Unfortunately, many new technologies and business models make money for investors without creating jobs for workers. That causes unemployment and increases what the blogger Clay Shirky calls “cognitive surplus” – unused brainpower.
I won’t argue about net job creation here (though I think most innovation fosters it in the long run, so long as the education system prepares people for the new jobs that result). But it is exciting to see a company designed to extract some of the highest-value cognitive surplus around, and to make money both for the company and its – well, they are not exactly workers. Call them members – or even sellers of their own cognitive surplus through an exchange set up for that purpose.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month I was in Kyiv, speaking at a conference focused on entrepreneurs. I wanted to give a talk that would be of general interest but also concrete. So I started with one of my favorite parables.
It is a familiar folk tale. A confidence man shows up in a village with what he claims is a magic stone. Put the stone into a pot of water over a fire, he says. Then just add a few ingredients – maybe some vegetables, some ham bones from yesterday, a few spices – and you will soon have a delicious, life-giving soup with magical healing properties.… Seguir leyendo »
A name is just a sound or sequence of letters. It carries no value or meaning other than as a pointer to something in people's minds – a concept, a person, a brand, or a particular thing or individual.
In modern economies, people distinguish between generic words, which refer to concepts or a set of individual things (a certain kind of fruit, for example), and trademarks, which refer to specific goods or services around which someone has built value. By law, actual words can’t be trademarks, but specific arrangements of words – such as Evernote or Apple Computer – can be protected.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month, I participated in a meeting sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, the giant philanthropy, which focused on creating more jobs in the United States – presumably a goal shared by most countries. Our little group – made up of philanthropists, a few entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and “angel” investors – concentrated on start-up companies, the source of so much commercial energy and of so many jobs.
We spent a lot of time considering which short-term measures (specifically excluding government regulations and policy) could make a difference. We came to the conclusion that what start-ups need most is greater access to mentors.… Seguir leyendo »
The Internet is an extraordinarily powerful tool. It has changed how we do business, how we do politics, and even how we change our leaders – at least some of the time.
But the ease with which we now communicate, the efficiencies we take for granted, can give us a false sense of how easy it is to follow through on some of these changes. Despite the importance of social media in fomenting revolution, and even in deposing deeply unpopular leaders, governing in the real world is not as easy as governing online.
This struck me last week when I listened to one of Egypt’s new online generation talking enthusiastically about the future.… Seguir leyendo »
Hace más de 50 años (1957), los soviéticos lanzaron el primer satélite en órbita del mundo, superando a EE.UU. en el espacio. Para los estadounidenses, el "momento Sputnik" fue un llamado de atención que empujó a Estados Unidos a aumentar la inversión en tecnología y educación científica. Meses más tarde, EE.UU. lanzó el satélite Explorer 1, con lo que la carrera entró en movimiento. Se animó a los niños a estudiar matemáticas y ciencias, y los conocimientos estadounidenses ayudaron al país ante el desafío.
Pero el ritmo ha disminuido drásticamente desde entonces, y la NASA ha estado tratando desde principios de noviembre de aprestar su último transbordador para el lanzamiento.… Seguir leyendo »