Showing posts from February, 2008

STUPID AND SINFUL--How America Can Be Number One Again

Maybe we should rethink our “No Child Left Behind” program. If we eliminate all expectations for achievement and behavior, we may actually be able to recapture our economic and moral supremacy, and be number one in the world. Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but there is a precedent for this kind of thinking.

At yesterday’s TED conference in Monterey, California, Jay Walker, founder of, made the case that it was the Catholic Church’s Plenary Indulgences—not the Guttenberg Bible—that drove the creation and popularity of the printing press. In the 15th century, indulgences were like modern day torts, and the church hierarchy was the equivalent of ambulance chasing trial lawyers. Instead of the laborious and often inaccurate process of copying these documents that absolved people of their sins, the Church had a better business plan. It was the equivalent of a class-action suit, because printing these Letters of Indulgence en masse would provide a new, extensible and scal…

The OTB of Magazines

Finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for print magazines. A new strategy has emerged thanks to The Industry Standard, the high priest of the Internet that folded after that bubble burst. Now, the magazine is back on line, but this time people are betting on it to win—literally. Yes, the Standard is now the OTB of the magazine world, taking bets on whether or not Yahoo will accept Microsoft’s offer, or whether Google will support Open ID. Register to bet and you’re given 100,000 virtual dollars to play with. The odds change, of course, and there are cut-off dates. But what's at stake is more than play money. The results of this kind of virtual betting, which are often right on the money, could determine a company’s stock price or whether or not that V.C. investment goes through.

Soon after it launched in 1998, the Standard became the “bible” for Internet business. It was fat with ads and attracted some of the best financial writers in the magazine universe. …