Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It's amazing that over 10 years after Michael H. Goldhaber wrote "The Attention Economy", Eric Raymond wrote "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and at least 8 years after Clay Shirky wrote "Help! The Price of Information has Fallen ..." that famous, public alleged "thinkers" are arguing about this at such a naive level.

Anderson is right that Free will dominate the production of *non-scarce* information products. (The only paid information products will be commissioned ie. the author will be paid for attention.) But he's lying through his teeth about there being opportunities to build business models around this.

Rubbish! It's just going to get amateurized. And there won't be much of a money-business at all around the provision of content or culture. Or its "community management".

It's not going to happen with non-scarce resources, which is why there *will* be a "Hosting" business. And a business supplying computers or handsets to access the free information. But these will be far smaller than the currently existing computer and phone businesses. (Think Open Source circuit-board design meets printable electronics.)

It's true that Anderson doesn't answer Gladwell's "cost of the distribution infrastructure" point. I'd say that the best answer to that is likely to be that we're going to break up those big infrastructures and replace them with smaller, cheaper, more decentralized production. So we won't need the grid because we'll be catching our own sun and wind energy (free) with locally made equipment (very cheap) and local distribution nets (cheaper). Similar for food, furniture, homes etc. Production that relies on huge economies of scale, mass-production, mass-marketing, long-distance transport etc. is likely to go bust anyway due to energy crunch on one side, and smarter, better informed tools which can pull manufacturing closer to the end-consumer, on the other.

1 comment:

Ben said...

what about the current success of paid information products such as subscription tv channels?