Walter

Nov 202013
 

The most intuitive way to structure a paywall with respect to premium content — like, say, a longform reported magazine piece or a Snowfall-style multimedia feature — is to offer the cheaper content for free and put the premium stuff behind the gate. I say intuitive simply because it costs you more to produce that stuff;

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Nov 162013
 
Average is Over, Robots, and the Minimum Income

I recently read Tyler Cowen’s latest book Average is Over, and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking about technology and the future of the economy. It’s a highly readable vision of what the coming age of ubiquitous intelligent machines will mean for workers and the economy. Here’s a bit from Chapter 1 that captures Cowen’s

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Nov 162013
 
Don't gamify healthcare -- gamify health

There was a piece in Fortune earlier this month with which I strongly disagreed, on the subject of healthcare, technology, and “gamification”. The post centers around a health tech hackathon and, I think, in dismissing the promise of gamification, misses one of the most promising aspects of health IT. Here’s the gist: Several months ago,

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Oct 042013
 
The internet isn't killing the music industry

Contrary to what you’ve heard:   That’s via a report from the London School of Economics, which concludes: The music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warnedof by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence. This isn’t to say all is well in the music industry, and it doesn’t speak

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Sep 022013
 
How to trust economists

The questions of whether we can trust economists and what economics is good for are back, thanks to a New York Times post last week making an outrageous claim: The fact that the discipline of economics hasn’t helped us improve our predictive abilities suggests it is still far from being a science At Bloomberg, economist

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Aug 282013
 

A series of recent blog posts and news items – here, here, here, here – have me worried about how Silicon Valley* and the startup world relate to the rest of culture and society. There’s a reason Wall Street has a bad name; Silicon Valley shouldn’t have to end up like that. Part of it

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Aug 262013
 

In the spirit of blogging more regularly, I just want to quickly flag something Fred Wilson said this month, though I don’t have the time to give it the attention I’d like to. Here he is, via Business Insider: However, now that Android is winning, he [Wilson] says, “My new worry is that Android could run

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Aug 242013
 
When there is no one right tool for the job

“The problem with [a] spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.” -Barack Obama, 2007 presidential debate The implication of the metaphor above is that it’s important to use the right tool for the job; you wouldn’t attempt surgery with a hatchet, after all. It’s a good line, especially when talking

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Aug 162013
 

For years, the idea that the internet and social media are making us [insert ill here] has been a common trope in newspapers and magazines. It’s making us lonely! Narcissistic! We don’t communicate anymore, like really communicate, man! Despite the frequency of such claims, the evidence has pretty roundly contradicted it, as I’ve written seemingly over and over.

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Jun 152013
 

I’m currently reading an excellent book about the financial crisis called After the Music Stopped by Princeton economist Alan Blinder. I’m about 3/4 done, and I’ve already recommended it to many people. The problem is that it’s 443 pages; I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to devote that much time to a comprehensive account of the

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