Links - December 13, 2016
- Increasing Returns and the New World of Business (1996) Brian Arthur - Harvard Business Review
Twenty years after this article was published, both academia and industry are still struggling to understand the implications of increasing returns, network effects, and zero marginal costs. It is good to take a step back, and see how a view from the past can improve our understanding of business dynamics today.
- Building a Prison-to-School Pipeline Larissa MacFarquhar - The New Yorker
If we truly believed that prisons are about reformation, and correction, our systems would be set up differently. Here’s a glimpse into the lives of a few people who made it through and turned their lives around.
- Economists Pretend They Don't Pick Winners and Losers Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
Normative economics, and therefore normative policies, are more prevalent than we would all like to admit. In Noah’s lead example (the US opening trade with a poor country) he talks about two sides: the consumers, who get cheaper goods, and the workers, whose jobs are lost to globalization. Ultimately though, there is one more group missing in this tale, and it is presumably that of the biggest winners: the citizens of the poor country, whose economic gain from such a trade deal would disproportionately improve their standard of living. “What ought to be” is a matter of identity politics, and we ought to remember that identity can also be defined by a nation-state.
- AI and Competition Policy Joshua Gans - Digitopoly
How does pricing strategy work in a world where decisions are programmatic, and therefore can’t be viewed through the lens of traditional game theory or antitrust case law? Can you blame a supplier who “sets and forgets” his pricing scheme, and somehow ends up selling a book for $23,698,655.93 (+$3.99 shipping)? Interesting times are ahead.
- Money and Banking Josh Hendrickson - The Everyday Economist
“You might be able to teach an entire course on the microeconomics of money and banking based on the following thought experiment” might be an overblown claim, but this is definitely a good way to introduce the topic. While most people these days are aware of the “fiat-ness” of money, or its imaginary value, the money creation process is a few logical jumps away that few actually take.
- Functional versus Unit Organizations Steven Sinofsky - Learning by Shipping
A treatise on the nature of companies, organizational structures, and getting things done when there are thousands of independently moving pieces. Throughout my four years in college, I mocked the idea of a major in “learning and organizational change.” I still do, except now it’s for a different reason: even with years and years of experience, and several real products under their belt, managers can only have a sliver of the picture. People are the hard part about management.
- As Trumplethinskin lets down his hair for tech, shame on Silicon Valley for climbing the Tower in silence Kara Swisher - Recode
The leaders of our industry are not bending their knee. At least not yet. Take it from Dave Pell: <a href="https://medium.com/@davepell/why-they-sort-of-have-to-go-77535544d2bd">they sort of have to go.</a> The real question is what will happen after the meeting, but Swisher got an important part right: “fuckfuckfuck.”
- This Man Will Teach You How to Cook Gilad Edelman - Slate
In cooking, like in everything else, the basic skills are much more important than the recipes and the tutorials. It is a matter of learning, and of putting in the hours. After reading this, I went on a youtube binge.
- 1213486160 has a friend: 1195725856 Rachel By The Bay
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