Review: Hit Makers by Derek Thompson

In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson tries to explain why some ideas become popular and others fade away. It’s an important question and one facing every content creator in today’s hyper-competitive media landscape. Technology platforms like Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter have transformed media into a winner take’s all market. How does a new band break through… Continue reading

Nixonland: How a book about Richard Nixon helps explains Donald Trump

The central thesis of Nixonland, a sprawling look at the origin, rise, and decline of the Nixon administration, is that there was simmering white resentment underneath the optimism and change of the Kennedy Administration. Hidden behind the civil rights movement was a mass of unhappy middle-class white people. Nixon wasn’t the first politician to exploit white… Continue reading

Retailers should look to the past to compete against Amazon

Amazon has engulfed nearly every aspect of retail and is positioned for more. Its North American sales have quintupled since 2010. Between 2015 and 2016, Amazon captured well over a third of all American online retail sales—including 43 percent in 2016. Moves to vertically integrate its supply chain by solidifying an ocean freight license, marketing in-home deliver, and… Continue reading

Review: Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Greene

Joshua Greene’s Devil’s Bargain is ostensibly about Steve Bannon, arguably mainstream Democrats biggest boogeyman not named Vladimir Putin. The book, of course, covers his evolution from the Navy to Goldman Sachs, to World of Warcraft, to Hollywood, and to (supposedly) anti-Goldman right-wing crusader. However, the book is really about how three well-financed forces coalesced and… Continue reading

Yelp, Antitrust, and Google

Google, Amazon, and Facebook are modern-day railroads. The technology companies are three of the few organizations that own and control our modern infrastructure. Connor Dougherty published a nice look at how Google’s monopolist position impacts the businesses that rely on the infrastructure it owns. Like farmers and railroads before, web service providers like Yelp are effectively… Continue reading

Book Review: How Not to Network a Nation

In the thirty-some years since it fell, American analysis of the Soviet Union has been reduced to one sentiment: communism failed because capitalism is superior. Professional people—especially ones employed by media companies—spend an awful lot of time and energy attempting to rationalize its downfall through clichéd ideological arguments. They bring up the work of Hayek,… Continue reading