Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Free Markets, Duplication and Fragmentation...

To me, the free-market dynamics enabled by more open access to information and the power of free markets to solve problems, is irrefutable.

However, many companies' only competitive edge is purely in the supply and distribution chain that they have found, and they necessarily sees the democratisation of this sort of information as a threat. Many hide their contracts and pricing behind NDA's in what is in my opinion a lazy effort to hang on to their already declining relevance.

Additionally, it seems that the business case for many modern businesses is solely acting as agents, procuring things; enabling collaborative buying - examples range from the Groupons and PriceChecks of the world, to the real-time bidding employed when selling everything from advertising space to electricity (in countries like the USA where all power is produced privately.)

The problem with a lot of competition on infrastructure-type services, is however twofold: 1) You get a lot of duplication 2) You get market/standards fragmentation - although these lead to a fair price in the short term, in the long term the market as a whole has to bear the costs for this unnecessary duplication.

But duplication, in my opinion, is the lesser of two evils, when weighed up against regulation that dictates how and what you can and can not do.

Duplication, at least, leads to thriving industry and more efficient production through driving competition, where regulation merely serves to drive an information economy of regulators which increases our taxes, fattens our government and ultimately adds little value to society.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

GDP vs Broadband: Unclogging Global Communications

Why does better broadband help a country? Because it accelerates things. Much like money instills a way of focusing people's efforts, the internet makes it much cheaper and quicker to obtain information and as such people can get more things done quicker, provided that the needed information is available and accessible.

On a practical level, it can greatly accelerate ordering/tendering-type process; basically what the eBay's and Alibaba's of the world have done on a grand scale. For example: Tally how much time is wasted in obtaining quotes for each part of each project - each and every entity has to obtain quotes every time they need something, in every industry. A long list of suppliers, gets called every single day, and orders get chopped and changed, often based on pricing.

Sure, this collosal and global clogging of our global communications systems in order to do what gets done millions of times over daily, drives the communications industry to a large exten. Is it not this "clogging" rather, that is the symptom of a growing GDP?

What if all the time invested by me, in finding the best service providers and the price/quality ratios, could be saved for the 20 companies following in my wake? What if this bandwidth and airtime could be used mostly for innovation, rather than procurement?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

GDP vs Broadband

Let's be clear as to why the governments of the world want better broadband for their citizens: There was a great push from the industry to highlight the positive correlation between GDP and broadband availability (Google: GDP vs Broadband) to them. "If you do research and know exactly what you're going to find, it's not called research. It's called marketing." (TED: All good research is improbable)

Correlation does not mean causation, and I would wager that most of these studies were guided and funded by the communications industry or their stakeholders. There's a two way relationship: Higher GDP may well lead to higher broadband penetration, much like electricity creates wealth, creates power, quite literally (Wikipedia: Energy Consumption).

Although focusing on the one may well lead to the other, perhaps it would be more useful to dig into the reasons behind it.

Which I will do in the coming weeks.