Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Enemies of Innovation

Empires are often built upon scarcity and control of distribution. Things like digital rights management (DRM) and proprietary ownership of standards are tools for protecting business empires. However, scarcity is the enemy of innovation. And the Internet is turning fortresses into sand castles.

The ultimate problem faced by companies fighting to maintain a death grip on their content (whether it's music, software code or news) is that the artificial scarcity of their content is disappearing. So are their distribution monopolies.

You do not need to watch CNN to see one of their news stories. You can find it online, and not only on the CNN website. It is likely posted on hundreds of blogs and other websites. It can be emailed to you, downloaded using BitTorrent, podcast or viewed on YouTube. The economics and business models of content are changing.

These new dynamics are explained with wonderful clarity by TechDirt in a series of articles about the economics of scarcity.

YouTube, open source, blogs, BitTorrent, Skype, Craig's List. They are all exploding old business models based on artificial scarcity, and shifting the competitive landscape for what value means in a wired world (and marketplace).

But this is not the end of the world. Scarcity is the enemy of innovation. Today, content scarcity is disappearing, but that only means that innovation can accelerate.

Categories: innovation, economics, DRM

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

ODF Isn't Just California Dreamin'

It looks like the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is coming to California. A State Assemblyman from San Francisco has tabled a bill that would require all state agencies to create, exchange and preserve public documents using open, XML-based file formats beginning January 1, 2008.

The bill is designed to make sure that open is as open does. It requires open file formats to be:

* interoperable among multiple platforms
* implemented by multiple vendors
* fully published and royalty free
* controlled by an open industry organization

From Massachusetts to Minnesota to California. It looks like ODF is making its own cross-country migration. Go West, young format!

Categories: ODF, standards, California

Monday, February 26, 2007

An Inconvenient Oscar

Last night a spotlight shined on the cause of global warming and Al Gore's interrupted political career when his PowerPoint-turned-film, An Inconvenient Truth, won the Academy Award for
best documentary.

Forget 2000. The Supreme Court can't strip him of the Oscar. And Al Gore's post-Washington career has been impressive. Professor, investment adviser, environmental advocate and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Even more impressive, Gore has been right about the most important issues of the day -- the power of the Internet, Iraq and global warming.

As the Vice President noted, the fight against global warming only depends on the will to act, a renewable resource. So, is Al Gore's political career another renewable resource?

Categories: GlobalWarming, AlGore