve new (but related) problems in different (but related) ways. Put another way, the disruptive forces that threaten to rip apart today’s business create conditions to build tomorrow’s business. A core threat to Xerox was commoditization in its core printer and copier business, a phenomenon driven by globalization and the rise of the internet, which dampened demand for physical solutions. Those same forces created new demand for and allowed Xerox to assemble a portfolio of service offerings under the brand Xerox Global Services (XGS). Chapter 3 describes how succeeding with transformation B requires three actions: identifying a historically constrained market that disruptive forces will open, iteratively developing a business model to win in that market, and acquiring or hiring complementary capabilities to compete successfully against new and emerging competitors.

Clearly, the work to intercept diseases is still in its early stages. Nonetheless, the simultaneous pursuit of two goals—new ways to develop drugs, and a radical reframing of the fundamental problem the organization solves—positions Janssen to drive significant strategic transformation in the years to come. The What and the How of Dual Transformation When Janssen first confronted the challenges of commoditization and sagging performance, it had an array of strategic options. Separating the unique roles of transformation A and transformation B requires, first, a clear and consistent definition of today’s business—a seemingly simple step that is easy to skip. It is easy to describe what a company sells. In the case of Janssen that would be traditional drugs. But as Peter Drucker famously wrote in 1964, “The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it sells him.”

pages: 251 words: 76,225

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, commoditize, desegregation, drone strike,, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, Kickstarter, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Skype, women in the workforce

Why did women have to look perfect in person, or at least perfect in the marketed pin-up? Because women, in many cultures—and in the history of many cultures—are seen as commodities. As objects. Their worth is measured in beauty. Whether you’re selling me your idealized form of yourself or someone else is doing it, the sad fact is that pushing this type of fake bullshit on us is part of a larger history of commoditizing people—whether we are selling ourselves or being sold by others. And yes, people can be sexy in many different ways! That’s true. People are sexy. But this type of representation of “sexy” doesn’t look like actual bedtime sexiness any more than your typical porn movie actually looks like you and your partner(s) getting it on. It’s a trick. It’s marketing. It’s meant to create a desire—for you to want, or to want to aspire to—that only the object can fulfill.

She’d be sitting there with mismatched skin lined in scars and stretch marks and maybe paging through some boxing magazine, fuck-it-all, not interested in you, flabby breasts unbound and spilling onto her stomach. And she couldn’t give a fuck about you. She’s not interested in your problems, or patting you on the head, or giving you some bit of happy luck when you throw yourself from a rooftop crawling with German terrorists. And that’s just the one who doesn’t give a toss for being naked. There are a million other characters who would spit in your face before posing as objects, to be drawn out and commoditized; it would mean rejecting everything they were, everything they believed in, to pose as some perfect, pawed-over item in a stranger’s inventory. I tried to imagine Lilia, the primary protagonist in my new series, with her scarred face and clawed hand and bum leg, whose entire existence has been within a consent culture where people retain absolute autonomy over themselves and their bodies and their desires, getting pitched this idea, and I could just imagine her screwing up her face like, “You want what?”

Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game by Walker Deibel

barriers to entry, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, diversification, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, high net worth, intangible asset, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Peter Thiel, risk tolerance, risk/return, rolodex, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Y Combinator

I try to consider the offering at the highest level; for example, television and books both provide home entertainment, so understanding the trend surrounding substitutes at this level could prove insightful, and perhaps enough to develop a strategy around diversification, if it made sense. BUYER POWER Consider the power customers have to drive prices down. This will show you how much “buyer power” exists in an industry. If there are a few large buyers and many fragmented suppliers, this gives particular strength to the buyers to put suppliers in direct competition against each other in a race to the lowest price. This concept is typically thought of as commoditization. The industry might be ripe for either a disruptive technology or consolidation play—either 187 of which could be executed by an acquisition entrepreneur with the right plan. SUPPLIER POWER Supplier power is the opposite of buyer power. It speaks to how easy it is for the company’s suppliers to increase prices, which in turn increases cost of goods sold and reduces gross margins. How many suppliers are there?

It’s a great opportunity to truly interview buyers and understand both the layout of the industry and the level of pain that the product or service relieves. I like to do a soft close at the end of these meetings. Say something like, “So, you said the value you get from these types of suppliers is X. If X were true at my company, would you consider switching?” This will tell you a lot about how commoditized the industry is and what the value drivers are. You can use your sharpened networking skills from the search phase and reach out to people who own similar companies in different geographic areas as well. 252 Above all, however, respect the confidentiality agreement. The deal is not done until it’s done, and the level of costly damage you could do to a seller is significant if things go a different direction.

pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, John Meriwether, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, the new new thing, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

The spread quickly came in to 5–7 bps pa. Today, it stands at 1–2 bps pa, if you are lucky. Competition is a fine thing. Earnings shrank just as we increased our overheads. The computing and infrastructure needs of running the warehouses were not cheap and the emphasis now shifted to volume. Greater volume was needed to compensate for lower profit margins, volume required greater standardization, products became increasingly ‘commoditized’ and profit margins shrank further. We needed even more volume. It was an accelerating downward spiral. We needed ‘innovation’, we were told. We created increasingly odd products. These obscure structures allowed us to earn higher margins than the cutthroat vanilla business. The structured business also provided flow for our trading desks. The more complex products were stripped down into simpler components that traders hedged.

They liked me, I ‘could add value’ to their structured products business, in particular the improvement of sales practices. They suggested a generous retainer arrangement; I met with them; It was amusing; I didn’t accept the offer and had never intended to. The retainer offer was purely to ensure that I couldn’t act against them. Even scum have principles. The usual suspects Over time, the structured products business went the way of all businesses – the non-standard become standard. In the patois, they were ‘commoditized’. There were esoteric debates about what was now ‘structured’ or DAS_C08.QXP 8/7/06 4:49 PM Page 237 7 N G a m e s w i t h o u t f ro n t i e r s 237 ‘exotic’. The profitability of the business declined as price became the primary basis of competition amongst all the dealers. Smarter investors cunningly played them off to get better deals. Dealers began to seek new ways to improve profitability and started to market structured products directly to retail customers, the widows and orphans of legend.

However, the text is different. 6 ‘What Worries Warren’ (3 March 2003) Fortune. 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 325 Index accounting rules 139, 221, 228, 257 Accounting Standards Board 33 accrual accounting 139 active fund management 111 actuaries 107–10, 205, 289 Advance Corporation Tax 242 agency business 123–4, 129 agency theory 117 airline profits 140–1 Alaska 319 Allen, Woody 20 Allied Irish Bank 143 Allied Lyons 98 alternative investment strategies 112, 308 American Express 291 analysts, role of 62–4 anchor effect 136 Anderson, Rolf 92–4 annuities 204–5 ANZ Bank 277 Aquinas, Thomas 137 arbitrage 33, 38–40, 99, 114, 137–8, 171–2, 245–8, 253–5, 290, 293–6 arbitration 307 Argentina 45 arithmophobia 177 ‘armpit theory’ 303 Armstrong World Industries 274 arrears assets 225 Ashanti Goldfields 97–8, 114 Asian financial crisis (1997) 4, 9, 44–5, 115, 144, 166, 172, 207, 235, 245, 252, 310, 319 asset consultants 115–17, 281 ‘asset growth’ strategy 255 asset swaps 230–2 assets under management (AUM) 113–4, 117 assignment of loans 267–8 AT&T 275 attribution of earnings 148 auditors 144 Australia 222–4, 254–5, 261–2 back office functions 65–6 back-to-back loans 35, 40 backwardation 96 Banca Popolare di Intra 298 Bank of America 298, 303 Bank of International Settlements 50–1, 281 Bank of Japan 220 Bankers’ Trust (BT) 59, 72, 101–2, 149, 217–18, 232, 268–71, 298, 301, 319 banking regulations 155, 159, 162, 164, 281, 286, 288 banking services 34; see also commercial banks; investment banks bankruptcy 276–7 Banque Paribas 37–8, 232 Barclays Bank 121–2, 297–8 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 326 4:44 pm Page 326 Index Baring, Peter 151 Baring Brothers 51, 143, 151–2, 155 ‘Basel 2’ proposal 159 basis risk 28, 42, 274 Bear Stearns 173 bearer eurodollar collateralized securities (BECS) 231–3 ‘behavioural finance’ 136 Berkshire Hathaway 19 Bermudan options 205, 227 Bernstein, Peter 167 binomial option pricing model 196 Bismarck, Otto von 108 Black, Fischer 22, 42, 160, 185, 189–90, 193, 195, 197, 209, 215 Black–Scholes formula for option pricing 22, 185, 194–5 Black–Scholes–Merton model 160, 189–93, 196–7 ‘black swan’ hypothesis 130 Blair, Tony 223 Bogle, John 116 Bohr, Niels 122 Bond, Sir John 148 ‘bond floor’ concept 251–4 bonding 75–6, 168, 181 bonuses 146–51, 244, 262, 284–5 Brady Commission 203 brand awareness and brand equity 124, 236 Brazil 302 Bretton Woods system 33 bribery 80, 303 British Sky Broadcasting (BSB) 247–8 Brittain, Alfred 72 broad index secured trust offerings (BISTROs) 284–5 brokers 69, 309 Brown, Robert 161 bubbles 210, 310, 319 Buconero 299 Buffet, Warren 12, 19–20, 50, 110–11, 136, 173, 246, 316 business process reorganization 72 business risk 159 Business Week 130 buy-backs 249 ‘call’ options 25, 90, 99, 101, 131, 190, 196 callable bonds 227–9, 256 capital asset pricing model (CAPM) 111 capital flow 30 capital guarantees 257–8 capital structure arbitrage 296 Capote, Truman 87 carbon trading 320 ‘carry cost’ model 188 ‘carry’ trades 131–3, 171 cash accounting 139 catastrophe bonds 212, 320 caveat emptor principle 27, 272 Cayman Islands 233–4 Cazenove (company) 152 CDO2 292 Cemex 249–50 chaos theory 209, 312 Chase Manhattan Bank 143, 299 Chicago Board Options Exchange 195 Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) 25–6, 34 chief risk officers 177 China 23–5, 276, 302–4 China Club, Hong Kong 318 Chinese walls 249, 261, 280 chrematophobia 177 Citibank and Citigroup 37–8, 43, 71, 79, 94, 134–5, 149, 174, 238–9 Citron, Robert 124–5, 212–17 client relationships 58–9 Clinton, Bill 223 Coats, Craig 168–9 collateral requirements 215–16 collateralized bond obligations (CBOs) 282 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) 45, 282–99 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 327 Index collateralized fund obligations (CFOs) 292 collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) 283–5, 288 commercial banks 265–7 commoditization 236 commodity collateralized obligations (CCOs) 292 commodity prices 304 Commonwealth Bank of Australia 255 compliance officers 65 computer systems 54, 155, 197–8 concentration risk 271, 287 conferences with clients 59 confidence levels 164 confidentiality 226 Conseco 279–80 contagion crises 291 contango 96 contingent conversion convertibles (co-cos) 257 contingent payment convertibles (co-pays) 257 Continental Illinois 34 ‘convergence’ trading 170 convertible bonds 250–60 correlations 163–6, 294–5; see also default correlations corruption 303 CORVUS 297 Cox, John 196–7 credit cycle 291 credit default swaps (CDSs) 271–84, 293, 299 credit derivatives 129, 150, 265–72, 282, 295, 299–300 Credit Derivatives Market Practices Committee 273, 275, 280–1 credit models 294, 296 credit ratings 256–7, 270, 287–8, 297–8, 304 credit reserves 140 credit risk 158, 265–74, 281–95, 299 327 credit spreads 114, 172–5, 296 Credit Suisse 70, 106, 167 credit trading 293–5 CRH Capital 309 critical events 164–6 Croesus 137 cross-ruffing 142 cubic splines 189 currency options 98, 218, 319 custom repackaged asset vehicles (CRAVEs) 233 daily earning at risk (DEAR) concept 160 Daiwa Bank 142 Daiwa Europe 277 Danish Oil and Natural Gas 296 data scrubbing 142 dealers, work of 87–8, 124–8, 133, 167, 206, 229–37, 262, 295–6; see also traders ‘death swap’ strategy 110 decentralization 72 decision-making, scientific 182 default correlations 270–1 defaults 277–9, 287, 291, 293, 296, 299 DEFCON scale 156–7 ‘Delta 1’ options 243 delta hedging 42, 200 Deming, W.E. 98, 101 Denmark 38 deregulation, financial 34 derivatives trading 5–6, 12–14, 18–72, 79, 88–9, 99–115, 123–31, 139–41, 150, 153, 155, 175, 184–9, 206–8, 211–14, 217–19, 230, 233, 257, 262–3, 307, 316, 319–20; see also equity derivatives Derman, Emmanuel 185, 198–9 Deutsche Bank 70, 104, 150, 247–8, 274, 277 devaluations 80–1, 89, 203–4, 319 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 328 328 Index dilution of share capital 241 DINKs 313 Disney Corporation 91–8 diversification 72, 110–11, 166, 299 dividend yield 243 ‘Dr Evil’ trade 135 dollar premium 35 downsizing 73 Drexel Burnham Lambert (DBL) 282 dual currency bonds 220–3; see also reverse dual currency bonds earthquakes, bonds linked to 212 efficient markets hypothesis 22, 31, 111, 203 electronic trading 126–30, 134 ‘embeddos’ 218 emerging markets 3–4, 44, 115, 132–3, 142, 212, 226, 297 Enron 54, 142, 250, 298 enterprise risk management (ERM) 176 equity capital management 249 equity collateralized obligations (ECOs) 292 equity derivatives 241–2, 246–9, 257–62 equity index 137–8 equity investment, retail market in 258–9 equity investors’ risk 286–8 equity options 253–4 equity swaps 247–8 euro currency 171, 206, 237 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 297 European currency units 93 European Union 247–8 Exchange Rate Mechanism, European 204 exchangeable bonds 260 expatriate postings 81–2 expert witnesses 310–12 extrapolation 189, 205 extreme value theory 166 fads of management science 72–4 ‘fairway bonds’ 225 Fama, Eugene 22, 111, 194 ‘fat tail’ events 163–4 Federal Accounting Standards Board 266 Federal Home Loans Bank 213 Federal National Mortgage Association 213 Federal Reserve Bank 20, 173 Federal Reserve Board 132 ‘Ferraris’ 232 financial engineering 228, 230, 233, 249–50, 262, 269 Financial Services Authority (FSA), Japan 106, 238 Financial Services Authority (FSA), UK 15, 135 firewalls 235–6 firing of staff 84–5 First Interstate Ltd 34–5 ‘flat’ organizations 72 ‘flat’ positions 159 floaters 231–2; see also inverse floaters ‘flow’ trading 60–1, 129 Ford Motors 282, 296 forecasting 135–6, 190 forward contracts 24–33, 90, 97, 124, 131, 188 fugu fish 239 fund management 109–17, 286, 300 futures see forward contracts Galbraith, John Kenneth 121 gamma risk 200–2, 294 Gauss, Carl Friedrich 160–2 General Motors 279, 296 General Reinsurance 20 geometric Brownian motion (GBM) 161 Ghana 98 Gibson Greeting Cards 44 Glass-Steagall Act 34 gold borrowings 132 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 329 Index gold sales 97, 137 Goldman Sachs 34, 71, 93, 150, 173, 185 ‘golfing holiday bonds’ 224 Greenspan, Alan 6, 9, 19–21, 29, 43, 47, 50, 53, 62, 132, 159, 170, 215, 223, 308 Greenwich NatWest 298 Gross, Bill 19 Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corporation (GITIC) 276–7 guaranteed annuity option (GAO) contracts 204–5 Gutenfreund, John 168–9 gyosei shido 106 Haghani, Victor 168 Hamanaka, Yasuo 142 Hamburgische Landesbank 297 Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of 66–7 ‘hara-kiri’ swaps 39 Hartley, L.P. 163 Hawkins, Greg 168 ‘heaven and hell’ bonds 218 hedge funds 44, 88–9, 113–14, 167, 170–5, 200–2, 206, 253–4, 262–3, 282, 292, 296, 300, 308–9 hedge ratio 264 hedging 24–8, 31, 38–42, 60, 87–100, 184, 195–200, 205–7, 214, 221, 229, 252, 269, 281, 293–4, 310 Heisenberg, Werner 122 ‘hell bonds’ 218 Herman, Clement (‘Crem’) 45–9, 77, 84, 309 Herodotus 137, 178 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) 237–8, 286 Hilibrand, Lawrence 168 Hill Samuel 231–2 329 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 189 Homer, Sidney 184 Hong Kong 9, 303–4 ‘hot tubbing’ 311–12 HSBC Bank 148 HSH Nordbank 297–8 Hudson, Kevin 102 Hufschmid, Hans 77–8 IBM 36, 218, 260 ICI 34 Iguchi, Toshihude 142 incubators 309 independent valuation 142 indexed currency option notes (ICONs) 218 India 302 Indonesia 5, 9, 19, 26, 55, 80–2, 105, 146, 219–20, 252, 305 initial public offerings 33, 64, 261 inside information and insider trading 133, 241, 248–9 insurance companies 107–10, 117, 119, 150, 192–3, 204–5, 221, 223, 282, 286, 300; see also reinsurance companies insurance law 272 Intel 260 intellectual property in financial products 226 Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) 285–6 International Accounting Standards 33 International Securities Market Association 106 International Swap Dealers Association (ISDA) 273, 275, 279, 281 Internet stock and the Internet boom 64, 112, 259, 261, 310, 319 interpolation of interest rates 141–2, 189 inverse floaters 46–51, 213–16, 225, 232–3 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 330 330 Index investment banks 34–8, 62, 64, 67, 71, 127–8, 172, 198, 206, 216–17, 234, 265–7, 298, 309 investment managers 43–4 investment styles 111–14 irrational decisions 136 Italy 106–7 Ito’s Lemma 194 Japan 39, 43, 82–3, 92, 94, 98–9, 101, 106, 132, 142, 145–6, 157, 212, 217–25, 228, 269–70 Jensen, Michael 117 Jett, Joseph 143 JP Morgan (company) 72, 150, 152, 160, 162, 249–50, 268–9, 284–5, 299; see also Morgan Guaranty junk bonds 231, 279, 282, 291, 296–7 JWM Associates 175 Kahneman, Daniel 136 Kaplanis, Costas 174 Kassouf, Sheen 253 Kaufman, Henry 62 Kerkorian, Kirk 296 Keynes, J.M. 167, 175, 198 Keynesianism 5 Kidder Peabody 143 Kleinwort Benson 40 Korea 9, 226, 278 Kozeny, Viktor 121 Krasker, William 168 Kreiger, Andy 319 Kyoto Protocol 320 Lavin, Jack 102 law of large numbers 192 Leeson, Nick 51, 131, 143, 151 legal opinions 47, 219–20, 235, 273–4 Leibowitz, Martin 184 Leland, Hayne 42, 202 Lend Lease Corporation 261–2 leptokurtic conditions 163 leverage 31–2, 48–50, 54, 99, 102–3, 114, 131–2, 171–5, 213–14, 247, 270–3, 291, 295, 305, 308 Lewis, Kenneth 303 Lewis, Michael 77–8 life insurance 204–5 Lintner, John 111 liquidity options 175 liquidity risk 158, 173 litigation 297–8 Ljunggren, Bernt 38–40 London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) 6, 37 ‘long first coupon’ strategy 39 Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) 44, 51, 62, 77–8, 84, 114, 166–75, 187, 206, 210, 215–18, 263–4, 309–10 Long Term Credit Bank of Japan 94 LOR (company) 202 Louisiana Purchase 319 low exercise price options (LEPOs) 261 Maastricht Treaty and criteria 106–7 McLuhan, Marshall 134 McNamara, Robert 182 macro-economic indicators, derivatives linked to 319 Mahathir Mohammed 31 Malaysia 9 management consultants 72–3 Manchester United 152 mandatory convertibles 255 Marakanond, Rerngchai 302 margin calls 97–8, 175 ‘market neutral’ investment strategy 114 market risk 158, 173, 265 marketable eurodollar collateralized securities (MECS) 232 Markowitz, Harry 110 mark-to-market accounting 10, 100, 139–41, 145, 150, 174, 215–16, 228, 244, 266, 292, 295, 298 Marx, Groucho 24, 57, 67, 117, 308 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 331 Index mathematics applied to financial instruments 209–10; see also ‘quants’ matrix structures 72 Meckling, Herbert 117 Melamed, Leo 34, 211 merchant banks 38 Meriwether, John 167–9, 172–5 Merrill Lynch 124, 150, 217, 232 Merton, Robert 22, 42, 168–70, 175, 185, 189–90, 193–7, 210 Messier, Marie 247 Metallgesellschaft 95–7 Mexico 44 mezzanine finance 285–8, 291–7 MG Refining and Marketing 95–8, 114 Microsoft 53 Mill, Stuart 130 Miller, Merton 22, 101, 194 Milliken, Michael 282 Ministry of Finance, Japan 222 misogyny 75–7 mis-selling 238, 297–8 Mitchell, Edison 70 Mitchell & Butler 275–6 models financial 42–3, 141–2, 163–4, 173–5, 181–4, 189, 198–9, 205–10 of business processes 73–5 see also credit models Modest, David 168 momentum investment 111 monetization 260–1 monopolies in financial trading 124 moral hazard 151, 280, 291 Morgan Guaranty 37–8, 221, 232 Morgan Stanley 76, 150 mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) 282–3 Moscow, City of 277 moves of staff between firms 150, 244 Mozer, Paul 169 Mullins, David 168–70 multi-skilling 73 331 Mumbai 3 Murdoch, Rupert 247 Nabisco 220 Napoleon 113 NASDAQ index 64, 112 Nash, Ogden 306 National Australia Bank 144, 178 National Rifle Association 29 NatWest Bank 144–5, 198 Niederhoffer, Victor 130 ‘Nero’ 7, 31, 45–9, 60, 77, 82–3, 88–9, 110, 118–19, 125, 128, 292 NERVA 297 New Zealand 319 Newman, Frank 104 news, financial 133–4 News Corporation 247 Newton, Isaac 162, 210 Nippon Credit Bank 106, 271 Nixon, Richard 33 Nomura Securities 218 normal distribution 160–3, 193, 199 Northern Electric 248 O’Brien, John 202 Occam, William 188 off-balance sheet transactions 32–3, 99, 234, 273, 282 ‘offsites’ 74–5 oil prices 30, 33, 89–90, 95–7 ‘omitted variable’ bias 209–10 operational risk 158, 176 opinion shopping 47 options 9, 21–2, 25–6, 32, 42, 90, 98, 124, 197, 229 pricing 185, 189–98, 202 Orange County 16, 44, 50, 124–57, 212–17, 232–3 orphan subsidiaries 234 over-the-counter (OTC) market 26, 34, 53, 95, 124, 126 overvaluation 64 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 332 332 Index ‘overwhelming force’ strategy 134–5 Owen, Martin 145 ownership, ‘legal’ and ‘economic’ 247 parallel loans 35 pari-mutuel auction system 319 Parkinson’s Law 136 Parmalat 250, 298–9 Partnoy, Frank 87 pension funds 43, 108–10, 115, 204–5, 255 People’s Bank of China (PBOC) 276–7 Peters’ Principle 71 petrodollars 71 Pétrus (restaurant) 121 Philippines, the 9 phobophobia 177 Piga, Gustavo 106 PIMCO 19 Plaza Accord 38, 94, 99, 220 plutophobia 177 pollution quotas 320 ‘portable alpha’ strategy 115 portfolio insurance 112, 202–3, 294 power reverse dual currency (PRDC) bonds 226–30 PowerPoint 75 preferred exchangeable resettable listed shares (PERLS) 255 presentations of business models 75 to clients 57, 185 prime brokerage 309 Prince, Charles 238 privatization 205 privity of contract 273 Proctor & Gamble (P&G) 44, 101–4, 155, 298, 301 product disclosure statements (PDSs) 48–9 profit smoothing 140 ‘programme’ issuers 234–5 proprietary (‘prop’) trading 60, 62, 64, 130, 174, 254 publicly available information (PAI) 277 ‘puff’ effect 148 purchasing power parity theory 92 ‘put’ options 90, 131, 256 ‘quants’ 183–9, 198, 208, 294 Raabe, Matthew 217 Ramsay, Gordon 121 range notes 225 real estate 91, 219 regulatory arbitrage 33 reinsurance companies 288–9 ‘relative value’ trading 131, 170–1, 310 Reliance Insurance 91–2 repackaging (‘repack’) business 230–6, 282, 290 replication in option pricing 195–9, 202 dynamic 200 research provided to clients 58, 62–4, 184 reserves, use of 140 reset preference shares 254–7 restructuring of loans 279–81 retail equity products 258–9 reverse convertibles 258–9 reverse dual currency bonds 223–30 ‘revolver’ loans 284–5 risk, financial, types of 158 risk adjusted return on capital (RAROC) 268, 290 risk conservation principle 229–30 risk management 65, 153–79, 184, 187, 201, 267 risk models 163–4, 173–5 riskless portfolios 196–7 RJ Reynolds (company) 220–1 rogue traders 176, 313–16 Rosenfield, Eric 168 Ross, Stephen 196–7, 202 Roth, Don 38 Rothschild, Mayer Amshel 267 Royal Bank of Scotland 298 Rubinstein, Mark 42, 196–7 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 333 Index Rumsfeld, Donald 12, 134, 306 Rusnak, John 143 Russia 45, 80, 166, 172–3, 274, 302 sales staff 55–60, 64–5, 125, 129, 217 Salomon Brothers 20, 36, 54, 62, 167–9, 174, 184 Sandor, Richard 34 Sanford, Charles 72, 269 Sanford, Eugene 269 Schieffelin, Allison 76 Scholes, Myron 22, 42, 168–71, 175, 185, 189–90, 193–7, 263–4 Seagram Group 247 Securities and Exchange Commission, US 64, 304 Securities and Futures Authority, UK 249 securitization 282–90 ‘security design’ 254–7 self-regulation 155 sex discrimination 76 share options 250–1 Sharpe, William 111 short selling 30–1, 114 Singapore 9 single-tranche CDOs 293–4, 299 ‘Sisters of Perpetual Ecstasy’ 234 SITCOMs 313 Six Continents (6C) 275–6 ‘smile’ effect 145 ‘snake’ currency system 203 ‘softing’ arrangements 117 Solon 137 Soros, George 44, 130, 253, 318–19 South Sea Bubble 210 special purpose asset repackaging companies (SPARCs) 233 special purpose vehicles (SPVs) 231–4, 282–6, 290, 293 speculation 29–31, 42, 67, 87, 108, 130 ‘spinning’ 64 333 Spitzer, Eliot 64 spread 41, 103; see also credit spreads stack hedges 96 Stamenson, Michael 124–5 standard deviation 161, 193, 195, 199 Steinberg, Sol 91 stock market booms 258, 260 stock market crashes 42–3, 168, 203, 257, 259, 319 straddles or strangles 131 strategy in banking 70 stress testing 164–6 stripping of convertible bonds 253–4 structured investment products 44, 112, 115, 118, 128, 211–39, 298 structured note asset packages (SNAPs) 233 Stuart SC 18, 307, 316–18 Styblo Bleder, Tanya 153 Suharto, Thojib 81–2 Sumitomo Corporation 100, 142 Sun Tzu 61 Svensk Exportkredit (SEK) 38–9 swaps 5–10, 26, 35–40, 107, 188, 211; see also equity swaps ‘swaptions’ 205–6 Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) 248–9 Swiss banks 108, 305 ‘Swiss cheese theory’ 176 synthetic securitization 284–5, 288–90 systemic risk 151 Takeover Panel 248–9 Taleb, Nassim 130, 136, 167 target redemption notes 225–6 tax and tax credits 171, 242–7, 260–3 Taylor, Frederick 98, 101 team-building exercises 76 team moves 149 technical analysis 60–1, 135 television programmes about money 53, 62–3 Thailand 9, 80, 302–5 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 334 334 Index Thatcher, Margaret 205 Thorp, Edward 253 tobashi trades 105–7 Tokyo Disneyland 92, 212 top managers 72–3 total return swaps 246–8, 269 tracking error 138 traders in financial products 59–65, 129–31, 135–6, 140, 148, 151, 168, 185–6, 198; see also dealers trading limits 42, 157, 201 trading rooms 53–4, 64, 68, 75–7, 184–7, 208 Trafalgar House 248 tranching 286–9, 292, 296 transparency 26, 117, 126, 129–30, 310 Treynor, Jack 111 trust investment enhanced return securities (TIERS) 216, 233 trust obligation participating securities (TOPS) 232 TXU Europe 279 UBS Global Asset Management 110, 150, 263–4, 274 uncertainty principle 122–3 unique selling propositions 118 unit trusts 109 university education 187 unspecified fund obligations (UFOs) 292 ‘upfronting’ of income 139, 151 Valéry, Paul 163 valuation 64, 142–6 value at risk (VAR) concept 160–7, 173 value investing 111 Vanguard 116 vanity bonds 230 variance 161 Vietnam War 182, 195 Virgin Islands 233–4 Vivendi 247–8 volatility of bond prices 197 of interest rates 144–5 of share prices 161–8, 172–5, 192–3, 199 Volcker, Paul 20, 33 ‘warehouses’ 40–2, 139 warrants arbitrage 99–101 weather, bonds linked to 212, 320 Weatherstone, Dennis 72, 268 Weil, Gotscal & Manges 298 Weill, Sandy 174 Westdeutsche Genosenschafts Zentralbank 143 Westminster Group 34–5 Westpac 261–2 Wheat, Allen 70, 72, 106, 167 Wojniflower, Albert 62 World Bank 4, 36, 38 World Food Programme 320 Worldcom 250, 298 Wriston, Walter 71 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) contracts 28–30 yield curves 103, 188–9, 213, 215 yield enhancement 112, 213, 269 ‘yield hogs’ 43 zaiteku 98–101, 104–5 zero coupon bonds 221–2, 257–8

Howard Rheingold by The Virtual Community Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier-Perseus Books (1993)

Apple II, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, experimental subject, George Gilder, global village, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, license plate recognition, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, The Great Good Place, The Hackers Conference, urban decay, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, young professional

For the early centuries of American history, until the telegraph made it possible to create what we know as news and sell the readers of newspapers to advertisers, the public sphere did rely on an astonishingly literate population. Neil Postman, in his book about the way television has changed the nature of public discourse, Amusing Ourselves to Death, notes that Thomas Paine's Common Sense sold three hundred thousand copies in five months in 1775. Contemporary observers have documented and analyzed the way mass media ("one to many" media) have "commoditized" the public sphere, substituting slick public relations for genuine debate and packaging both issues and candidates like other consumer products. The political significance of CMC lies in its capacity to challenge the existing political hierarchy's monopoly on powerful communications media, and perhaps thus revitalize citizen-based democracy. The way image-rich, sound-bite-based commercial media have co-opted political discourse among citizens is part of a political problem that communications technologies have posed for democracy for decades.

A politician is now a commodity, citizens are consumers, and issues are decided via sound-bites and staged events. The television camera is the only spectator that counts at a political demonstration or convention. According to Habermas and others, 26-04-2012 21:46 howard rheingold's | the virtual community 11 de 26 the way the new media have been commoditized through this evolutionary process from hand-printed broadside to telegraph to penny press to mass media has led to the radical deterioration of the public sphere. The consumer society has become the accepted model both for individual behavior and political decision making. Discourse degenerated into publicity, and publicity used the increasing power of electronic media to alter perceptions and shape beliefs.

The great power of the idea of electronic democracy is that technical trends in communications technologies can help citizens break the monopoly on their attention that has been enjoyed by the powers behind the broadcast paradigm--the owners of television networks, newspaper syndicates, and publishing conglomerates. The great weakness of the idea of electronic democracy is that it can be more easily commodified than explained. The commercialization and commoditization of public discourse is only one of the grave problems posed by the increasing sophistication of communications media. The Net that is a marvelous lateral network can also be used as a kind of invisible yet inescapable cage. The idea of malevolent political leaders with their hands on the controls of a Net raises fear of a more direct assault on liberties. Caught in the Net: CMC and the Ultimate Prison In 1791, Jeremy Bentham proposed, in <Panopticon; or, the Inspection House, that it was possible to build a mechanism for enforcing a system of social control into the physical structure of a building, which he called the Panopticon.

pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix,, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

We have access to more facts than ever before, so we can see more convincingly than ever before that facts are not doing the job we hired them for. Let me stress that the old role of facts does not vanish from the Net. Scientists still establish facts as in the old days, thankfully. Policy debates continue to try to ground their conclusions in facts, although as always there are fierce arguments over which facts are relevant and what to make of them. And, importantly, the realm of commoditized facts—facts that a large community of belief accepts as not worth arguing about—is growing, as is access to those facts: Anyone with a Web browser can get a figure for the population of Pittsburgh that for almost all conceivable purposes will count as reliable enough. But push on a fact hard enough, and you’ll find someone contradicting it. Try to use facts to ground an argument, and you’ll find links to those who disagree with you all the way down to the ground.

See Greece, ancient The Atlantic magazine Austin, John Autonomy Bacon, Francis Baillet, Adrien Balance in the media Barnacles, Darwin’s study of Basics of knowledge system Belief Internet challenging knowledge as subset of BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos Ben Gharbia, Sami Bentham, Jeremy Berners-Lee, Tim The Best and the Brightest (Halberstam) Bible Binfield, Peter Biographies of living persons (BLPs) Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering journal Birkerts, Sven Birthers Blanchard, Heather Blane, Gilbert Blind shear ram Blogs information overload linking within scientific crowdsourcing Bonabeau, Eric Books and book publishing book-shaped thought information filtering information overload limitations of linked knowledge long-form thinking making the past present narrow focus and limitations of network-based expertise and On the Origin of Species Boston Globe Boundary-free information boyd, danah Boyle, Alan Bradley, Jean-Claude Brahe, Tycho Brand, Stewart Brilliant, Larry Bringsjord, Selmer Britain child labor laws contests crowdsourcing open government statistical support for Bentham’s ideas British Petroleum (BP) oil spill Brookings Institution Brown, Michael Burgess, Anthony Business sector consulting firms Primary Insight CALDOL (Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning) CamClickr Canfield, Cass Carr, Nicholas The Case for Books (Darnton) The Case for Pluto (Boyle) Castilla-Rubio, Juan Carlos Cenkl, Michal Census, US Cerf, Bennett Challenger Space Shuttle Chameleon studies Change, Peter Channel capacity “Chaos in the Brickyard,” Chaucer, Geoffrey Chess expertise Children child labor parenting experts Chimney sweeps Chronicle of Higher Education Cisco Citizen-experts Civil Rights Act (1964) Clark, Ryan Class systems: Malthusian theory of population growth Cleveland, Grover Cleveland, Harlan Climate change Clinical trials Clinton, Bill Coffee Coffee Shop of Reason Cognitive surplus Comenius, Jan Amos Commoditized facts Communities, knowledge flourishing in Complexity Contests Cooley, Michael Cooper, Ashley Corruption of knowledge Creationism Creative Commons. See Science at Creative Commons Crick, Francis Crisis of knowledge Crowds Crowdsourcing information amateur scientists British Parliamentarians’ use of expertise and leadership effectiveness Netflix contest open-notebook science Culture, information overload and Cybercascades Cyberchiefs: Autonomy and Authority in Online Tribes (O’Neil) Darnton, Robert DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Darwin, Charles amateur scientists’ contributions barnacle studies and insight and leap of thought long-form thinking science and publishing Data accuracy of published data crowdsourcing scientific and medical information data commons evaluating metadata information and overaccumulation of scientific data scientific knowledge Data-information-knowledge-wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy Davis, John Debian Decision-making advantages of networked corporate and government networked decision-making Debian community Dickover’s social solutions facing reality Wikipedia policy Defaults Democracy echo chambers hiding knowledge and increasing group polarization reason, truth, and knowledge Denney, Reuel Deolalikar, Vinay Derrida, Jacques Descartes, René Dialogue, exploring diversity through Dickens, Charles Dickover, Noel Diderot, Denis The Difference (Page) Discourses Diversity appropriate scoping decreasing intelligence echo chambers forking moderating negative effects of of expertise race and gender respectful conversations over DNA Dr.

pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk,, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

As shown in the chart below, retail, transportation and technology are currently the biggest industries. Non-ownership, then, is the key to owning the future—except, of course, when it comes to scarce resources and assets. As noted above, Tesla owns its own factories and Amazon its own warehouses. When the asset in question is rare or extremely scarce, then ownership is a better option. But if your asset is information-based or commoditized at all, then accessing is better than possessing. Why Important? Dependencies or Prerequisites • Allows scalable products • Lowers marginal cost of supply • Removes having to manage assets • Increases agility • Abundance or easily available assets • Interfaces Engagement User engagement techniques, such as sweepstakes, quizzes, coupons, airline miles and loyalty cards have been around for a long time.

Indeed, the rate of change is so high everywhere these days that you now must assume that someone will disrupt you, and often from a direction you least expect. As Steve Forbes sees it, “You have to disrupt yourself or others will do it for you.” This applies to every market, geography and industry. A century ago, competition was mainly driven by production. Forty years ago, marketing became dominant. And now, in the Internet era, as production and marketing have been commoditized and democratized, it is all about ideas and ideals. Marketing has increasingly become product innovation—i.e., a good product sells itself. As young people and startups have plenty of ideals and ideas, the competitive advantage—as well as the field of competition—migrates towards their game and strong points. This is one of the key reasons why disruption today is more likely to come from startups than from existing direct competitors.

pages: 286 words: 82,065

Curation Nation by Rosenbaum, Steven

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation,, future of journalism, Jason Scott:, means of production, PageRank, pattern recognition, post-work, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, Yogi Berra

Döpfner said that given the choice between free beer or paid beer, the thirsty would drink the free beer if they’re both good quality. He’s brewing better beer and wants to charge, but Huffington is giving away his brew. But he misses one key point: Huffington Post’s distribution system doesn’t need his content; there are plenty of other beer-makers happy to stock her shelves. Döpfner believes his content is unique, while Huffington sees it as little more than commoditized data. Huffington isn’t shy about the tsunami of change that’s coming to media as result of her linked economy. After all, putting your head in the sand won’t do anything other than leave you with an ear that is full of sand. According to Huffington, “The answer of the mainstream media can’t be to huff and puff to try to blow down news aggregators. If they got what they wished for, it would be a one-way ticket to oblivion because they would lose huge chunks of traffic driven to their sites.”

Flipboard takes value away from publishers, making them one of many data streams. Scoble agrees with Cuban, but only up to a point: “Cuban is right that the value proposition is shifting, but to say that they are vampires is wrong. Flipboard adds a huge amount of value to me. And when people add value to my life, I don’t call them vampires.” It’s a stark disagreement, with curation fans and foes taking sides. But the argument is kind of moot. Content is going to become commoditized, and sites and publishers that have audience trust will need to become curators to remain relevant and keep the traffic and audience engagement they need to survive. Cuban can opine as much as he wants, but it won’t change what the world looks like in five years. But of course that doesn’t stop him. Cuban’s advice to content creators: cut off the aggregators at the knees. Throw the switch. Don’t let your content be crawled or curated.

pages: 320 words: 86,372

Mythology of Work: How Capitalism Persists Despite Itself by Peter Fleming

1960s counterculture, anti-work, call centre, clockwatching, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, David Graeber, Etonian, future of work, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, neoliberal agenda, Parkinson's law, post-industrial society, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Results Only Work Environment, shareholder value, social intelligence, The Chicago School, transaction costs, wealth creators, working poor

It is a basic feature of class recomposition following the decline of Fordism. The repudiation of public goods and the Fordist labour–capital compact from the 1980s onwards heralded a new employment paradigm based upon pure marketization. However, if an organization applied the tenets of neoliberalism to the letter (i.e. unadulterated individual competition, private property, little ‘free’ cooperation and pure commoditization) the system would grind to a halt – especially the workplace. This is why the collective self-reliance of the workforce – often euphemized as flexibility – is so important to the exploitation process today. Here is another example, this time set amidst a newspaper exposé concerning the joys of being a small business owner: James no longer sees any distinction between his work and personal life, but sees this as a good thing, ‘It’s like a continuum, I just happen to be doing different activities at different times.’

Once the commodity form has attained regulative dominance (i.e. real subsumption), everything and anything can be inserted as content, from radical chic obscenities to revolutionary pornography, to the most poignant critique of capitalism posted on the Google Lecture Series. Content is transposed through an indomitable formalization in which it becomes yet another empty gesture, marketing gimmick or simulated lifestyle with no real connection to social release other than that of the senses. It is in this way that the commodification process arrests the shared sympathies between content and form. However, there is one thing that cannot be commoditized: the commodity’s absence from its own generative form. That particular lack is beyond the commodity’s conditions of possibility. It is unable to recover any exchange value from that gaping non-presence. Here we arrive at the intractable limit of the commodity form. We can apply the same rationale to approaching the restorative limits of neoliberal co-optation, especially pertaining to criticism and the universal injunction to work.

pages: 198 words: 20,852

Bootstrap by Jake Spurlock

commoditize, Kickstarter, pull request

If they did, software would be easier to develop and debug, but more important—it would be easier to use. If there was only one way to create menus, then once a user learned how to use the menus of one app, he would already know how to use the menus of all others. The same is true with scrollbars, windows, the keyboard, the mouse, printing, and sound. The reason programmers didn’t like it, (and I was one of them) was that they took what we did and commoditized it. Further, there were limits to the one-size-fits-all approach. There were some apps that didn’t take to the UI standards very well. What to do about them? Well, you adapted, that’s what you did. This is a well-known technical process called factoring. If you see yourself doing something over and over, do it one more time really well, work on the API so it’s easy and flexible, and that’s it.

pages: 319 words: 89,477

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown

Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk,, future of work, game design, George Gilder, intangible asset, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, old-boy network, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs

Since pull platforms are designed to easily accommodate new participants and to create new value in innovative ways, they tend to generate positive-sum reward systems for participants. The innovation of each participant enhances the overall value of the platform, creating a larger pool of rewards that can be distributed among the participants. As pull platforms attract additional participants, they also encourage more specialization of capability so that diverse niches emerge and evolve, reducing head-to-head competition and commoditization. Positive-sum reward systems reduce the perceived need for political maneuvering, and the opportunity to connect on a peer-to-peer basis with resource owners diminishes the role of the center as a focus for resource allocation. Because pull platforms can be flexibly configured to serve the individual needs and interests of each participant, they provide much greater opportunity for intrinsic rewards as a key motivator for participation.

For example, one common error that participants make is simply to focus on the number of participants declaring support for a given shaping strategy rather than looking beyond that at the level of investment being made by these participants in the shaping platform relative to the investments being made in other platforms. Second, participants must be clear about their ability to create viable niches that are truly differentiated and offer the opportunity for significant growth and profitability within the broader shaping ecosystems. As already mentioned, platforms can level a playing field and increase the potential for commoditization, so it is critical to determine how one can play on that level playing field and continue to offer differentiated value. Third, participants must foster a learning disposition. The power of shaping ecosystems lies in their ability to become fertile ground for extraordinary distributed innovation. There is an opportunity for all participants to learn much more rapidly by participating in these ecosystems.

pages: 313 words: 92,053

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, megastructure, more computing power than Apollo, Oculus Rift, Peter Eisenman, RFID, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, sentiment analysis, smart cities, starchitect, the built environment, theory of mind, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen

At the same time that work in psychology was beginning to revolutionize ideas about how we understood the world given to our senses, other kinds of changes in economics, mostly related to industrialization and mass production, were changing the way in which workers were viewed. As employees on factory floors were becoming increasingly treated as commodities, so were their perceptual systems, and especially their ability to use these systems to complete routine tasks. In other words, the human ability to pay attention was also becoming commoditized. Indeed, though we may have mistakenly mythologized Thomas Edison as the inventor of the light bulb, his real genius lay in his understanding the vital connection between the organization of the human mind and the principles of mass production. Just as Edison understood the value of a nimble and plentiful power grid to large-scale industry, he could not have failed to notice that the proper application of scientific principles to the worker himself would yield productive advantages.

Indeed, some have argued that over the past century, wholesale changes to built settings throughout much of the world have been at play in which the spaces through which we roam have been bent roughly and forcefully into a shape conducive to promote the impulse to buy of the well-heeled and excluding those with little or nothing to trade. Our environment, including most of our public space has been commoditized. With the advent of more refined technology that can collect and store information about our habits, actions, and feelings both at the individual and the aggregate level, we have designed an environment that can follow us from place to place and invade our innermost selves. Wittingly or not, some of these environmental adaptations, built in the service of commerce, effectively jack into our brains, accessing primitive neural circuitry that evolved to help us cope with unstable environments; however, in an environment of plenty, they can make it difficult for us to deny a base impulse to consume much more than we need or to engage in risky, potentially calamitous behaviors.

pages: 372 words: 89,876

The Connected Company by Dave Gray, Thomas Vander Wal

A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, disruptive innovation,, factory automation, Googley, index card, industrial cluster, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, low cost airline, market design, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, profit maximization, Richard Florida, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Vanguard fund, web application, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

A Wake-up Call at Starbucks In February 2007, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz sat down to write a difficult memo. Schultz, always in the habit of visiting stores around the world, had noticed that the Starbucks experience was deteriorating. And in 2006, Starbucks’ legendary growth had started to slow. The amount of money customers were spending was starting to dip. In his 2007 memo, “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience,” Schultz laid out his concerns. Espresso machines, which increased efficiency, were too tall; they created a wall that blocked the line of sight between customers and baristas, a barrier to conversation and connection. Flavor-locked packaging, which guaranteed fresh roasted coffee in every cup, also made the stores more antiseptic, depriving them of their rich, flavorful, coffee aromas.

We tend to design organizations by splitting them into divisions. We divide the business—and the labor—in order to do work more efficiently. We put the software developers together so they can focus on software; we put the salespeople together so they can focus on selling and learn from each other; and so on. Sounds obvious, yes? And it’s very efficient. But as we move into a world where efficiency leads to commoditization, and where value will increasingly be driven by innovation, efficiency is no longer the overarching goal. How can you divide the labor in your organization to optimize for innovation rather than efficiency? The answer is to supplement divisional thinking with another approach: podular organization. In a divisional organization (the kind we are all familiar with), you divide the labor into functions and specialties.

pages: 915 words: 232,883

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

air freight, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fixed income, game design, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Jony Ive, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, profit maximization, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

The iTunes Store should offer a digital “boxed set” of every Dylan song every recorded, more than seven hundred in all, for $199. Jobs would be the curator of Dylan for the digital age. But Andy Lack of Sony, which was Dylan’s label, was in no mood to make a deal without some serious concessions regarding iTunes. In addition, Lack felt the price was too low and would cheapen Dylan. “Bob is a national treasure,” said Lack, “and Steve wanted him on iTunes at a price that commoditized him.” It got to the heart of the problems that Lack and other record executives were having with Jobs: He was getting to set the price points, not them. So Lack said no. “Okay, then I will call Dylan directly,” Jobs said. But it was not the type of thing that Dylan ever dealt with, so it fell to his agent, Jeff Rosen, to sort things out. “It’s a really bad idea,” Lack told Rosen, showing him the numbers.

Apple took out many patents for the design, most crediting Ive, but on one of them, for “a computer system having a movable assembly attached to a flat panel display,” Jobs listed himself as the primary inventor. In hindsight, some of Apple’s Macintosh designs may seem a bit too cute. But other computer makers were at the other extreme. It was an industry that you’d expect to be innovative, but instead it was dominated by cheaply designed generic boxes. After a few ill-conceived stabs at painting on blue colors and trying new shapes, companies such as Dell, Compaq, and HP commoditized computers by outsourcing manufacturing and competing on price. With its spunky designs and its pathbreaking applications like iTunes and iMovie, Apple was about the only place innovating. Intel Inside Apple’s innovations were more than skin-deep. Since 1994 it had been using a microprocessor, called the PowerPC, that was made by a partnership of IBM and Motorola. For a few years it was faster than Intel’s chips, an advantage that Apple touted in humorous commercials.

“We spend lots of effort to make our platform better, and the developer doesn’t get any benefit if Adobe only works with functions that every platform has. So we said that we want developers to take advantage of our better features, so that their apps work better on our platform than they work on anybody else’s.” On that he was right. Losing the ability to differentiate Apple’s platforms—allowing them to become commoditized like HP and Dell machines—would have meant death for the company. There was, in addition, a more personal reason. Apple had invested in Adobe in 1985, and together the two companies had launched the desktop publishing revolution. “I helped put Adobe on the map,” Jobs claimed. In 1999, after he returned to Apple, he had asked Adobe to start making its video editing software and other products for the iMac and its new operating system, but Adobe refused.

pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

Similarly, the moment is arriving for many other kinds of organizations to think more expansively about how machines and humans will work together, and formulate augmentation strategies. The technologies are maturing rapidly, and big vendors like IBM are signing deals and issuing press releases about them at a rapid rate. One or more of your organization’s competitors probably has a project under way. In some industries, like insurance (which is right up there with mining in its early adoption), automated decision-making is already becoming pervasive and commoditized. So it’s time for serious thinking above the level of the “one-off” application about what can be done with these tools, how people will work alongside them, and how to achieve the maximum level of organizational advantage from them. Throughout this book, we’ve laid the emphasis on equipping individual knowledge workers themselves to adjust to and prosper in a world of smart machines. But we’ve also repeatedly said that large employers and their managers must create the organizational context for augmentation.

(HCL Technologies’ longtime leader, Vineet Nayar, for example, passionately believes in it, as detailed in his book Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down.) Rather, most companies will come around to augmentation as they begin to understand it is the only path to sustainable competitive advantage. That process might start as they recognize the self-defeating nature of replacing people with machines. In simplest terms, opting for an automation-oriented strategy means entering yourself in a race toward the zero-margin reality of commoditized work. If you’re using automation to do the same things your people were doing, only faster, chances are good that your competitors will follow suit. And vendors and consultants will be only too happy to provide automated solutions to the entire industry. You will end up offering the same products and services as your competitors. Your costs will go down, but so will everybody else’s. Sooner or later someone will decide that they can pass some of the savings along to customers, and everyone’s profits will fall.

pages: 371 words: 108,317

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game

That leaves the big question in an age of cheap plentitude: What is really valuable? Paradoxically, our attention to commodities is not worth much. Our monkey mind is cheaply hijacked. The remaining scarcity in an abundant society is the type of attention that is not derived or focused on commodities. The only things that are increasing in cost while everything else heads to zero are human experiences—which cannot be copied. Everything else becomes commoditized and filterable. The value of experience is rising. Luxury entertainment is increasing 6.5 percent annually. Spending at restaurants and bars increased 9 percent in 2015 alone. The price of the average concert ticket has increased by nearly 400 percent from 1981 to 2012. Ditto for the price of health care in the United States. It rose 400 percent from 1982 to 2014. The average U.S. rate for babysitting is $15 per hour, twice the minimum wage.

Not as slave masters, but as a mirror. We’ll listen to the suggestions and recommendations that are generated by our own behavior in order to hear, to see who we are. The hundred million lines of code running on the million servers of the intercloud are filtering, filtering, filtering, helping us to distill ourselves to a unique point, to optimize our personality. The fears that technology makes us more uniform, more commoditized are incorrect. The more we are personalized, the easier it is for the filters because we become distinct, an actualized distinction they can reckon with. At its heart, the modern economy runs on distinction and the power of differences—which can be accentuated by filters and technology. We can use the mass filtering that is coming to sharpen who we are, for the personalization of our own person.

pages: 401 words: 109,892

The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets by Thomas Philippon

airline deregulation, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, commoditize, crack epidemic, cross-subsidies, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, gig economy, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, intangible asset, inventory management, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, law of one price, liquidity trap, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, price discrimination, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

Based on this evidence, Kwoka criticizes the weakening on merger reviews in the US over the past twenty years. This led to a sharp debate among antitrust experts.f Competition can take many forms, making IO a complicated field in economics. Moreover, as the economy develops, the variety of goods and services expands. A bit more than a century ago, Standard Oil produced a commoditized product, and the antitrust case was relatively simple. In most modern cases of antitrust, however, the product is not commoditized, and market power depends on a host of forces beyond the simple restriction of supply. In the telecom industry, for instance, competition takes place not only with prices but also with the bundling of services (phone, internet, TV) and the quality of the components. This complexity, together with the lobbying efforts of the industry, makes it difficult for experts to agree, and I expect the debate to continue over individual cases.

pages: 612 words: 187,431

The Art of UNIX Programming by Eric S. Raymond

A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, combinatorial explosion, commoditize, correlation coefficient, David Brooks, Debian, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, finite state, general-purpose programming language, George Santayana, Innovator's Dilemma, job automation, Larry Wall, MVC pattern, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, premature optimization, pre–internet, publish or perish, revision control, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Steven Levy, transaction costs, Turing complete, Valgrind, wage slave, web application

To make matters worse, the big new players in the Unix market promptly committed major strategic blunders. One was to seek advantage by product differentiation — a tactic which resulted in the interfaces of different Unixes diverging. This threw away cross-platform compatibility and fragmented the Unix market. The other, subtler error was to behave as if personal computers and Microsoft were irrelevant to Unix's prospects. Sun Microsystems failed to see that commoditized PCs would inevitably become an attack on its workstation market from below. AT&T, fixated on minicomputers and mainframes, tried several different strategies to become a major player in computers, and badly botched all of them. A dozen small companies formed to support Unix on PCs; all were underfunded, focused on selling to developers and engineers, and never aimed at the business and home market that Microsoft was targeting.

Or, equivalently, the low-end/high-volume hardware technology almost always ends up climbing the power curve and winning. The economist Clayton Christensen calls this disruptive technology and showed in The Innovator's Dilemma [Christensen] how this happened with disk drives, steam shovels, and motorcycles. We saw it happen as minicomputers displaced mainframes, workstations and servers replaced minis, and commodity Intel machines replaced workstations and servers. The open-source movement is winning by commoditizing software. To prosper, Unix needs to maintain the knack of co-opting the cheap plastic solution rather than trying to fight it. Finally, the old-school Unix community failed in its efforts to be “professional” by welcoming in all the command machinery of conventional corporate organization, finance, and marketing. We had to be rescued from our folly by a rebel alliance of obsessive geeks and creative misfits—who then proceeded to show us that professionalism and dedication really meant what we had been doing before we succumbed to the mundane persuasions of “sound business practices”.

Most of Unix's pre-1980 competitors were tied to a single hardware platform, and died with that platform. One reason VMS survived long enough to merit inclusion here as a case study is that it was successfully ported from its original VAX hardware to the Alpha processor (and in 2003 is being ported from Alpha to Itanium). MacOS successfully made the jump from the Motorola 68000 to PowerPC chips in the late 1980s. Microsoft Windows escaped this problem by being in the right place when commoditization flattened the market for general-purpose computers into a PC monoculture. From 1980 on, another particular weakness continually reemerges as a theme in different systems that Unix either steamrollered or outlasted: an inability to support networking gracefully. In a world of pervasive networking, even an operating system designed for single-user use needs multiuser capability (multiple privilege groups) — because without that, any network transaction that can trick a user into running malicious code will subvert the entire system (Windows macro viruses are only the tip of this iceberg).

pages: 607 words: 185,487

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott

agricultural Revolution, business cycle, clean water, colonial rule, commoditize, deskilling, facts on the ground, germ theory of disease, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, new economy, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit maximization, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, stochastic process, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

The geometrical clarity of Jefferson's proposal was not merely an aesthetic choice; he claimed that irregular lots facilitated fraud. To reinforce his case, he cited the experience of Massachusetts, where actual landholdings were 10 percent to 100 percent greater than what had been granted by deed.1°° Not only did the regularity of the grid create legibility for the taxing authority, but it was a convenient and cheap way to package land and market it in homogeneous units. The grid facilitated the commoditization of land as much as the calculation of taxes and boundaries. Administratively, it was also disarmingly simple. Land could be registered and titled from a distance by someone who possessed virtually no local knowledge.10' Once it was in place, the scheme had some of the impersonal, mechanical logic of the foresters' tables. But in practice, land titling in Jefferson's plan (which was modified by Congress to provide for rectangular lots and townships that were thirtysix square miles) did not always follow the prescribed pattern. 7.

For a remarkably thoughtful and thorough examination of how the colonial legal code transformed land-dispute settlement, land tenure, and social structure, see Sally Falk Moore, Social Facts and Fabrications: "Customary" Law on Mount Kilimanjaro, 1880-1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). 94. The combination of a complete cadastral register, freehold tenure, and a national market in land makes for a level of legibility that is as advantageous to the land speculator as it is to the tax collector. Commoditization in general, by denom inating all goods and services according to a common currency, makes for what Tilly has called the "visibility [of] a commercial economy." He writes, "In an economy where only a small share of goods and services are bought and sold, a number of conditions prevail: collectors of revenue are unable to observe or evaluate resources with any accuracy, [and] many people have claims on any particular resource" (Coercion, Capital, and European States, pp. 89, 85). 95.

Porter shows convincingly how "mechanical objectivity" has served as a means for bureaucracies, especially in democracies where expert judgment and expertise are always suspected of masking self-serving motives, to create an impersonal set of decision rules at once seemingly democratic and neutral. 102. Quoted in Kain and Biagent, The Cadastral Map, p. 320. 103. Students of these matters will perhaps wonder why I have not dealt with the simplification of time. The rationalization and commoditization of linear time in work and administration do indeed form a companion story, which I did not take up here because it would have made this chapter too long and because it has already been imaginatively treated by, among others, E. P. Thompson in "Time, Work, Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism," Past and Present 38 (December 1967). For a fine survey, see Ronald Aminzade, "Historical Sociology and Time," Sociological Methods and Research 20, no. 3 (May 1992): 456-80. 104.

pages: 733 words: 179,391

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sam Peltzman, Shai Danziger, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, Thales and the olive presses, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Knight redefined risk and uncertainty for entirely practical reasons: he wanted to explain why some entrepreneurs made tremendous fortunes in their businesses, while others barely made enough to survive from day to day. Knight’s answer was simple. For industries with Knightian risk, where the random element of the business could be measured, it would be measured, and the forces of competition would eventually drive excess profits down to zero as that particular business became commoditized. However, for industries facing Knightian uncertainty—for example, industries using completely new and unproven technologies—there’s no easy way to commoditize the business since, by definition, the randomness can’t be quantified. These unknown unknowns make most of us withdraw from the game. But these are also the circumstances in which billionaires are made. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook come to mind. What were the odds that social media would be a commercial success in the pre-Facebook days?

Sustainability is important to investors, but the ultimate heart of the issue is the source of expected return. Should I be paying hedge fund fees to my portfolio manager, or can I get the same investment returns through a low-cost, passive index mutual fund? In other words, is it alpha—hard to come by, expensive, and constrained by capacity—or beta? The answer from the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis is that, over time, competition causes alpha to become commoditized to a level where the returns are just enough to compensate investors for the risks associated with the activity. In other words, alpha will eventually either disappear entirely, or become beta—less constrained, easy to come by, and cheap. The search for alpha is therefore an ongoing challenge, not a static one. We’ll see an example of how alpha waxes and wanes later in this chapter, when we revisit the random walk.

pages: 141 words: 9,896

Pragmatic Guide to JavaScript by Christophe Porteneuve

barriers to entry, commoditize, domain-specific language,, Firefox, web application, WebSocket

eBook <>this copy is (P1.0 printing, November 2010) T HE N ETWORK M AY B E YOUR E NEMY 115 SSD drives, making their overall experience snappy. On the heels of that phenomenon, virtual machines are getting a place of honor in any serious web developer’s toolkit. VM software is cheap, even sometimes free, and options are quite numerous: Parallels Desktop7 (on OS X, Windows, and Linux), VMware Fusion8 (on OSX) or VMware Workstation9 (on Windows), Sun’s VirtualBox10 (on just about any major OS), and many more still. This commoditization of virtual machines lets us set up separate VMs to replicate all the browser situations we need to test for: IE6 to IE9, various versions of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and so on. Most browsers will not let you run multiple versions of them on a single OS, or if they do, you will not get 100 percent identical behavior with that of said browser being the only version installed (case in point: the third-party MultipleIE package on Windows XP).

pages: 128 words: 38,187

The New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff

3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, basic income, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, commoditize, crony capitalism, feminist movement, follow your passion, Food sovereignty, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, Khan Academy, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, means of production, performance metric, post-work, profit motive, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, Tim Cook: Apple, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

The Gateses say that the problem with poor countries is that they are excluded from circuits of commodity production because they have no money and so generate no demand for things like vaccines. So the foundation supplies the demand for the pharmaceutical companies, giving the companies the incentive to supply the vaccines. In doing so, health care becomes a commodity with the hope that in the long run the foundation won’t have to prop up the demand side and people will be able to buy the vaccines themselves. The problem is defined as a lack of commoditization, and the solution is to create a capitalist health care market. But should health care be a commodity that people buy and sell in the market? In a wealthy country like the United States, where health care is a commodity, people buy the things they need (like visits to the doctor and medicine) to keep them healthy, and the state steps in and buys certain things (like vaccines) for people who can’t buy them.

Robot Futures by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh

3D printing, autonomous vehicles, Burning Man, commoditize, computer vision, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, phenotype, Skype, social intelligence, software as a service, stealth mode startup, strong AI, telepresence, telepresence robot, Therac-25, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

Robotics has an important role to play in the future of environmental street science because it can create tools that enable communities to collect data comprehensively, visualize it convincingly, and advocate more effectively. Low-cost air quality sensors, water quality data loggers, and health monitoring tools are already in our technology development pipeline. As citizens’ ability to measure, map, store, and display environmental degradation becomes commoditized cheaply, communities can adopt and observe their own land, air, and water in a new technologically data-rich way. They can monitor their ecosystems comprehensively, with more frequency and spatial resolution, screen for outliers, demonstrate statistically significant evidence of causality, and make strong cases for business and regulatory change based on compelling evidence. Communities would be able to make the credible data-driven, evidence-based arguments of science that, to date, were reserved for scientists, licensed technicians brought into policy discussions by specialized technocrats 116 Chapter 6 and corporate experts.

A Concise History of Modern India (Cambridge Concise Histories) by Barbara D. Metcalf, Thomas R. Metcalf

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, commoditize, demand response, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, income inequality, joint-stock company, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, Silicon Valley, spice trade, telemarketer, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning

Instead, in a dramatic turn in Britain’s economic relationship with India, it used the province’s internal tax revenues to finance the purchase of the goods it annually shipped to England. Bengal was, Clive assured the governor of Madras, ‘an inexhaustible fund of riches’. The emergence of regional states and the East India Company 53 Nawabi sovereighty was most visibly demeaned as the British took over for themselves the trade in a range of valuable commodites, notably salt, betel nut, tobacco, and saltpetre. These, as Sudipta Sen points out, were the ‘Nawab’s prestige goods’ endowed with the signs of the ruler’s authority. In 1760, the hapless Mir Jafar was replaced, following another round of presents, by Mir Kasim. Unwilling to countenance the continuing British plunder of his kingdom, Mir Kasim sought to retrieve his authority over at least the northern part of Bengal and adjacent Bihar.

Although the Company from the 1790s endeavoured to insure that Indian marketplaces and fairs were open to all-comers, free trade was always subordinate to the fiscal and military needs of its burgeoning empire. As the new century proceeded, British private merchants, spurred on by the industrial revolution and the hope of new markets in the East, challenged the Company’s trade monopoly. A responsive Parliament ended its Indian monopoly in 1813, and that to China in 1833. At the same time the balance of trade between Britain and India began to shift. By 1815 Indian textiles and other artisanal commodites could no longer compete in Britain, or on the world market, with British machine-made goods. Within a few years British textiles began to penetrate the Indian market, initiating the development of a classically ‘colonial’ economy, importing manufactures and exporting raw materials, that was to last for a century, until the 1920s. Yet the integration of India into the world capitalist order remained halting and incomplete.

pages: 390 words: 114,538

Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet by Charles Arthur

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AltaVista, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil,, Firefox, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, John Gruber, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Network effects, PageRank, pre–internet, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, turn-by-turn navigation, upwardly mobile

The carriers were to discover that a company could become more important than them, and that their ability to pick and choose handsets to attract customers would be completely reversed. Instead, it would be the customers that would choose the network, based on the availability of a phone. That was what Sigman had hoped the iPhone would do. But he wasn’t quite prepared for how it would work out. Apple was about to do to the networks what it had done to the record labels: persuade them that its business model (commoditize the data, profit on the hardware) wasn’t a threat, that it would only ever be a small player, that the upside was big but the downside of failure (again) would be carried by Apple. And then disrupt their businesses entirely. When the iPhone finally appeared in the summer, reviewers compared it to their checklist of technical specifications and found it wanting. ‘Apple provides next to no information about the features of the iPhone’s camera – and for good reason,’ wrote Shawn King at PC World, reviewing it in June 2007.25 ‘It’s a 2-megapixel (2MP) camera phone with all the limitations of any other camera phone.

Into this web of distrust between Microsoft and the handset makers came Google and Android. Its model immediately appealed: no licensing cost, no certifying how many handsets had been made. Make a reference device, get it approved by Google, and they could make as many as they could sell to retailers, carriers or customers. The source code was available too, so they could modify the interface, and add or subtract as they wished to achieve differentiation. Google was commoditizing what Microsoft charged for. Even as Ballmer was speaking, carriers and handset makers were edging away from Windows Mobile. Not that they had ever really embraced it before. Microsoft itself let a small cat out of the bag in February 2009, when Andy Lees told Mobile World Congress that Windows Mobile had sold more than 50 million licences; and then HTC’s chief executive Peter Chou joined him on stage and said that HTC had sold more than 40 million Windows Mobile phones worldwide.

pages: 138 words: 40,787

The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things by Daniel Kellmereit, Daniel Obodovski

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, connected car, crowdsourcing, data acquisition,, Erik Brynjolfsson, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Freestyle chess, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet of things, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects, Paul Graham, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, software as a service, Steve Jobs, web application, Y Combinator, yield management

When looking at key players, their positioning, and potential profit pools in the near future, it is important to understand each player’s unique position in the market, potential external effects on the supply and demand side, new players that are entering the market, and potential disruption that may change the overall industry dynamic or allow for alternative approaches and solutions that have not been feasible before. Each of the players in the value chain has a chance to improve their competitive positioning by building a unique offering. Commoditization will happen where there is lots of competition and no differentiation. Applying these principles to the M2M market, one can assume the largest profit pools are expected in the hardware, solution design, and data analytics spaces. Why would that be? Because although there’s a common perception that it’s hard to make money with hardware, we believe that in M2M there are still a lot of opportunities to reap benefits from hardware.

pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Parag Khanna, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stocks for the long run, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, undersea cable, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

For over a hundred years, Communists and anarchists - not to mention some extreme reactionaries, religious fundamentalists and hippies - have dreamt of just that. According to Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, money was merely an instrument of capitalist exploitation, replacing all human relationships, even those within the family, with the callous ‘cash nexus’. As Marx later sought to demonstrate in Capital, money was commoditized labour, the surplus generated by honest toil, appropriated and then ‘reified’ in order to satisfy the capitalist class’s insatiable lust for accumulation. Such notions die hard. As recently as the 1970s, some European Communists were still yearning for a moneyless world, as in this Utopian effusion from the Socialist Standard: Money will disappear . . . Gold can be reserved in accordance with Lenin’s wish, for the construction of public lavatories . . .

Marshall Plan 305-7 Martin, William McChesney Jr 168 Marx, Groucho 161 Marx, Karl/ Marxism 17 Marylebone Workhouse 199-203 Mary Poppins 7 Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance 266 Massys, Quentin 43 Masulipatnam 130 mathematics: applied to finance and insurance 3 Chinese 32 history of 30-32 Oriental 3 Matheson, James 289-92 Medicare and Medicaid 211 Medici family 3 diversification 44-6 libro segreto 44-5 Medici, Cosimo (C15) 42 Medici, Duke Cosimo de’ (C16) 41 Medici, Giovanni di Bicci de’ 42 Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent 46-7 Mediterranean 24-5 Memphis 59-60 mercenaries 69-71 merchant banks 53 Merchant of Venice see Shakespeare, William mergers and acquisitions 351 Meriwether, John 322 Merrill Lynch 272 Merton, Robert 320 Mesopotamia/Babylonia 27-31 metals, link with money 1 Mexico 25 Miami 264 Michelet, Jules 90 micro-businesses 280 microfinance 13 Middle East 135 sovereign wealth funds 9 war in 6 migration 286 Milan 70 millionaires 146 Minsky, Hyman 164 MIRAS see Mortgate Interest Relief At Source misconduct see fraud Mishkin, Frederic 342 Mississippi 90. see also bubbles; Katrina Mississippi Company (former Company of the Indies, Compagnie des Indes) 142-57 Mohamad, Mahathir bin 314 Moivre, Abraham de 189 Moluccas 130-31 monarchs see royal funding monetary policy: and decline in asset prices 163 and domestic objectives 306-7 and mortgage crisis 266 transformation of 116 monetary theory 100-101 money: criteria for 23-4 driving force behind progress 342 as god 85 market 54 potential excess of 64 prejudices against 1-2 as representation of: belief and trust 29-30; commoditized labour 17; relationship between debtor and creditor 341 tokens as 27 as total of specific liabilities incurred by banks 51 see also coins; electronic money; paper money moneylenders: hostility to 2 illegal see loan sharks vulnerability to defaults 37-8 moneyless societies 17-19 money supply: definitions 50-51 increasing 26 and war 100 ‘mono-line’ financial services 353 monopolies 135 Monopoly (game) 230-32 Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley 146 Moody’s 268 Moore, Deborah 196n.

pages: 413 words: 117,782

What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider's Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences by Steven G. Mandis

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, algorithmic trading, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, BRICs, business process, buy and hold, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, disintermediation, diversification, Emanuel Derman, financial innovation, fixed income, friendly fire, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, housing crisis, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, new economy, passive investing, performance metric, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, too big to fail, value at risk

Morgan or Citigroup would tell their clients, “If you want a corporate loan, you have to hire our M&A bankers.” This bundling of low-margin commercial banking product offerings (such as revolving lines of credit) with higher-margin investment banking products (such as M&A work and equity underwriting) threatened Goldman’s most lucrative businesses. In short, the investment banking business was becoming commoditized. In addition, clients put a premium on retail distribution—that is, selling securities to the general public, who were willing to pay ridiculous prices for tech stocks to cash in on the technology boom. Even before the repeal of Glass–Steagall, in 1997, Morgan Stanley had responded to this pressure by merging with Dean Witter Reynolds. Morgan was considered a “white shoe” firm, referring to white buck shoes—laced white suede or buckskin shoes with red soles, which stereotypically were worn at Ivy League colleges, while Dean Witter Reynolds was a firm with strong retail distribution: nine thousand stock brokers serving more than 3 million customers.

The bench is deep, and the quality of the talent is relatively consistent. The firm’s expertise is phenomenal, again benefiting by pulling information from various people, geographies, and areas. In my interviews with clients, many said the quality of talent on Wall Street had declined overall, Goldman included, perhaps because many clients themselves have become specialized in their knowledge and technology has commoditized information and the business in many ways. There is also strong competition for the best talent. Many talented individuals interested in finance go to private equity firms and hedge funds, which offer attractive opportunities.69 Many smart people are going into technology or other fields. But clients felt that Goldman would probably be considered the best alternative generally, not necessarily in every area of specialization, if one is interested in banking or wants training and credentials.

pages: 480 words: 123,979

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

The new utopia was to be one in which music that had previously only been legally copied with the payment of a royalty would now be copied “for free.” I felt that you can’t have privacy without also forging a new form of private property in the information space. That’s what private property is for. There has to be space around a person for a person to be a person. If everything you share at all is suddenly commoditized by whoever has the biggest, baddest network computer, then you’re doomed to be a spied-upon information serf. The promotion of abstract rights without economic rights would be nothing but a cruel trick we’d play on those who would be left behind. I argued that making music “free” would just result in no one being able to make a living when automation would eventually advance. If the only value left is information (once robots come to be perceived as doing all the work) and information is to be “free,” then ordinary people will become valueless, from an economic point of view.

Please keep the following in mind when you read “think pieces” about how robots deserve empathy: Tech writers have a bad habit of articulating “big ideas” that happen to serve the interests of the big tech companies at a given moment. There were a lot of pieces about the evils of copyright when Google was making an unprecedented instant fortune by plowing over copyright. Similarly, a flood of “radical” think pieces praising the end of privacy and the value of collectivity appeared when Facebook was first commoditizing and cornering the market on digital personal identity.14 “If, well, when giant robots or superintelligent swarms of nanoparticles decide you’re not worth keeping around, it won’t matter what you think. You’ll be snuffed out. Then you won’t be able to go on about whether they’re real or not.” “Now you’re pissing me off. Remember that guinea pig that operated the tank with the flamethrower in a Survival Research performance?

pages: 165 words: 47,193

The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job by John Tamny

Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, asset allocation, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, commoditize, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Downton Abbey, future of work, George Gilder, haute cuisine, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

It turns out it wasn’t. When Vince Gilligan brought Breaking Bad to HBO, a network known for high-quality television, they “never gave [him] an answer of any kind.”29 FX, likewise known for its critically acclaimed shows (Nip/Tuck, Justified, and The Americans, to name three), passed on it as well, opting instead for the eminently forgettable Dirt.30 The emergence of these cable networks is a result of the commoditization of television itself. With economic growth, former luxuries become everyday consumer products as entrepreneurs and businesses take what’s expensive and figure out ways to make it cheap. When Roger Moore was a kid, televisions were exotic. By the time Rob Lowe began acting professionally, they were in every home, but often only one, which the whole family gathered around in the living room. Now they’re everywhere.

pages: 172 words: 46,104

Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age by Michael Wolff

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, barriers to entry, commoditize, creative destruction, disintermediation, hiring and firing, Joseph Schumpeter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, the medium is the message, zero-sum game

It’s pricey to option promising properties, produce pilots from a few of them, send a choice few to series, and then give everyone a raise when one or two shows prove to be hits and take a write-off when others tank.” In some sense, the advances of programmatic buying have served to separate the new and efficient—with all its message control and accountability—from the old hat and clumsy, television’s old-boy system of backroom deals. And yet what it also does, in some larger and ironic way, is to further define the dual advertising markets: the downscale market, of commoditized digital audience and junk television, and an upscale, luxury, exclusive television market. The former is bought largely as a pricing function—and with downward price pressure in an ever-expanding market. The latter is a product of limited supply with ever-rising prices. And that, to a great extent, helps answer that inexplicable and frustrating question for digital people as to why television advertising hasn’t followed the American audience to its digital destinations—digital has defined itself as lower-end junk. 10 THE ADVERTISING CURVE The ultimate end of the media world (or, broader, the modern commercial world) as we know it probably began more recently than with the advent of the Internet.

pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game

But as Jim Kennedy, the AP’s vice president of strategic planning, described it, Google News was sifting news stories, “making copies and taking pieces of this content and posting it as if it were their own news.” Google claimed it was fair use, said Kennedy, since it was posting only part of the article and providing a link. Google said it was both creating reader traffic and promotional value for the news sites. The AP, which is a wholesaler of news, claimed Google was commoditizing their content and insisted on a license agreement. Google resisted, and the AP considered bringing a lawsuit. Did Tom Curley, the CEO of the AP, think Google was naive? “No, there is nothing naive about these guys,” he said. “They have a very, very aggressive legal view. They have pushed the envelope.... They know exactly what they’re doing. They have the greatest business ever invented. They are taking everybody else’s work and they are figuring out how to do a deal with most other people in which heads, they win, and tails, most everyone else loses.”

As the senior director of mobile platforms for Google, Rubin set out to make Android an open-source operating system—open to improvements from any software designer because the source code was visible, not proprietary, and peers could collaborate to offer and improve different software applications. This was a direct assault on the telephone companies, which policed what software applications could be displayed for consumers. Rubin likened the current mobile market to what happened in the early eighties to PCs. Original hardware makers, such as Wang or DEC, were supplanted by IBM, which in turn was supplanted by the manufacturers of clones. As the hardware became commoditized, the price of the PC dropped. At the same time, the cost of the software rose, because a single company, Microsoft, controlled it. “Unless there is a vendor-independent software solution,” said Rubin, expressing the ethos not just of Google but of the Valley culture at large, “the consumer isn’t going to be well served. What I mean by ‘vendor-independent’ is you can’t have a single source. Microsoft was a single source.

pages: 418 words: 128,965

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, corporate raider, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, sexual politics, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, zero-sum game

For consumers, the technical novelty can wear thin, giving way to various kinds of dissatisfaction with the quality of content (which may tend toward the chaotic and the vulgar) and the reliability or security of service. From industry’s perspective, the invention may inspire other dissatisfactions: a threat to the revenues of existing information channels that the new technology makes less essential, if not obsolete; a difficulty commoditizing (i.e., making a salable product out of) the technology’s potential; or too much variation in standards or protocols of use to allow one to market a high quality product that will answer the consumers’ dissatisfactions. When these problems reach a critical mass, and a lost potential for substantial gain is evident, the market’s invisible hand waves in some great mogul like Vail or band of them who promise a more orderly and efficient regime for the betterment of all users.

Scholars such as Harvard’s Yochai Benkler, Eben Moglen, and many others have devoted considerable attention to understanding what moves men and women to produce and share information for the sake of some abstract good. Of course the human urge to speak, create, build things, and otherwise express oneself for its own sake, without expectation of financial reward, is hardly new. In an age that has radically commoditized content, it is well to remember that Homer had no expectation of royalties. Nor has the fact of payment for many types of information—books, newspapers, music—extinguished the will to communicate unremunerated. Well before the Internet, in a world without paid downloads, before even commercial television, the same urge to tinker and to connect with others for the pure good of it gave birth to what we now call broadcasting and practically defined the medium in its early years.

How I Became a Quant: Insights From 25 of Wall Street's Elite by Richard R. Lindsey, Barry Schachter

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized markets, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, Donald Knuth, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John von Neumann, linear programming, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, performance metric, prediction markets, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, sorting algorithm, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, stochastic process, systematic trading, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, young professional

Although the new techniques were interesting to learn, my primary motivation was to answer the challenging questions that were only partially being addressed by the industry at the time. The Great Strategy Debate: From the 1990s to Today In parallel with the development of the derivatives market in the early 1990s, many traditional commercial banks were faced with a fundamental strategic issue: After watching the corporate loan market become commoditized due to intense competition and disintermediation in the capital markets, many commercial banks seriously considered changing their strategic focus. Some leaders such as Bankers Trust and JP Morgan underwent a fundamental transformation from a commercial bank to trading institutions. As with any transformation of this magnitude, the process was difficult and required strong commitment by senior management.

I then applied the BHB methodology, and it revealed that asset allocation determined 100 percent of performance and security selection determined none of it—the exact opposite of the truth.15 JWPR007-Lindsey May 7, 2007 17:15 Mark Kritzman 261 The Future for Quants Quantitative analysis has advanced from the fringes of the investment management profession to the mainstream and is well on the way to becoming the dominant paradigm of the investment industry. Owing to its rise in popularity, however, mathematical proficiency will not be sufficient to guarantee a successful career as a quant, especially as these skills become more commoditized. The successful quant will combine mathematical proficiency with an appreciation for economic and financial theory, and he or she must know which questions are really important. JWPR007-Lindsey May 7, 2007 17:15 262 JWPR007-Lindsey May 28, 2007 15:46 Chapter 19 Bruce I. Jacobs and Kenneth N. Levy Principals, Jacobs Levy Equity Management O ur adventures in quantitative equity have been a joint endeavor since 1986, when we cofounded Jacobs Levy Equity Management, now a $20 billion institutional asset management firm.

pages: 460 words: 131,579

Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and Their Ideas Have Changed the World—for Better and for Worse by Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Black Swan, blood diamonds, borderless world, business climate, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, George Gilder, global supply chain, industrial cluster, intangible asset, job satisfaction, job-hopping, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, Naomi Klein, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Norman Macrae, patent troll, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

Workers are always in danger of losing their jobs, companies of losing their markets, and society of losing the glue that holds it together. The terrific deal has replaced the ethic of loyalty with the “logic of disloyalty.”13 Workers have to market themselves in order to secure the next job. Companies have to slim themselves in order to avoid obsolescence by elephantiasis. And communities have to market themselves—and, in effect, commoditize themselves—in order to attract residents and businesses. In the age of the terrific deal, economies of attention replace economies of scale as the currency of business success. What matters is the ability to attract people’s attention and then to create the “stickiness” that is the closest thing the modern world has to loyalty. If “attention must be paid,” as Willy Loman said, the price of commanding it is endless self-publicity.

The second major problem with Levitt’s argument is that it is often small companies rather than global giants that have reaped the biggest rewards from globalization. The debate about the merits of size is a complicated one, but it is clear that globalization frequently makes it easer for small companies to spread their wings. Small companies are finding it easier to purchase computer power (thanks to Moore’s law) or to borrow serious money (thanks to the deregulation of the banks) or to learn how to manage themselves better (thanks in part to the commoditization of management ideas). Big companies are finding some of their old defenses crumbling, such as their expensively cultivated relations with governments or their long-nurtured knowledge of local regulatory quirks. Ghemawat calculates that the level of concentration in eleven key industries, including the capital-intensive car industry, has actually fallen since the late 1990s.9 At the same time, closer inspection reveals that multinationals are often much less multinational than they seem.

pages: 515 words: 132,295

Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, bank run, Basel III, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

Students are given little practical experience but lots of high-altitude postulating. They learn complex mathematical models and ratios, but these are in many cases skills that are becoming somewhat devalued. As Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School, admits, “anyone can teach you how to read a P&L [profit-and-loss statement] or value a derivative; those kinds of things have become commoditized.”12 The bigger challenge is to teach America’s future business leaders how to be curious, humane, and moral; how to think outside the box about problems like funding the research for a new blockbuster drug. And how to be strong enough to stand up to Wall Street when it demands the opposite. Sadly, most business schools in America aren’t doing that. What’s more, unlike those in many other countries, they aren’t so much teaching the specifics of the industries students want to enter, or even broader ideas about growth and innovation, as they are training future executives to manage P&Ls.

“I remember [several years back] visiting East Penn,” he says. “At the time, all the [public] battery makers were worrying about Korean competition,” which prompted outsourcing and cost cutting. Meanwhile, East Penn, which was founded in 1946 and is still family owned, kept plowing money back into the business and is today the world’s largest single-site, independent battery maker—proof that the United States actually can lead in manufacturing, even on commoditized products, with the right incentive structure. “The family lived well, but their home wasn’t the Taj Mahal,” says Lutz. “They said, hey, we’ve got enough money for a good life, and the rest of it goes back into the business. If they have a couple of quarters where they don’t make any money because they are investing so heavily, so what?”32 Wall Street, on the other hand, actively punishes public firms when they make decisions that seek to enhance their long-term strategic value.

pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social intelligence, social software, standardized shipping container, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

That’s all it has done.”29 David Ticoll said, “In common English usage, sharing denotes free exchange—not financial transactions. As in kids’ sharing toys. It’s a shame that this term has somewhat lost that meaning.” To him, “sharing is the main way that humans and members of other species have conducted exchanges with one another for millions of years, beginning with the act of conception itself. While some Internet companies have facilitated genuine sharing, others have appropriated and commoditized the social relationships and vocabulary of sharing.”30 Most so-called sharing economy companies are really service aggregators. They aggregate the willingness of suppliers to sell their excess capacity (cars, equipment, vacant rooms, handyman skills) through a centralized platform and then resell them, all while collecting valuable data for further commercial exploitation. Companies like Uber have cracked the code for large-scale service aggregation and distribution.

Finally, blockchain payment rails, such as bitcoin, are basically tailor-made for small, disenfranchised borrowers by enabling tiny payments (picopayments, we call them) and by dropping costs close to zero. In a world where every penny counts, users should be able to pay back loans, withdraw funds, and save in tiny increments, all of which was far more challenging in a preblockchain world. They should also be able to do it instantly and efficiently, given that despite abject poverty in many parts of the world, cell phone penetration and Internet connectivity are becoming commoditized. SAFE AS HOUSES? THE ROAD TO ASSET OWNERSHIP Land title registration is what Hernando de Soto referred to as a nonmarketed transaction, an economic exchange generally involving a local government. Nonmarketed transaction costs include the resources wasted by waiting in line, tracking down ownership, completing and filing paperwork, cutting through red tape, resolving disputes, greasing the palms of officials and inspectors, and so on.57 These costs are rampant in poor economies where systems are weak and government officials are known to behave without integrity.

pages: 444 words: 128,701

The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business by Christopher Leonard

agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, commoditize, estate planning, facts on the ground, invisible hand, longitudinal study, mortgage debt, payday loans, price discovery process, price stability, Ralph Nader, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

And then there is all the unlabeled meat that Tyson floods into the U.S. food system every day: the meat served in cafeterias, nursing homes, fast-food restaurants, and suburban eateries where more and more Americans eat their meals. There is a very good chance any of the meat purchased in these places was made by Tyson. Even if Tyson did not produce a given piece of meat, the consumer is really only picking between different versions of the same commoditized beef, chicken, and pork that is produced through a system Tyson pioneered. Tyson’s few competitors have resorted to imitating the company’s business model just to survive. This book aims to explore the vast, hidden territory between the remote farms and towns like Waldron where Tyson raises millions of animals, and the final point of contact where consumers buy the company’s meat. Unseen between these two poles is a hidden power structure that has quietly reshaped U.S. rural economies while gaining unprecedented control over the nation’s meat supply.

The modern cattle buyer was involved in a numbers game more than anything. He was looking to ensure a steady flow of cattle into the front door of the modern megaplant. This was how beef became more like chicken: more standardized, less specialized. There wasn’t as much difference between the best steak and the lowest quality hamburger. The quality of meat was getting pushed toward the middle, toward the commoditized “good-enough” quality of poultry. Tim Klein disputed Carson’s interpretation of his comment. Klein didn’t mean to say that quality didn’t matter. For him, the main point was that Carson was paying too much for cattle. National’s analysis was showing that Carson’s cattle weren’t bringing enough extra value to justify the higher price he paid. Carson said the final straw came when National promised him a raise and then recanted on that promise a few months later.

pages: 511 words: 132,682

Competition Overdose: How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us From Citizen Kings to Market Servants by Maurice E. Stucke, Ariel Ezrachi

affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, delayed gratification, Donald Trump,, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Chrome, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, mortgage debt, Network effects, out of africa, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price anchoring, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, winner-take-all economy

Cost of zero-sum competition in crowding out other ethical, moral, and social norms If competition increases overall welfare, as the competition ideologues insist, should anything be off-limits to competition? Under the logic of competition ideology, the answer is no. But what about such offerings as death bonds—what Newsweek called “Wall Street’s most macabre investment scheme yet”? Death bonds, as described by Rachel Heng in an essay about the commoditization of life and death, are “financial products that allow investors to bet on people’s life spans through speculating when their life insurance policies will pay out.”50 The faster people die, the more money the investors make. Is this the kind of profiteering we want to encourage in our society? Or what about things that have thus far been considered taboo—and illegal—to sell, such as organs? Although there is a general consensus that there should be some line drawn, some limits set on market competition and market valuations for certain “products,” the line is uncertain, the consensus wavering.

The dynamic is comparable to the habituation that occurs in drug and alcohol abuse, where once we adapt to a certain level of consumption, our satisfaction diminishes and we want more. Such a competition ultimately has no finish line or satisfactory resting place.62 To paraphrase T. S. Eliot, the “End of the endless / Journey to no end” competition can be found only in death.63 Rather than liberate us, this zero-sum competition commoditizes us.64 The more we are primed to believe in its importance, the less we understand about what will really bring us greater well-being. Numerous studies of life satisfaction tell us that beyond a certain minimum required to provide for the basics of food, shelter, and health, there is not much correlation between income and happiness. Research on China’s rising per capita income, which increased by a factor of 2.5 between 1994 and 2005, showed no increase in reported life satisfaction—and in fact an increase in the percentage of those who were dissatisfied.

The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

business cycle, business process, commoditize, Indoor air pollution, Isaac Newton, pattern recognition, rolodex, shareholder value

Now called Delmore Supply. Insulation, air filters, furnace linings, door and window screens, stuff like that. A very cyclical business. It’s another one of our companies that’s been hit by the current slowdown. But Cathy and the top brass are worried that there’s more to it than that.” “Any comparison to the telecom business?” Steve thought for a moment. “Could be. Like telecom, it’s an almost commoditized industry. One or two companies have broken out of the pack with meaningful differentiation of their products, but most are still competing on price. And when building falls off, they’re left scrambling for crumbs.” “I’ll be curious as to what solutions you come up with, Steve.” “Any ideas to suggest?” Steve asked with a sly grin. “I think I’ll let you earn your salary on this one, Steve. But we can talk about your ideas if you like.” 56 THE ART OF PROFITABILITY “Fair enough.

Meghnad Desai Marxian economic theory by Unknown

business cycle, commoditize, Corn Laws, full employment, land reform, means of production, p-value, price mechanism, profit motive

Money is here converted into commodities, the combination of which represents the bodily form of productive capital, and this form already contains latently, potentially, the result of the process of capitalist production. 11/1/26 (57) M - L: , [ Capital in the PUrchase of Labour Power M - L is the characteristic moment in the transformation of moneycapital into productive capital, because it is the essential condition for the real transformation of value advanced in the form of money into capital, into a value producing surplus value. 11/1/27 145 I (58) N - L: H,li /mark of th8 Non8Y Syst8m ~I - L is regarded as the characteristic feature, the hallmark of the so-called money system, because labour there appears as the .:ommodity of its owner, and money therefore as the buyer - hence on account of the money-relation (i.e. the sale and purchase of human activity). II/l/l8. (59) Labour P~~r as a Commodit~ Once labour-power has came into the market as the commodity of its owner and its sale takes the form of payment for labour, assumes the shape of wages, its purchase and sale is no more startling than the purchase and sale of any other commodity. The characteristic thing is not that the commodity labour-power is purchasable but that labour-power appears as a commodity. 11/1/28 (60) N - L: The Exchange and the CZass-ReLation True, in the act M - L the owner of money and the owner of 1abourpower enter only into the relation of buyer and seller, confront one another only as money-owner and commodity-owner.

pages: 189 words: 52,741

Lifestyle Entrepreneur: Live Your Dreams, Ignite Your Passions and Run Your Business From Anywhere in the World by Jesse Krieger

Airbnb, always be closing, bounce rate, call centre, carbon footprint, commoditize, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, financial independence, follow your passion, income inequality, iterative process, Ralph Waldo Emerson, search engine result page, Skype, software as a service, South China Sea, Steve Jobs

If your main differentiator is a much higher quality product than others on the market, make that your main selling point. When talking to customers, describe situations where people went for the lower cost option only to have a cheap product that broke a week or two after they bought it. Focus on how reliability and durability set your product apart. However, if you are selling products that are generally available or commoditized emphasize the customer service or satisfaction guarantee. FINDING YOUR SALES STRATEGY “Cross The River By Feeling The Stones” — Deng Xiaoping Taking into account the tips above regarding general sales skills and industry-specific knowledge, you will ultimately develop your own unique sales strategy. In doing so, Deng Xiaoping’s advice proves helpful; to cross the river “by feeling the stones” basically means that you should move slowly and feel out each step before you move to the next one.

pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man,, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, commoditize, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, distributed generation,, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, John Markoff, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, old-boy network, packet switching, peer-to-peer, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

They became mere on-ramps to the Internet, with their users branching out to quickly thriving Internet destinations that had no relationship to the ISP for their programs and services.43 For example, CompuServe’s “Electronic Mall,” an e-commerce service intended as the exclusive means by which outside vendors could sell products to CompuServe subscribers,44 disappeared under the avalanche of individual Web sites selling goods to anyone with Internet access. The resulting Internet was a network that no one in particular owned and that anyone could join. Of course, joining required the acquiescence of at least one current Internet participant, but if one was turned away at one place, there were innumerable other points of entry, and commercial ISPs emerged to provide service at commoditized rates.45 The bundled proprietary model, designed expressly for consumer uptake, had been defeated by the Internet model, designed without consumer demands in mind. Proprietary services tried to have everything under one roof and to vet each of their offerings, just as IBM leased its general-purpose computers to its 1960s customers and wholly managed them, tailoring them to those customers’ perceived needs in an ordered way.

Just as our notions of network security ought to include the endpoints as well as the middle of the network—with a generative principle to determine whether and when it makes sense to violate the end-to-end principle—our far-ranging debates on network neutrality ought to be applied to the new platforms of Web services that in turn depend on Internet connectivity to function. At least Internet connectivity is roughly commoditized; one can move from one provider to another so long as there is sufficient competition, or—in an extreme case—one can even move to a new physical location to have better options for Internet access. With open APIs for Web services there is much less portability; services built for one input stream—such as for Google Maps—cannot easily be repurposed to another, and it may ultimately make sense to have only a handful of frequently updated mapping data providers for the world, at least as much as it can make sense only to invest in a handful of expensive physical network conduits to a particular geographic location.

pages: 496 words: 154,363

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, book scanning, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, business intelligence, call centre, commoditize, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Googley, gravity well, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, microcredit, music of the spheres, Network effects, PageRank, performance metric,, Ralph Nader, risk tolerance, second-price auction, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, stem cell, Superbowl ad, Y2K

AltaVista had provided search to Yahoo until 1998, but they made the fatal mistake of building their own portal site and stealing users from their customer (competing with your own distributor is known as "channel conflict"). Inktomi had no "consumer-facing" search site,* so they weren't Yahoo's competitors, which also gave them a clear shot at Microsoft's MSN network and America Online (AOL). Inktomi locked those customers up as well, completing their trifecta of high-traffic Internet sites and ensuring that the state of search across the web was commoditized. You could get any flavor of search you wanted, as long as it was Inktomi. They owned the search market and sat on it as fat and happy as the enormous customers they served. Other portals wanted a piece of Yahoo's traffic: Excite, Lycos, and Disney's And other search companies, like AlltheWeb, Teoma, and HotBot, fought alongside Google for the crumbs falling from Inktomi's table. While Wall Street focused on the portal wars, the struggle for search domination wasn't of much interest to anyone but a handful of analysts.

I could search through all my email quickly when I needed to find something, and it tied all my related messages together into an easily read thread. This time I stuck with it as Paul and a small team of engineers began prepping Caribou for launch as a Google product. At the beginning of 2004, Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft were the biggest players in online communication. They had created a balanced ecosystem of low expectations and commoditized email. Everyone knew web email came standard with a couple of megabytes of storage, inboxes littered with banner ads, and no easy way to find any message you had sent or received more than ten minutes earlier. Email addresses were disposable, and so many names had been claimed that almost everyone had to include a string of meaningless numbers in their user ID to open a new account. The major providers liked it that way and didn't want anyone rocking the boat.

pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Nearby, Lake Mead (created by the Hoover Dam) has shrunk to near-record low levels, forcing major water rationing for twenty million people. “Without Lake Mead, there would be no Las Vegas,” a city official has said.11 When Lake Mead finally runs dry, even Canada’s ample sales of bottled water to America won’t be enough. Water may indeed be the “oil of the twenty-first century,” but Canada has been reluctant to price it as such for fear of commoditizing such a precious resource. The Great Lakes Compact, signed in 2008 by eight American states and two Canadian provinces, prohibits any diversion of Great Lakes water, leaving even once water-rich towns such as Waukesha, Wisconsin, in a lurch as its community size and industrial activity grow. Without Canadian water, it is hard to imagine the United States continuing to produce one-third of the world’s corn and soybean exports—especially as America’s own corn subsidies have encouraged the rapid draining of the Ogallala aquifer (which provides one-third of all irrigated water in the Great Plains) while polluting it with pesticides, and American cities continue to overconsume water allocated by volume rather than priced by usage.

.*6 There is also an enormous secondary value to the hardware that builds and drives our economies. An efficient supply-demand system would quickly redistribute cranes, pipe layers, and hydraulic lifts from city to city as and when they are needed rather than just manufacturing and selling more such industrial equipment. Similarly, Western cars can be quickly sent abroad to drive for several more years before they are scrapped. A world where everything is commoditized and priced is also a world where recycling trash is an economic opportunity. Lagos is home to one of the largest computer parts “e-waste” dismantling sites in the world. The narrow dirt alleys of Mumbai’s two-square-kilometer slum of Dharavi feature among the most organized recycling operations I’ve ever seen, with collectors fanning out across the city and bringing separated materials to pre-positioned depots for crushing and shipment to other stations for repurposing.

pages: 176 words: 55,819

The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump,, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, late fees, lateral thinking, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

“Ready, aim, fire” has been replaced by “Aim, fire, aim, fire, aim, fire.” Searching for a job only when you’re unemployed or unhappy at work has been replaced by the mandate to always be generating opportunities. Networking has been replaced by intelligent network building. The gap is growing between those who know the new career rules and have the new skills of a global economy, and those who clutch to old ways of thinking and rely on commoditized skills. The question is, which are you? WHY THE START-UP OF YOU With change come new opportunities as well as challenges. What’s required now is an entrepreneurial mind-set. Whether you work for a ten-person company, a giant multinational corporation, a not-for-profit, a government agency, or any type of organization in between—if you want to seize the new opportunities and meet the challenges of today’s fractured career landscape, you need to think and act like you’re running a start-up: your career.

pages: 201 words: 63,192

Graph Databases by Ian Robinson, Jim Webber, Emil Eifrem

Amazon Web Services, anti-pattern, bioinformatics, commoditize, corporate governance, create, read, update, delete, data acquisition,, fault tolerance, linked data, loose coupling, Network effects, recommendation engine, semantic web, sentiment analysis, social graph, software as a service, SPARQL, web application

Cassovary: Pegasus: Giraphe: http:// Pregel: A High Level View of the Graph Space | 9 The Power of Graph Databases Notwithstanding the fact that just about anything can be modeled as a graph, we live in a pragmatic world of budgets, project timelines, corporate standards and commoditized skill-sets. That a graph database provides a powerful but novel data modeling technique does not in itself provide sufficient justification for replacing a well-established, wellunderstood data platform; there must also be an immediate and very significant practical benefit. In the case of graph databases, this motivation exists in the form of a set of use cases and data patterns whose performance improves by one or more orders of mag‐ nitude when implemented in a graph, and whose latency is much lower compared to batch processing of aggregates.

pages: 207 words: 59,298

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock, Mark Graham

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, disintermediation,, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, global value chain, informal economy, information asymmetry, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, Lyft, mass immigration, means of production, Network effects, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, precariat, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

In both examples, it is worth noting that while the site of production can be spread to distant corners of the planet, some service work is necessarily spatially bound to particular places. Silk weavers and laptop assemblers can both perform work thousands of kilometres from European end users. But, until recently at least, shopkeepers are still needed to sell those goods. Some jobs are thus more geographically sticky than others. Digital platforms have, however, made a lot of work less sticky. As work becomes ever more modularized, commoditized and standardized (Scott, 2001), and as markets for digital work are created, ties between service work and particular places can be severed. While the business process of outsourcing that emerged in the 1990s allowed large companies to take advantage of a ‘global reserve army’ by moving their call centres to cheap and distant labour markets, cloudwork changes the volume and granularity at which geographically non-proximate work can take place.

pages: 292 words: 62,575

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know by Kevlin Henney

A Pattern Language, active measures, business intelligence, commoditize, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, database schema, deliberate practice, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, fixed income, general-purpose programming language, Grace Hopper, index card, inventory management, job satisfaction, loose coupling, Silicon Valley, sorting algorithm, The Wisdom of Crowds

Once you've learned the ropes of a new language, you'll be surprised how you'll start using languages you already know in new ways. I learned how to use delegates effectively in C# from programming Ruby; releasing the full potential of .NET's generics gave me ideas on how I could make Java generics more useful; and LINQ made it a breeze to teach myself Scala. You'll also get a better understanding of design patterns by moving between different languages. C programmers find that C# and Java have commoditized the iterator pattern. In Ruby and other dynamic languages, you might still use a visitor, but your implementation won't look like the example from the Gang of Four book. Some might argue that Finnegans Wake is unreadable, while others applaud it for its stylistic beauty. To make the book a less daunting read, single language translations are available. Ironically, the first of these was in French.

pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, longitudinal study, means of production, Mitch Kapor, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, QR code, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

My children’s Brooklyn elementary school has ten kindergarten classes, ten first grades, ten second grades, and so on. The teachers are heroic, but the system and scale is constantly a battle to overcome. This reality was made even more acute in the Information Economy, when it became viable to start using big data to evaluate schools. With the No Child Left Behind Act and then Race to the Top, the pressures from the system on teachers to conform and commoditize education have compounded. Kids are getting lost in the factory. The massive school system has done such a great job in scaling and efficiency that it has lost the ability to serve an individual child. That is, in an effort to scale our education system, we’ve sacrificed quality in the pursuit of quantity. Schools, like banks, have come to rely on data rather than relationships. The parents who decide to yank their children from schools and teach them at home are simply fed up.

pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, industrial cluster, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mega-rich, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

Add offshoring to India and the rest of Asia, and the Hackett Group, which tracks global personnel trends, estimated that from 2000 to 2010, roughly 2.8 million jobs in finance, IT, HR, and procurement were lost in North America and Europe to “electronic offshoring.” Contrary to earlier predictions, knowledge economy jobs seemed especially vulnerable because digital work can be flashed across the globe by the click of a mouse. Work in information and finance follows repetitive processes and transactions that can, like assembly line production, be “commoditized,” in the argot of globalization. Since “commoditized” translates as “can be done anywhere cheaply,” it is the kiss of death for American businesses and employees. With China and India educating more engineers and computer scientists than the United States, no level of education provides protection, according to Princeton economist Alan Blinder. “Millions of skilled workers in developing countries are educated about as well as Americans are.

pages: 204 words: 67,922

Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley

assortative mating, call centre, clean water, commoditize, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, off grid, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

For example, some optimists might argue that with the economic necessity of marriage declining—thanks to the increasing financial independence of women—conjugal relations can now flourish as a purely private choice relationship, based on shared interests, passions, and affinities. That’s all well and nice, except that by now we have come full circle: The formerly private sphere has become so commoditized by the ever-expanding marketplace that literally everything has a price. We know the value of watching our kids, and our ailing parents, since many of us hire other folks to do it for us. We know the price of cleaning a toilet bowl, if we have ever hired a cleaning service. We know the value of a soft touch or caress, since we can walk into many beauty salons and order a massage in fifteen-minute increments.

pages: 257 words: 68,383

Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter H. Gleick

Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, commoditize, cuban missile crisis, John Snow's cholera map, Nelson Mandela, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley

In the first vision, the poorest parts of the world never get the high-quality reliable water systems developed in Europe and the United States, and even these water systems are allowed to decay to the point where no one trusts the quality of tap water for drinking. In this vision, the quality of the water from our faucets deteriorates, and safe drinking water is increasingly available only in fancy and expensive bottled water and individual point-of-use systems for the rich. Water is privatized, commoditized, and controlled for those who can afford it, and bottled water sales expand everywhere, for the demand is high. Billions of poor are left to rely on drinking water from private vendors, poorly run and regulated municipal systems, dubious tap water, water bottlers, or contaminated local sources. Cholera, dysentery, and typhoid resurge in the slums and under-served cities of the world. Scarcity and contamination continue to expand, ecosystems lose more and more of the water they need to survive, and inequities and conflicts over water worsen.

pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, different worldview, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

There can be only one player occupying Google’s persistent niche, so most of the competitive schemes that came along made no money. Behemoths like Facebook have changed the culture with commercial intent, but without, as of this time of writing, commercial achievement.* In my view, there were a large number of ways that new commercial successes might have been realized, but the faith of the nerds guided entrepreneurs on a particular path. Voluntary productivity had to be commoditized, because the type of faith I’m criticizing thrives when you can pretend that computers do everything and people do nothing. An endless series of gambits backed by gigantic investments encouraged young people entering the online world for the first time to create standardized presences on sites like Facebook. Commercial interests promoted the widespread adoption of standardized designs like the blog, and these designs encouraged pseudonymity in at least some aspects of their designs, such as the comments, instead of the proud extroversion that characterized the first wave of web culture.

pages: 261 words: 64,977

Pity the Billionaire: The Unexpected Resurgence of the American Right by Thomas Frank

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, big-box store, bonus culture, business cycle, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, financial innovation, housing crisis, invisible hand, Kickstarter, money market fund, Naomi Klein, obamacare, payday loans, profit maximization, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, union organizing, Washington Consensus, white flight, Works Progress Administration

The most famous example was the National Tea Party Convention, held in Nashville in February of 2010, which featured an appearance by Sarah Palin and charged attendees $549 each. What’s more, the sponsoring organization turned out to be a for-profit outfit headed by a man who was reportedly trying to set up a kind of Facebook-style web empire for wingers. “What was celebrated here in Nashville,” wrote the journalist Will Bunch, after cataloging the trinkets for sale there, “wasn’t so much the coming out of the conservative movement as the commoditization of it.”3 The commodification continued wherever the movement pitched its tent. There were Tea Party cigars, $125 per box, perfect for those moments when you want to relax and “contemplate what has gone wrong and how to fix our government.” An outfit called 912 Citizens, Inc. offered for sale a silver coin commemorating the movement’s big Washington, DC, rally of September 12, 2009; it could be yours for $59.99.* The commemorative coins on sale at the September 12 rally the following year were of some baser metal, but they were painted in full color; I picked one up at the Liberty XPO held at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington for a mere sixteen dollars.

pages: 257 words: 64,285

The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport: Second Edition by David Levinson, Kevin Krizek

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Chris Urmson, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, Elon Musk,, Google Hangouts, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the printing press, jitney, John Markoff, labor-force participation, lifelogging, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Network effects, Occam's razor, oil shock, place-making, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, the built environment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game, Zipcar

On the other end of the spectrum are goods like fresh food that people like to inspect or touch before purchasing. Culture plays a role. Having lived for a year in Italy, Kevin knows few (if any) self-respecting Italians who would conceive of having an unknown person select tomatoes on their behalf — fish and meat products are not far off. Americans, on the other hand, have relegated themselves to commoditized food products, even tomatoes.77 In between these two extremes is what analysts term the 'digital battleground.' This domain includes home decor, office supplies clothing, footwear and all the rest (mattresses, eyeglasses, sweaters, souvenir items). Left to be determined by the market are thresholds for when particular goods transition to e-commerce for any given consumer. There remains a long-tail of desired, but still standard, goods that one cannot find at the corner store because it lacks the space to inventory everything.

pages: 233 words: 64,702

China's Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies Are Changing the Rules of Business by Edward Tse

3D printing, Airbnb, Airbus A320, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, bilateral investment treaty, business process, capital controls, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, experimental economics, global supply chain, global value chain, high net worth, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, Lyft, money market fund, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, reshoring, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trade route, wealth creators, working-age population

Serving customers in China’s lower-tier regions and other less-developed countries, then working with smaller players in developed markets, allowed Huawei to gain footholds and experience without having to go head-to-head with the big European and American equipment makers. Instead, accompanied by a constant push to narrow the technological gap on its rivals, it could focus on growth through stealth by eroding their market share in areas they usually regarded as of secondary importance. As it grew in scale, Huawei’s consistently cheaper prices also had the effect of commoditizing the telecom-equipment sector, in the process reducing its competitors’ profits. While its rivals could still win contracts where technological prowess mattered, less frequently could they win them where operators simply wanted their networks extended or upgraded in a routine manner. Along the way, Huawei has gradually transformed the world’s telecom-equipment market into something resembling China, where what counted was being able to offer constant incremental improvements in technology, features tailored to meet the precise needs of cost-conscious operators with no extra frills, and always at a price a little better than anyone else’s.

pages: 237 words: 67,154

Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet by Trebor Scholz, Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, capital controls, citizen journalism, collaborative economy, collaborative editing, collective bargaining, commoditize, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, deskilling, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer, post-work, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, SETI@home, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Perhaps the businesses that have fueled much of the world’s economic growth in recent decades have instead been in highly competitive industries, leveraging specialized high-variance talent and requiring large technological investments. But if one thinks about it, today’s sharing-economy platforms do exhibit some characteristics in common with Sunkist, and a worker-owned equivalent to Lyft and Uber seems quite feasible. Point-to-point urban transportation is a fairly uniform service in an industry with a limited amount of competition. Once the technology associated with “e-hail” and logistics is commoditized, which it will be, the economic fundamentals for the emergence of a platform cooperative would appear to be in place. More important, the network effects associated with ridesharing are geographically concentrated. Thus, unlike platforms such as eBay and Facebook, the barriers to entry posed by an incumbent platform may not be onerous. True, passengers gravitate toward the platforms with more drivers, and vice versa.

The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk by William J. Bernstein

asset allocation, backtesting, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, correlation coefficient, diversification, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, index arbitrage, index fund, intangible asset, Long Term Capital Management, p-value, passive investing, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, South Sea Bubble, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, the rule of 72, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

Third, portfolio diversification reduces risk. And last, index your investments wherever you can. In fact, if you tire of reading this book and simply want a recipe for a serviceable portfolio, consider the following advice: Purchase the above-mentioned “simpleton’s portfolio” consisting of index funds—one quarter each of U.S. large and small stocks, foreign stocks, and a short-term U.S. bond fund. Index funds have become almost as commoditized as computer chips and gasoline, and they are available through most large fund families and “supermarkets.” I highly recommend Vanguard. At the end of each year, rebalance your accounts so that each of the four parts are again of equal size. That’s it. Setting up the account should take about 15 minutes, and the annual rebalancing should also take about 15 minutes. You can forget about investing for the rest of the year.

pages: 238 words: 68,914

Where Does It Hurt?: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Fixing Health Care by Jonathan Bush, Stephen Baker

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, informal economy, inventory management, job automation, knowledge economy, lifelogging, obamacare, personalized medicine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, web application, women in the workforce, working poor

In the eighties and nineties, consultants flew from one troubled manufacturer to the next and delivered a sobering message. They couldn’t do everything. They had to figure out what they were best at—their core competency—and focus on that. It was far better to excel in one area than to muddle along in a dozen. (It’s interesting that consultants themselves are now subject to very similar forces. The cloud commoditizes their knowledge and insights, and they have to dig deep to find their own core competency.) How could companies figure out what they were best at? How could they detect the waste and sloppiness in their operations? For this, they had to start measuring their operations. Only when they had numbers could they begin to manage their businesses scientifically. This was called reengineering. It often involved implementing big enterprise software programs, such as Oracle or Germany’s SAP.

pages: 224 words: 13,238

Electronic and Algorithmic Trading Technology: The Complete Guide by Kendall Kim

algorithmic trading, automated trading system, backtesting, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, diversification,, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, linked data, market fragmentation, money market fund, natural language processing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, short selling, statistical arbitrage, Steven Levy, transaction costs, yield curve

DMA tools permit buy-side traders to access liquidity pools and multiple execution venues directly without intervention from a broker’s trading desk. DMA has been rapidly adopted by institutional traders in order to aggregate liquidity. Hedge funds are among the most aggressive users of DMA. In 2004, Banc of America Securities bought Direct Financial Access Corp.; BNY Brokerage purchased Sonic Financial Technologies; and Citigroup acquired Lava Trading. DMAs have become commoditized for bulge-bracket firms as part of a comprehensive set of services encompassing DMA, program trading, and traditional block trading. 7.5 Conclusion The buy side has begun to take more control of its trading decisions through faster, lower-cost, anonymous executions. The growth of communication networks such as ECNs has developed alternative trading platforms associated with more tightly quoted, effective bid-ask spreads, greater depth, and less concentrated markets.

pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, business cycle, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, money market fund, moral hazard, mouse model, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, selection bias, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

I once ran into Alison Wolf at a party (parties are great for optionality). As I got her to explain to other people her evidence about the lack of effectiveness of funding formal education, one person got frustrated with our skepticism. Wolf’s answer to him was “real education is this,” pointing at the room full of people chatting. Accordingly, I am not saying that knowledge is not important; the skepticism in this discussion applies to the brand of commoditized, prepackaged, and pink-coated knowledge, stuff one can buy in the open market and use for self-promotion. Further, let me remind the reader that scholarship and organized education are not the same. Another party story. Once, at a formal fancy dinner, a fellow in a quick speech deplored the education level in the United States—falling for low-math-grades alarmism. Although I agreed with all his other views, I felt compelled to intervene.

Seclusion: Since The Black Swan, I’ve spent 1,150 days in physical seclusion, a soothing state of more than three hundred days a year with minimal contact with the outside world—plus twenty years of thinking about the problem of nonlinearities and nonlinear exposures. So I’ve sort of lost patience with institutional and cosmetic knowledge. Science and knowledge are convincing and deepened rigorous argument taken to its conclusion, not naive (via positiva) empiricism or fluff, which is why I refuse the commoditized (and highly gamed) journalistic idea of “reference”—rather, “further reading.” My results should not depend, and do not depend on a single paper or result, except for via negativa debunking—these are illustrative. Charlatans: In the “fourth quadrant” paper published in International Journal of Forecasting (one of the backup documents for The Black Swan that had been sitting on the Web) I showed empirically using all economic data available that fat tails are both severe and intractable—hence all methods with “squares” don’t work with socioeconomic variables: regression, standard deviation, correlation, etc.

pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, commoditize, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Others, perhaps more dangerous, would be wrong while appearing plausible. If a treatment recommended by a machine killed a patient, confidence in bionic assistants could plummet. The other issue, sure to come up in many industries, boils down to a struggle for power, and even survival, in the workplace. “As every profession embraces systems that take humans out of it,” Wachter said, “the profession gets commoditized.” He noted the example of commercial aviation, where pilots who were once considered stars have ended up spending much of the time in flight simply backing up the machines that are actually flying the planes. The result? “Pilots’ pensions have been cut and they’re paid less, because they’re largely interchangeable,” he said. “Doctors don’t want to see that happening to them.” For IBM, this very scenario promises growth.

pages: 251 words: 76,868

How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize

Google, for example, subsidizes employees to buy electric cars, and even provides them free of charge for running errands during the day. Its California cafeteria serves only organic food grown within 150 miles of headquarters. These are the steps companies across America can take to forge the transition toward community-based sustainability. Google is in the lead, and maybe the Pentagon will follow. Because short-term financial considerations often trump long-term common sense, saving nature requires to some extent commoditizing it—pricing it according to its value to users. Both oil and water should cost more than they do. Once gas prices fall, many Americans suddenly think they don’t need fuel-efficient or hybrid cars. The United States could tax carbon consumption, penalize oil speculators, and eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels—putting those funds into alternative energy research and development instead. But implementing any of these schemes will require a new level of public-private collaboration.

Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams

Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Debian, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, Larry Wall, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Murray Gell-Mann, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, urban renewal, VA Linux, Y2K

Sure, being a hacker was suddenly cool, but was cool good for a community that thrived on alienation? Sure, the White House was saying all the right things about the Internet, even going so far as to register its own domain name,, but it was also meeting with the companies, censorship advocates, and law-enforcement officials looking to tame the Internet's Wild West culture. Sure, PCs were more powerful, but in commoditizing the PC marketplace with its chips, Intel had created a situation in which proprietary software vendors now held the power. For every new user won over to the free software cause via Linux, hundreds, perhaps thousands, were booting up Microsoft Windows for the first time. Finally, there was the curious nature of Linux itself. Unrestricted by design bugs (like GNU) and legal disputes (like BSD), Linux' high-speed evolution had been so unplanned, its success so accidental, that programmers closest to the software code itself didn't know what to make of 123 it.

pages: 261 words: 79,883

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Black Swan, business cycle, commoditize, hiring and firing, John Markoff, low cost airline, Nick Leeson, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route

Novelty can drive sales—the RAZR proved it—but the impact does not last. If a company adds too many novel ideas too often, it can have a similar impact on the product or category as the price game. In an attempt to differentiate with more features, the products start to look and feel more like commodities. And, like price, the need to add yet another product to the line to compensate for the commoditization ends in a downward spiral. In the 1970s, there were only two types of Colgate toothpaste. But as competition increased, Colgate’s sales started to slip. So the company introduced a new product that included a new feature, the addition of fluoride, perhaps. Then another. Then another. Whitening. Tartar control. Sparkles. Stripes. Each innovation certainly helped boost sales, for a while at least.

Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages by Carlota Pérez

agricultural Revolution, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, commoditize, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, distributed generation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Hyman Minsky, informal economy, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, late capitalism, market fundamentalism, new economy, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, post-industrial society, profit motive, railway mania, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus

The answer to all of these was a combination of the Japanese production organization (just-in-time, total quality, redesign, structured networks of suppliers and so on), the incorporation of microelectronics, both in the cars themselves and in computer-controlled equipment for design and manufacture and, finally, globalization, supported by the early digital telecommunications.126 These profound, difficult and costly transformations brought the industry away from the threat of commoditization of its product and to a complete revitalization in just over a decade. One could also mention the case of the oil, energy and petrochemical industries, very hard hit by the oil price hike and environmental pressures. The introduction of digital control systems for optimizing production processes, saving energy and avoiding toxic emissions and waste was their initial answer.127 In the case of chemicals, moving away from mass-produced commodities to computer-aided development of specialty chemicals was the following strategy.

pages: 206 words: 9,776

Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution by David Harvey

Bretton Woods, business cycle, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, David Graeber, deindustrialization, financial innovation, Guggenheim Bilbao, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, Ponzi scheme, precariat, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, special economic zone, the built environment, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, urban planning, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche, Works Progress Administration

Th e "Green Ban" construction union movement in New South Wales in the early 1 9 70s banned working on projects they deemed environmentally unsound, and were successful in much of what they did. They were ultimately destroyed by a combination of concerted state power and their own Maoist national leadership, who considered environmental issues a manifestation of flabby bourgeois sentimentality. 14 But there is a seamless connection between those who mine the iron ore that go es into the steel that go es into the construction of the bridges across which the trucks carrying commodit ies travel to their final destinations of factories and homes for consumption. All of these activities (in cluding sp atial movement) are productive of value and of surplus value. If capitalism often recovers from crises, as we saw earlier, by "building houses and filling them with th ings;' then dearly everyone R E C LAI M I N G T H E CITY FOR ANTI-CAPITALIST STRU G G LE 131 engaged in that urban izing activity has a central role t o play in the mac­ roeconomic dynam ics of capital accumulation.

pages: 264 words: 76,643

The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations by David Pilling

Airbnb, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Branko Milanovic, call centre, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Hangouts, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mortgage debt, off grid, old-boy network, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peak oil, performance metric, pez dispenser, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, science of happiness, shareholder value, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

If nature is transformed from forest to sheep pen or from river to electricity, we need some kind of accounting tools to figure out how much of a net loss that is to the stock of natural capital and how much we need to do to compensate. On one level the whole exercise is flawed. Economists are precisely not the type of people you want to start messing about with nature. As soon as they get their hands on our lakes and our forests, the danger is these will be commoditized and bought and sold into oblivion. In the end economists can’t answer questions like “Should we build on the greenbelt to relieve the housing shortage?” Some trade-offs are ethical and not susceptible to number-crunching. In theory an economist may decide that it is “worth” driving a river dolphin to extinction if the result is a hydroelectric plant producing so many megawatts of power for so many hundreds of thousands of people.

pages: 268 words: 75,850

The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems-And Create More by Luke Dormehl

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, disruptive innovation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, lifelogging, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

In its own way this is an algorithm in itself, albeit one that is diametrically opposed to a computer-based algorithm designed to produce efficient results in as few steps as possible.20 With the unbalanced weighting of the legal system in favor of those practicing it,21 it is no surprise that many lawyers criticize the use of disruptive technologies in law, worried about the detrimental effects that it is likely to have on their earning power. A large number of these attack what is viewed as the “commoditization” of law: unfavorably comparing “routinized” legal work to the kind of “bespoke” work you would receive from a human lawyer. (Think about the difference between off-the-rack and hand-tailored clothing in both quality and price.) But while this criticism makes sense if you are a lawyer carrying out what you feel to be bespoke work, it also heavily downplays the number of legal tasks that a bot can perform as well as, if not better than, a person.

pages: 237 words: 74,109

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener

autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, basic income, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Extropian, future of work, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, means of production, medical residency, new economy, New Urbanism, passive income, pull request, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, union organizing, universal basic income, unpaid internship, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

The city dealt in improbable couplings. A pay-as-you-wish yoga studio shared a creaky walk-up with the headquarters of an encrypted-communications platform. A bodega selling loosies sat below an anarchistic hacker space. The older office buildings, regal and unkempt with marble floors and peeling paint, housed orthodontists and rare-book dealers alongside four-person companies trying to gamify human resources or commoditize meditation. Data scientists smoked weed in Dolores Park with Hula-Hoopers and blissed-out suburban teenagers. The independent movie theaters played ads for networked appliances and B2B software before projecting seventies cult classics. Even racks at the dry cleaner suggested a city in transition: starched police uniforms and synthetic neon furs, sheathed in plastic, hung beside custom-made suits and machine-washable pullovers.

pages: 280 words: 71,268

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World With OKRs by John Doerr

Albert Einstein, Bob Noyce, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, web application, Yogi Berra, éminence grise

” * * * — In 2007, the preeminent business philosopher Dov Seidman published a groundbreaking book on culture, HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything . . . in Business (and in Life) . Dov started from the premise that culture guides people’s behaviors, or how things really happen in an organization. In our open-sourced, hyperconnected world, behavior defines a company more meaningfully than product lines or market share. As Dov said to me recently, “It’s the one thing that can’t be copied or commoditized.” Dov’s big idea is that companies that “out-behave” their competition will also outperform them. He identified a value-driven model, the “self-governing organization,” a place where long-term legacy trumps the next quarter’s ROI. These organizations don’t merely engage their workers. They inspire them. They replace rules with shared principles; carrots and sticks are supplanted by a common sense of purpose.

pages: 302 words: 73,581

Platform Scale: How an Emerging Business Model Helps Startups Build Large Empires With Minimum Investment by Sangeet Paul Choudary

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social software, software as a service, software is eating the world, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, TaskRabbit, the payments system, too big to fail, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Wave and Pay

The systems mediating these interactions follow the platform business model: a plug-and-play business model that allows connected users and things to plug in and orchestrates them toward efficient interactions. Some of us continue to believe, erroneously, that building superior technology will determine business success in the future. Instead, as this book illustrates, leveraging technology – often commoditized – to orchestrate connected users toward new and efficient value-creating interactions holds the key to the business models of the future. This book explains the inner workings of these new business models and their ability to scale rapidly. The platform business model is powered by a new set of factors that determine value creation and competitive advantage. These factors are rapidly changing how entire industries operate.

pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book,, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

Just as the broomstick seemed destined to continue fetching water from the lake until the sorcerer's house was utterly flooded, so the requisite growth of money has put our society on a relentless search for ever more natural resources to monetize. These can be tangible resources such as land, water, minerals, and trees, or intangibles that were previously freely offered, such as childcare, education, or food preparation. As long as it can be commoditized, it helps to keep the economy from collapsing under its own weight.19 This self-accelerating treadmill of perpetual growth has become the underlying force driving our global civilization, affecting virtually every aspect of our lives. It has been the engine behind the previously unimaginable advances in technology, medicine, and communication that have transformed the lives of most people on the planet.

See Medieval period Mill, John Stuart, 286 mimetic culture, 32, 40–42, 45, 57–58, 62, 63–64 mind-cure religions, 378, 400–401 Mohenjo-daro, 130, 136 money, 381–82 Mongols, 272–73, 299, 325, 327, 330 monolatry, 216 monotheism, 215, 271 in Christian thought, 227–38 intolerance of Akhenaten and, 239 British and, 248–49 China, contrasted with, 249–50 in Christianity, 243–47 India, contrasted with, 247–49 in Islam, 246–47, 248, 321–23 in Old Testament, 241–43 polytheism contrasted with, 240–41, 243–44 in Zoroastrianism, 139–40, 241, 244 in Old Testament, 215–22 Platonism in, sources of, 215, 222–26 Montezuma, 307 Moore's law, 375–76, 401, 405, 416 morality afterlife in Egyptian civilization, relation to, 120–21 in Chinese thought, 211, 262–63 in Christianity, 248–49, 312 Confucian view of, 191–93 European imperialist view of, 311–12, 314 evolutionary theories of, 43–47, 262 expanding scope of, 432–33 Neo-Confucian view of, 262–63, 268–71, 271–72 in Old Testament, 222, 279–80 Protestant view of, 238, 312 Pythagorean view of, 150 Stoic view of, 159 transhumanism and, 421 in Western thought, 262 More, Sir Thomas, 312 Morris, Ian, 18–19 Moses, 215–16, 224 Muhammad (prophet), 318, 321, 323 Muhammad of Ghor, 248 Muntzer, Thomas, 245 Muslim people. See Islamic civilization and thought Mu'tazilites, 321–22 Mycenaeans, 144 mythic consciousness, 32, 65–66, 67–81 Mytilene (ancient Greek city), 147 Nakamura, Hajime, 247, 249 Nalungiaq (Inuit), 87, 89 Natufians, 104–105, 112 nature agriculture, impact on, 295–97 commoditization of, 382, 397–99 connectivity with, 288–91, 329–30, 434, 441–42 desacralization of, 237, 282–84, 401, 440–41 exploitation of, 280, 294, 315, 327, 388–90 human domination of, 285–87, 390–92, 419 rights of, 440 separate, viewed as, 289, 401, 440–41 (see also environmental crisis; environmental imbalance) views of agrarian, 33, 104, 105–106, 109–10, 111–16, 240 Baconian, 277–78 capitalist, 35, 382, 397–99 Cartesian, 237, 377 Chinese, 181–86, 186–91, 288–92, 329–30 Christian, 233, 281, 350–51 “cornucopian,” 416–18 Egyptian, 287 Greek, 150, 157–58 hunter-gatherer, 32–33, 67, 84–90, 97–99, 174, 291–92 Indian, 174–77 Indo-European, 198–99 monotheistic, 124 “moonlight tradition,” 359–63 Neo-Confucian, 257–61, 262–65 popular worldwide, 437 reductionist, 271, 357, 368–69, 373 systems, 185, 258–60, 263, 358, 363–65, 370–73 teleological, 76–77 See also metaphors, root; nature, laws of nature, human.

pages: 636 words: 202,284

Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns

active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, commoditize, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog

Not only would far more people have benefited, but the resulting “network” would have been of a radically different, decentralized kind. Input by citizens, literate and illiterate alike, would have been normal. Its principle would have been creativity, not receptivity. That was what it was to be convivial – and in Illich’s terms freedom required conviviality. Illich likewise believed that conventional education was receptive and commoditized, and therefore illiberal. He proposed replacing schools by “webs” – computerbased “reticular structures for mutual access” – that would facilitate openended and creative interactions. They would resemble enthusiasts’ clubs. Some might establish “skill exchanges” at which laypeople could gather to learn about technical tools, perhaps in storefronts. In a city like New York, convivial computing of this kind would permit a culture of reading to be created democratically, rather than on the basis of a “selection by some Chicago professors.”

In a city like New York, convivial computing of this kind would permit a culture of reading to be created democratically, rather than on the basis of a “selection by some Chicago professors.” The problem was that modern industry did not produce convivial technologies. It preferred “a world of things that resist insight into their nature.” Concealed inside closed boxes – or inscribed in silica – technology was becoming ever less convivial. The prime example was radio. Boxing radios had commoditized knowhow, he thought, producing “a noninventive society.” But in its early days radios had been open and convivial, Illich recalled, and a radio enthusiast (what the BBC had called a pirate listener) had often made every set in the neighborhood “scream in feedback.” For Illich that howl was a sign of a kind of freedom that had then been widely distributed, had survived for a while in science (“the one forum which functioned like an anarchist’s dream”), but was now almost extinguished there too.

pages: 278 words: 83,468

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

3D printing, barriers to entry, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, continuous integration, corporate governance, disruptive innovation, experimental subject, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, payday loans, Peter Thiel,, Ponzi scheme, pull request, risk tolerance, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, transaction costs

As new mainstream customers are acquired and new markets are conquered, the product becomes part of the public face of the company, with important implications for PR, marketing, sales, and business development. In most cases, the product will attract competitors: copycats, fast followers, and imitators of all stripes. Once the market for the new product is well established, procedures become more routine. To combat the inevitable commoditization of the product in its market, line extensions, incremental upgrades, and new forms of marketing are essential. In this phase, operational excellence takes on a greater role, as an important way to increase margins is to lower costs. This may require a different type of manager: one who excels in optimization, delegation, control, and execution. Company stock prices depend on this kind of predictable growth.

pages: 255 words: 76,495

The Facebook era: tapping online social networks to build better products, reach new audiences, and sell more stuff by Clara Shih

business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, glass ceiling, jimmy wales, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects,, pre–internet, rolodex, semantic web, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social web, software as a service, Tony Hsieh, web application

For the most part, it depends on two factors: the product and the site demographic. Certain product and brand categories, From the Library of Kerri Ross 104 Pa r t I I Tra n s fo r m i n g t h e Way We D o B u s i n e s s such as sports, recreation, politics, movies, books, food, clothing, and celebrities, are ideal because they evoke passion and are used by individuals to express themselves. Products that might be less exciting, more commoditized, embarrassing, and either too personal or too impersonal, such as laundry detergent, tax filing services, medication, and office supplies, are usually not a good fit. Similarly, luxury items such as high-end cars or jewelry might feel like bragging to many people. As a company considering a presence on social networking sites, the best thing you can do is guide your brand in a direction that is exciting but credible.

pages: 317 words: 84,400

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner

23andMe, Ada Lovelace, airport security, Al Roth, algorithmic trading, backtesting, big-box store, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, dumpster diving, Flash crash, G4S, Gödel, Escher, Bach, High speed trading, Howard Rheingold, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, late fees, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, medical residency, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Sergey Aleynikov, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

But such requests posed a problem: Cope had no idea which concerto to offer up. Emmy had now created several thousand pieces of similar quality. This alarmed musicians. Why would they want to perform a piece that was merely one of many? Artists wanted something of a guarantee that they would be playing Emmy’s best. But Emmy could, with no warning, create something even better tomorrow. Musicians didn’t want to play something so easily commoditized. This is a subject that has threatened to ostracize Cope from the musical herd. He argues that all prolific composers, from Bach to Mozart to Beethoven, dealt in commodities. They developed patterns, Cope says, that they based on music they had heard throughout their lifetimes. Bach was never creating something wholly new, says Cope, but simply building incrementally on those who came before him.

pages: 275 words: 84,418

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

Apple II, Ben Horowitz, cloud computing, commoditize, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, zero-sum game

It’s because the killer application that consumers wanted was that they wanted to take the Internet with them. You’d be stupid to try to compete with the Internet [if you were a carrier or a manufacturer]. How could you? So Android enabled both of them to take advantage of the Internet in a controlled way. Our pitch was “You have costs. We understand what those costs are. You want to be differentiated and don’t want to be commoditized. So we’re going to give you this, this, this, and this—the hook to solve that equation.” Translation: None of us can beat Apple on our own. But if we work together, each of us focusing on what we are truly good at, we can not only beat Apple but make all our businesses stronger and more profitable than they were before. The market forces Rubin channeled and the incentives he set up didn’t always work perfectly.

pages: 411 words: 80,925