Friction and the new dark ages

This article from the WSJ is interesting, it’s about using systems like pubsub to create persistent search as part of trying to get as far in front of the rumor mill around your investments as possible.

“It’s like a giant electronic driftnet,” …
Such technology may have been at work recently, when the results of a government study of a cancer drug developed by Genentech was mistakenly posted on the Web site of the National Institutes of Health. An hour after the results went live, the stock had soared nearly 20%. David Miller, president of Biotech Stock Research, based in Seattle, said a few investors using the new technology may have seen the change on the NIH site, which put the release on its RSS feed about five minutes after it appeared on its news page — and acted on it.

I really like that driftnet metaphor. Very synergistic with my talent scrapping metaphor; or that some business models are like whales.

Fun to puzzle how about how¬† friction is always part of the market/business design. As King Content continues to be dethroned by the distribution channels the net present value of content falls. Like money in a depression it’s interest rate is going negative. When the interest rate goes negative the incentives get pretty strong to pull the money out from under the mattress and convert it into some other capital good. Presumably that’s what’s happening to content.

So maybe I’m wrong.

I’ve been assuming that open content and owned content are in a death match. That open content will win. That the displaced culture around owned content will go dark. I call this the new dark ages – that all the content copyrighted during the 20th century will just go dark. Locked up in the vaults of the mega-content owners.

But, just maybe, like those who horde capital in a recession the content owners can be convinced to pull it out of the vault. No wonder these guys are doing everything they can to increase the friction in the information distribution networks!

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