1908 – 2008 – 2108

MrMorgan
The New York Times, 11/4/1907

In October of 1907, financial markets in the United States came to a complete halt. Credit markets froze, major banks collapsed, and the stock market plunged. Heads of industry, like J. P. Morgan, were forced to inject massive amounts of capital to prevent a complete collapse.

The circumstances of the Panic of 1907 are very similar to our current crisis. In both, the economy had experienced huge growth over the preceding decade. Banks lowered lending standards, which led people to take on more and more debt. When bank assets began to decline, depositors panicked, and there was a run on the financial system.

But for the rest of this post, I’d like to focus on the period that follows a financial crisis—not on the crisis itself. (Keep in mind that although I speak in terms of American progress, my point applies to any country around the world.)

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The period following 1907 was monumental in American history. Continue reading “1908 – 2008 – 2108”

Reality Bytes

So I just finished watching the debut of Dancing With the Stars. I saw a bit of the last season, and I really didn’t like it. But as far as reality shows go, my dislike was nothing out of the ordinary.

However, I have two reasons for watching this season: the first being Mark Cuban. Cuban is an interesting guy. I don’t follow his adventures in the sports world, but I like his blog and think some of his posts are right on the mark (no pun intended). Obviously, I don’t agree with everything he says but I like alternative points of view. It will be interesting to see him on the show. He certainly doesn’t fit in with the other male contestants — but I guess if he enjoys himself that’s all that matters. The second, being Josie Maran — for obvious reasons.

Bureaucratic Innovation

I think the biggest problem with reality TV at the moment is lack of originality. Every show is either a direct copy or a “rhyme” of another (usually successful) show. Is it because the networks are too afraid to take a chance on something new? Or have the creators/writers truly run out of ideas? I have the tendency to believe it’s the former rather than the latter. And that’s just one reason why eyeballs are moving away from traditional media sources and on to new media. More original, more creative content. If and when the big guys do get it right (it happens every once in a while), they have the talent and the resources to do a fantastic job.

Outside the bureaucracy of the large content generators, it’s easy and cheap to try new things. Throw it out there, quickly gauge the public’s response, and either make the necessary adjustments or continue to expand the content. Maximum tinkering and survival in small niches of content on The Long Tail. In my opinion, a combination of both these features — being nimble/innovative and having the resources of a large content generator — would produce the best results (another reason why Google (GOOG) is so successful).