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August 6, 2015

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Posted: 06 Aug 2015 12:06 AM PDT

Should the Christensen Self-Disruption Playbook Be Thrown Out?

Posted: 05 Aug 2015 12:17 PM PDT

Joshua Gans at Digitopoly:

Google Plus exemplifies why self-disruption doesn't work: Google is slowly but clearly shuttering Google Plus; its latest failed social network. In many respects this is not a surprise. As I wrote upon its launch in 2011, Google Plus demonstrated precisely why Google didn't get social as it, by default, asked people to think about restricting their social activity rather than by encouraging it as a default. It nudged people in precisely the wrong direction in its attempt to differentiate itself from Facebook. Thus, even though it had many 'pros' in the network effects ledger — in particular, millions with Gmail accounts — this 'con' combined with Facebook's already significant network put it well behind. It didn't seem to stand a chance.
So why did it happen in the first place? It is not like Google weren't already dominant in search and online advertising and remain so today. It is hard to know but in reading things like this Mashable account I have a theory. I'll admit that this theory will reflect my current theoretical biases but that doesn't make it less of a theory; just that the evidence, should it ever emerge, may not support it.
Here it is: Google Plus was launched and organized according to Clay Christensen's self-disruption playbook. ...

After a long explanation, he ends with:

I would ... suggest that self-disruption has never actually worked and the Christensen playbook on this should be thrown out. But that is a post for another day.

Simple things like the ability to automatically share blog posts were missing. The rise -- such as it was -- and fall of Google+ is not surprising at all.

'I’m Not Denying That Trump is a Clown, but Given his Party’s Field, That’s Not a Distinctive Judgment'

Posted: 05 Aug 2015 10:42 AM PDT

I am supposed to be sorta kinda like on vacation this week -- I am writing this from a cabin on a lake that has internet service (a must for me), but no phone service. I'll try to keep up, but hope you will understand if posts are, temporarily anyway, a bit less frequent, etc. Anyway...when a quick post is needed, there's always PK:

Style, Substance, and The Donald: Just about the entire political commentariat has been caught completely flatfooted by Donald Trump's durable front-runner status; he was supposed to collapse after being nasty to St. John McCain, but nothing of the sort happened.
So now the conventional wisdom is that we're witnessing a temporary triumph of style over substance; Republican voters like Trump's bluster, and haven't (yet) realized that he isn't making sense.
But if you ask me, the people who are really mistaking style for substance are the pundits. It's true that Trump isn't making sense — but neither are the mainstream contenders for the GOP nomination.
On economics, both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are into deep voodoo. ... Is Trump any worse on economics than these guys? He's suggested that a weaker dollar would be good for America (even though he also wants higher interest rates), which actually makes him more of an economic realist than his rivals.
His immigration proposals are extreme; but ... the Republican base agrees with him...
So why is Trump regarded as ludicrous, while Bush and Walker are serious? Again, on the substance they're all ludicrous; but pundits are taken in by the sober-sounding personal style of the runners-up, while voters apparently are not.
Just to be clear, I'm not denying that Trump is a clown, an absurd figure. But given his party's field, that's not a distinctive judgment.

'The Sad Death of Free Market Pessimism'

Posted: 05 Aug 2015 10:00 AM PDT

Chris Dillow:

The sad death of free market pessimism: The hostile response to Paul Mason's Postcapitalism raises a question: why are rightists economic optimists?
I ask because that reaction seems to me to be part of a pattern. It tends to be free market types who are most critical of Malthusian-type pessimism, and I get the impression that it is left-liberal economists who are more worried by secular stagnation whilst rightists are more sanguine about it.
There is, though, no necessary logical connection between optimism and pro-capitalism. Joseph Schumpeter was an admirer of capitalism but feared it could not last. David Ricardo advocated free markets but feared that diminishing returns would choke off growth. And there was for a long time a melancholy tendency within conservatism - expressed most eloquently (pdf) perhaps by Michael Oakeshott.
It would be perfectly coherent to be believe that freeish market capitalism is a good thing but that it is imperiled not just by bad policy but by intrinsic developments such as diminishing returns or a loss of entrepreneurship. And yet free market pessimism is a view that seems to have faded.
Why? Here - in no order - are some theories...

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