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Winners and prizes

21 February 2010

I discussed last week how different combinations of network effects and positive feedback loops have enabled a few winners to take something close to all the prizes in some markets. But we should beware of being deterministic and over-schematic about this – each case is different. Microsoft and eBay established effective monopolies […]

The Network Effect

February 11, 2010

The Economist recently published a special report on social networking, which attributed Facebook’s extraordinary growth to ‘the network effect’. This is more or less true but the writer is conflating two different phenomena: network effects, a concept drawn from economics, and positive feedback loops, from the world of engineering. It is their […]

The iPad – nobody knows anything

4 February 2010

William Goldman’s aphorism about Hollywood producers failing to guess which movies will be hits is equally applicable to new products and technologies like the iPad. Our first impressions – especially when we haven’t even seen or touched one – are almost invariably wrong. The immediate reaction of most commentators when the iPod […]