Tech companies, capabilities, and rents

Tyler Cowen asks: could the tech companies run everything better? Under one view, the major tech companies lucked into some pieces of rapidly scalable software… Under the second view, the major tech companies have developed new managerial technologies for hiring, handling, and motivating super-smart employees… Yet a third view starts with the idea of labor scarcity, at […]

McKinsey Global Institute on industry concentration

There’s a bunch in their new report on productivity growth that relates, but here’s their bottom line: In our sector deep dives, we find evidence of increased business concentration and consolidation but do not find that rising concentration has contributed to the decline in productivity growth.1 We continue to find evidence of strong competitive pressure […]

A concise introduction to organizations

I recently wrote a series of posts laying out some basics on how I think about organizations. I’ve collected links and summaries here. How to think about organizations According to sociologist Richard Scott, “Organizations are groups whose members coordinate their behavior in order to accomplish shared goals or to put out a product.” Loosely, I think […]

What are organizations for?

The historian Ian Morris defines the social development of a society as “the bundle of technological, subsistence, organizational, and cultural accomplishments through which people feed, clothe, house, and reproduce themselves, explain the world around them, resolve disputes within their communities, extend their power at the expense of other communities, and defend themselves against others’ attempts […]

Good non-technical resources for understanding machine learning

This will be a living post with links to resources I think are useful (or, in some cases, that I simply want to remember to look at) for non-ML-pros who want to understand machine learning and how it will change [work/society/etc]. Full disclosure, I worked on much of the HBR content. And while I vouch for […]

Mergers, social science, and unmeasured interactions

From Tyler Cowen’s conversation with Matt Levine: COWEN: If we think about mergers and acquisitions, one of the standard results in the empirical finance literature is that acquiring firms do fairly poorly. That is, acquisitions don’t seem to pay off. Yet, of course, acquisitions persist. You’ve done M&A work in your life. How do you think […]

Notes on technology diffusion

One of the many memorable bits of Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth is how rapidly technologies like radio and automobiles diffused throughout the country. But is diffusion speeding up? I won’t try to answer that question. This post is just to clip together some resources related to it. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/technology-adoption-by-households-in-the-united-states?country=Household%20refrigerator+Electric%20power+Microwave+Colour%20TV+Automobile+Computer+Social%20media%20usage+Landline+Tablet+Ebook%20reader Our World in Data […]