Pessimism without Paradox


There are two things about David Isenberg which make him one of sharpest and perhaps the wittiest commentators on all things telecom and technology. One is his uncanny ability to come-up with memorable headlines (I have shamelessly taken one of them, and put it as a header for my post, but then when something is so great, why reinvent the wheel) and second is to use his brain like occam’s razor to cut away extraneous fat. Like he does so when Eli Noam’s latest piece in the Financial Times.

David, who is organizing a wonderful event in early April, (cleverly named) writes in his analysis:

bq. He fails to admit the possibility that such activities might actually seed a new stability. Ethernet was licensed openly, but was not trampled by free riders. The Internet itself, as commonly owned a property as can be, shows rock-solid stability despite 20 years of triple-digit growth and relentless trampling by herds of bad actors.

bq. Sure, the Internet will destroy the telephone business — but let’s cheer, not wring our hands, as we email, blog, and call halfway around the world for free. And that’s not the only plausible positive outcome — there are more moderate ones. For example, the open-source software movement is maturing into an institution that could live co-dependently alongside commercial software much as the Red Cross coexists with commercial hospitals, big pharma and the HMO business.

What an eloquent way to phrase the power of commoditization!

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