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How is the economy changing?
What are the implications for business? What does technology now make possible that was previously impossible? What work needs doing? Why aren’t we doing it? wtfeconomy.com
We have to let go
of the maps that are steering us wrong In 1625, we thought California was an island
“The Uber app is the
drivers’ workplace, as much as the city where they’re driving is. Each decision about its interface structures drivers’ interactions with Uber the company as well as Uber the transportation marketplace.” Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, “Uber Drivers are About to Get a New Boss”
Networks and the Nature of
the Firm “The existence of high transaction costs outside firms led to the emergence of the firm as we know it, and management as we know it….The reverse side of Coase’s argument is as important: If the (transaction) costs of exchanging value in the society at large go down drastically as is happening today [because of networks], the form and logic of economic and organizational entities necessarily need to change! The mainstream firm, as we have known it, becomes the more expensive alternative.”Esko Kilpi
A language for networked marketplaces
Network effect: the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of possible connections Scale effect: bigger is better (but not always) Feedback effect: the more data you collect from the marketplace, the more you can learn, and the better the services you can provide Two-sided market: different classes of users being matched up: searchers and advertisers, drivers and passengers, homes and renters.
Asymptotic Networks “The reason Lyft
is able to compete with Uber is that even if they have fewer drivers in many cities, both platforms are still able to guarantee a ride with an average wait time of 4 minutes. Neither can improve by adding more drivers to a city.” James Currier
“A business model is the
way that all of the parts of a business work together to create competitive advantage and customer value.” - Dan and Meredith Beam
Who Do You Want Your
Customers to Become? Henry Ford didn’t just rethink the automobile and the factory, he rethought the work week, and the reasons why people might want to drive.
A Business Model Map of
Uber A magical app that lets drivers and passengers find each other in real time A networked marketplace of drivers and passengers Customers who trust that they don’t have to drive their own car Augmented workers able to join the market as and when they wish A matching market managed by algorithm
What makes an app “magical”?
1. It seems unbelievable at first. 2. It changes the way the world works, so that the unbelievable comes to seem inevitable and normal. 3. It results in an ecosystem of new services, jobs, business models, and industries.
Technology has a fitness landscape
In my career, I’ve watched a number of migrations to new peaks, and I’d like to share with you some observations about what happened, and why. And then we’ll talk about some lessons for companies like Google, but also for the overall economy. Apple Personal Computer Big Data and AI Smartphones
The Rules for Success Change
IBM: Maximize competitive advantage by control over hardware Microsoft: Maximize competitive advantage by control over software Google: Maximize competitive advantage by control over data and marketplaces Apple: Maximize competitive advantage by integrated control of hardware, software, and marketplace. In each case, companies playing by the old rules lost. Or did they?
Generosity takes us to the
next peak Tim Berners-Lee, 1990 The World Wide Web Linus Torvalds, 1991 Linux Big Data and AI Tim Berners-Lee, 1990 The World Wide Web Linus Torvalds, 1991 Linux
The runaway objective function “Even
robots with a seemingly benign task could indifferently harm us. ‘Let’s say you create a self- improving A.I. to pick strawberries,’ Musk said, ‘and it gets better and better at picking strawberries and picks more and more and it is self- improving, so all it really wants to do is pick strawberries. So then it would have all the world be strawberry fields. Strawberry fields forever.’ No room for human beings.” Elon Musk, quoted in Vanity Fair https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/elon-musk- billion-dollar-crusade-to-stop-ai-space-x
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Market Networks In a market
network, you’re not connecting a simple marketplace of buyers and sellers, but also connecting them with intermediaries and service providers. A Market Network combines elements of a professional network, an online marketplace, and SaaS tools.
“We wouldn’t be able to
build defensibility from our supply- side relationships purely on the basis of a Marketplace Network Effect, because it was in the interests of the real estate agents to syndicate their listings through every possible channel…. So we created an XML feed standard … This prevented brokers from having to go through the hassle of posting them manually to every channel, and soon our competitors had adopted the same XML standards for their sites as well.” And, after 2009, when the real estate market collapsed, ”to scale [a] new monetization strategy targeting smaller customers, we set to work creating cost-effective marketing and lead generation products for the individual real estate agents.” Pete Flint
“Once they get some traction,
platforms survive either because: They achieve critical mass in a market with network effects. They are the default place to go—this is why Craigslist, Airbnb, ebay, Etsy, and other places with most of the inventory thrive. They provide a tool set ecosystem. The product or service has certain functions that buyer and seller need (escrow, analytics, a CRM, etc.) that the marketplace can provide with an economy of scale that beats everyone doing it themselves.” Alistair Croll
Dealing with climate change Rebuilding
our infrastructure Feeding the world Ending disease Resettling refugees Caring for each other Educating the next generation Enjoying the fruits of shared prosperity
This is what technology wants
“Prosperity in human societies is best understood as the accumulation of solutions to human problems. We won’t run out of work until we run out of problems.” Nick Hanauer
“In order to fully reap
the benefits of a changing economy—and sustain growth over the long-term—businesses will need to increase the earnings potential of the workers who drive returns, helping the employee who once operated a machine learn to program it. They must improve their capacity for internal training and education to compete for talent in today’s economy and fulfill their responsibilities to their employees.” Just-in-time learning is a 21st century competency Larry Fink, CEO, Blackrock
Tim O’Reilly @timoreilly • O’Reilly
AI Conference • Strata: The Business of Data • JupyterCon • O’Reilly Open Source Summit • Maker Faire • Foo Camp • … • 40,000+ ebooks • Tens of thousands of hours of video training • Live training • Millions of customers • A platform for knowledge exchange • Commercial internet • Open source software • Web 2.0 • Maker movement • Government as a platform • AI and The Next Economy Founder & CEO, O’Reilly Media Partner, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures Board member, Code for America Co-founder, Maker Media