Missing Elinor Ostrom

In Governing the Commons (1990), Elinor Ostrom says Hardin???s argument is not new:

Aristotle long ago observed that ???what is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest??? (Politics Book II, ch. 3). Hobbes???s parable of man in a state of nature is a prototype of the tragedy of the commons: Men see their own good and end up fighting one another???[1]

She goes on to cite a long list of other sources, the growing sum of which have long since snowballed into a single widely held conclusion: ???Much of the world is dependent on resources that are subject to the possibility of a tragedy of the commons.???[2]

Yet Hardin???s model, she explains, is an argument of one very narrow kind: a prisoner???s dilemma, ???conceptualized as a noncooperative game in which all players possess complete information ??? When both players choose their dominant strategy??? they produce an equlibrium that is the third-best result for both.??? The game is fascinating for scholars because ???The paradox that individually rational strategies lead to collectively irrational outcomes seems to challenge the fundamental faith that rational beings can achieve rational results.??? She adds, ???The deep attraction of the dilemma is further illustrated by the number of articles written about it. At one count, 15 years ago, more than 2,000 papers had been devoted to the prisoner???s dilemma game (Grofman and Pool 1975).???[3]

The “Tragedy of the Commons” is one of the lamest assessments of humans I know. The Prisoner’s Dilemma is equally bogus. Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, now we’re talking interesting.

U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner spikes Apple-Google case, calls patent system ???dysfunctional???

In a series of earlier rulings in the Apple case, Posner didn???t mince words as he used plain language to beat up the over-reaching arguments of both sides:

[re a slide-to-unlock patent] Apple???s .. argument is that ???a tap is a zero-length swipe.??? That???s silly.  It???s like saying that a point is a zero-length line.
Motorola???s contention that the term has a ???plain and ordinary meaning??? is ridiculous; Motorola seems to have forgotten that this is a jury trial.
In his ruling to dismiss, Posner noted that a trial would ???impose costs disproportionate to the harm ??? and would be contrary to the public interest.???

Anti-competitive, thank you judge.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The Untethered, Hyperconnected Enterprise

Two back-to-back panels explored what it takes to successfully transition to the untethered enterprise, one consisting of academics, and one of CIOs.?? Not surprisingly, each of these panels viewed the opportunities and challenges through somewhat different lenses.

The academic panel talked about the need to be entrepreneurial and move quickly to try out new ideas in the marketplace.?? Agility beats strategy every time.?? Marketplace experimentation is very important, and it is the right way to make decisions as to what works and what does not.?? Top down strategy plans take too long to formulate and generally don???t work so well because technologies and markets are changing so fast.?? With digital platforms, cloud and other such capabilities, the cost of experimentation is much lower than in the past, whereas the cost of missed opportunities is very high.?? Companies need to embrace this culture of agility.??

The CIO panel was more guarded.?? While they agreed that agility and experimentation were very important, they viewed them more as aspirational objectives that were not always practical given existing investments and commitments.?? Unlike the academic panel, the CIOs emphasized the need for ROI analysis and careful planning, especially when considering big technology bets.?? Stitching together the overall infrastructure to support a variety of cloud services and mobile devices requires discipline, otherwise things will not work or there might be serious security and quality breakdowns.??

Motherships and skunkworks

Hacking Society

The reason that’s important is because if we are here today for one reason at least that we’re here today is that it seems like 2012 has been the year in which the network has come of age politically between the SOPA PIPA battle at the beginning of the year after and its failure, let alone the prior year in the Arab spring where it’s more ambiguous how much was played by the network and how much was played by existing social networks.

But this was really the year of network politics fighting for itself. And so this moment requires that we understand not only what networks are but also what networks are against and what networks are threatened by. And that’s why I wanted this particularly stark definition between twentieth and twenty-first century, or industrial hierarchical and network. Yochai Benkler

Audio and transcripts available.

The USPTO/DOC’s liberal and misleading definition of IP-Intensive industries is designed to influence policy debates

It turns out, the government has shamelessly ramped up the employment numbers by including a very liberal definition of IP-Intensive industries. To follow appreciate how liberal, it is useful to spend some time on Table 10, which is found on pages 36-38 of the report. Indeed, before you read the whole report, spend 10 minutes reading Table 10, and then things will begin to make more sense. More than 83 percent of all reported IP-Intensive jobs come from the trademark sector, where the mere existence of a brand name somewhere in the value chain makes the industry count as “ip-intensive.” Most of the jobs have nothing to do with anything remotely connected to ACTA, SOPA or other IP policy debates.

They exaggerate? Quelle suprise.

Fiberevolution: Fastweb was a precursor in IPTV. Will they be a precursor in abandoning it?

Last week a Milanese newspaper announced that Fastweb was abandoning its IPTV offer (in favor of distributing Sky’s satellite Pay-TV solution). Fastweb blames the abandon on dwindling subscriptions and a tough economic climate. As Teresa Mastrangelo highlights in an excellent blog post entitled FastWeb Says ???arrivederci??? to IPTV; Is Telecom Italia Next?, that’s part of the story certainly, but only part of it. 

Teresa suspects that Telecom Italia may be leaning the same way soon. More broadly, I’ve been wondering if IPTV isn’t a con’s game for most broadband providers. In a recent study that we undertook for the FTTH Council Europe and that will soon be published, we asked 13 service providers to rank their various services in terms of attractiveness to end users and profitability. IPTV systematically came on top in attractiveness and at the bottom in profitability.

It’s amazing the things a drowning incumbent will cling to. Telcos want to be TV stations? Not even TV stations want to be TV stations, the licence to print money expired with the channel scarcity that drove those margins evaporated.

And they’re not the first: