Who Benefits from Broadband Usage Caps

Why don’t ISPs invest in infrastructure, create jobs, and expand service, rather than capping service and trying to drive up profits on increasingly crappy and restrictive service? Check out the new FCC.gov site, and study up on spectrum and then you can leave a comment encouraging the FCC to stop allowing short-term capitalist gain to throttle our future. As the US becomes less and less competitive in terms of broadband speed, can we really expect to get out of a slump or be a global force? Indeed, the question of who gets to write the rules about the internet’s pipes is the major bone of contention in the net neutrality debate, both for terrestrial and mobile data networks. When the new net neutrality rules go into effect, ISPs won’t be able to block their online video competition, but there’s no rule against doing that with bandwidth caps or tiered usage pricing.

Drunk with Data, Economist at Google is on a Roll

Google also conducted 5,000 search experiments last year, which led to 400 search improvements (and the same again for ads experiments). Such insistent experimentation is an academic means to a capitalist end. Or, as Varian puts it: “Google is like a university, but with money.” It’s a cheering thought – and possibly why, in a recent talk at the 150th anniversary of MIT, Varian was notably more optimistic than his peers.“Economics is really on a roll in Silicon Valley,” he says. “The good news is that standard techniques from economics work very well on big problems. It’s a little discouraging working as an academic economist because the problems that you work on are so hard. They’re much, much easier in industry.”

via Lunch With Hal | Think Quarterly.

PLATO Got me interested in computers

PLATO – Program Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation was installed in the Basement of

the G Lecture Hall at UIC, then known as “Circle” when I was attending. I was taking a Microeconomics course, and

I was freakedout because I had never taken an econ test, and the teacher did not tell us whether it would be essay, multiple choice, figuring out equations, or what. PLATO had a huge test bank of econ questions. You could set it up to make a 10 question test for you, that it would grade and provide you with correct answers for the questions you missed. I happily sat in that stuffy basement lab, taking test after test until I had the confidence that I could take the actual test.

Most important piece on new business that I’ve read lately.

…the news industry and the consumer are now on a precipice. It’s clear that news remains important to the consumer, but where they get it from is not. As attention refocuses, the relationship between the consumer and news will shift evermore to a “pull” rather than “push” strategy for the consumer. No app or mobile platform will save this relationship, but a shift in how the news “attacks” the consumer to get heard will. This is not a short battle – I believe it will be a continual one, as technologies change.

Nobel Prize Winner Yunus on microfinance gone wrong

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Commercialization has been a terrible wrong turn for microfinance, and it indicates a worrying “mission drift” in the motivation of those lending to the poor. Poverty should be eradicated, not seen as a money-making opportunity. There are serious practical problems with treating microcredit as an ordinary profit-maximizing business. Instead of creating wholesale funds dedicated to lending money to microfinance institutions, as Bangladesh has done, these commercial organizations raise larger sums in volatile international financial markets, and then transmit financial risks to the poor. via Sacrificing Microcredit for Megaprofits – NYTimes.com.