Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday's Random Thoughts

Facebook's new "Promote This" feature:
"Traditional" business interests are reacting to Facebook's new promotional opportunities as if its a death knell (see: Mark Cuban, Mavericks). The assumption implicit in their thinking is they should have a monopoly on speech.

I don't know how long Facebook's new thing will last, but opening up the ability for anyone to "promote" a post for a few bucks (or a lot, depending) kind of changes the degree of access. It's not really revolutionary, but it is slightly more democratic (easy, one-click access).

In the next election cycle, proponents will mobilize their own voices more directly by sponsoring their own (or candidate's) posts. Facebook will make a lot of money.

This is the best summary of the media frenzy over Gen Patreus having a personal life.
Hotels are hiding fees in your bill to suck a few extra bucks from your wallet. 
Voters raised taxes all over the country.
John Gordon at Kateva on the connection between corporate structure and Soviet-style central planning:
Central planning triumphs because, even if we ignore regulatory capture and senatorial acquisition, corporations are only capitalist on the outside of the cell membrane. Inside the corporation there are no contracts, no currencies, and no markets. Inside the corporation, we have the hallmarks of Soviet central planning - goals and quotas and commissars and imaginary numbers and dictates from the central commission.
I was wrong about Prop 37 passing by a wide margin. Marion thinks this speaks to the power of money in political advertising, but I'm not so sure. The big money was right on this one, but for different reasons. I still thing GMO labeling is coming, but it will be in a more marketable form. Look to the DeBeers Diamonds model (use long-term marketing to create a perception that GMO is a premium product.)
John Gordon (again!) predicts the demise of climate change as a party platform in GOP politics within the year. Do you agree?
How corporations use rent-seeking to extract value from economic activities they don't support:
Here's another good example that affects Internet policy. We hear a lot about "free content" on the Web, and the idea that users are getting something for nothing. "They don't want to pay for their content." And yet, most people access the Internet by paying an Internet service provider $60, $70, $80 a month. You think of a company like Comcast. The user pays them $80 a month and watches television, and we say, "Oh. They're paying for content." They pay $80 a month for access to the Internet and we say, "Oh. They're getting their content for free." Something is clearly wrong with that picture!
In fact, the reverse is actually true. The free rider is Comcast. If people watch television, the Cable company has to pay money downstream to content providers. When people watch YouTube, or use Facebook or Twitter, or just surf the Web, they pay nothing for content. So it's not users who are getting the free ride, it's these big companies. That's just one of many implications that come to light when you start thinking about the Clothesline Paradox.
What are you thinking about today?