I have just finished Chris Anderson’s latest book which explores the impact of the digital world on the price we pay (think advertising-funded Google, obviously, but also everything from free samples to counterfeit handbags). It’s a nicely written narrative and a thought-provoking subject but somehow, I’m not entirely convinced.
In places, Anderson’s arguments are over-extended and his economics feel flawed. The overall tone of the book is of the kind of hype which precedes the bursting of bubbles. And yet, at core, I think he is largely correct: the ability to extend a “free to user” model that we all know from commercial TV to a vast array of business models will be a true paradigm shift. Many things will go down in the flood. Largely, I think he is right about the bits vs atoms argument: delivering digitally drives marginal cost close to zero. But his arguments seem not wholly robust.
Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile read.