Reflection – Class readings and discussion: 7/7/08

The level of discussion was more broad this week. I found the discourse intriguing on what constitutes free and the emerging requirements for effective filters, given the scale of information available. Attention and reputation as the stuff of value, with the decline of the cost of the information in an information economy, is significant as each of us only has so much time (an aspect of attention). To invest that wisely becomes critical for individuals, as do both of the above for groups/businesses/organizations.

The Anderson article “Free!” was part of all interchange, although it was not formally part of the evening. The different ways various countries had “instantiated” their infrastructure (as cable, as wireless, competing on just the businesses that run on the infrastructure and competing on both that and infrastructure layers) was instructive. What exactly defines “infrastructure”? Where does one cross the line from what ought to be taken for granted/free and where true value is added, as well as what is the nature of that value.

The presentation of the HBR article in light of the Long Tail (LT), Anderson’s response to the article, etc. helped me go deeper considering their differing views. They appear to come down to a few things:

  • The use of percentages vs. numbers
  • A snapshot of the present state vs. the view of the trend/future
  • “Business Stance” – that is, more traditional, as represented by the HBR vs. more libertarian, as represented by Wired


My presentation on How Not to Build an Online Market went well, although I was intimidated by the great job my classmates had done. I feel that drawing attention to the behavioral differences between B2B and B2C markets, discussing the place of the middleman in an anonymous, aggregated market, and the place of “risk management via favors” in both kinds of markets was helpful. These were the main points I got out of the dialogue.

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