Rethinking the Network Economy
[Posted to Pop; Trivia on April 25, 2003 08:07 AM| Links to this post ]

"For economic incentives to work appropriately, property rights must protect the rights of capital assets....At present...severe economic damage [is being done] to the property rights of owners of copyrights in sound recordings and musical compositions...under present and emerging conditions, the industry simply has no out...Unless something meaningful is done to respond to the problem, the industry itself is at risk.

- Alan Greenspan, on "Audiotaping",
October 25, 1983

[Alan Greenspan, Testimony on the Home Recording Act before the Senate Judiciary's
Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks, October 25, 1983]

Just finished up a new (for me) book entitled "Rethinking the Network Economy: The True Forces that Drive the Digital Marketplace". Excellent work by Stan Liebowitz that completely confirms a lot of my views on some otherwise commonly accepted constructs like "Customer Lock-in", "First Mover Advantage" and "Network Effects".

The quote above is but one glimpse into the cynical but insightful perspective of the author. What else would you expect from a book that starts of with an explanation that "I shorted Yahoo! in April of 1996....I was way too early on the short side...[and]...I threw in the towel in April of 1998. I took my losses and vowed to expose what I saw as insanity in the business press....That was when I conceived of writing this book...Not necessarily the best of motivations, but not the worst either."

I've always believed that the internet was special and that it would change the way things worked - but that it didn't change the way that the earth spun on its axis and certainly not the fundamental underpinnings of economics, business and technical innovation. It makes all of these things "better", but it can't put the constants of our universe on hold while we search for a better way of doing things.

Some of my favorite passages stem from examinations of the outright silliness and hubris of the business sector over the last few years. "We're from the internet, don't worry, everything will be okay." Of course, all of this is easy to say in retrospect - but still leaves us with a good read.

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