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January 11, 2007


Bruce Sterling

Let Bob be Bob, that's my philosophy. Let Bob, Winner of the National Medal for Technology be Bob: that makes even more sense.


Um, don't we - America, that is - have the worst quality of cell phone service in the world? Not to mention the worst quality of internet access - not of the entire world, but we're way, way behind.

And let's not forget our fantastic health care system, which is by far the most expensive on the planet and still manages to leave out more people than the population of Canada (a lot of them children).

The market - at least as it is practiced here - isn't always doing such a great job with the really big problems.

Hey, I'm all for thinking there's going to be a solution to this, but I would point out that Metcalfe wouldn't be talking about it or even paying attention if it were not for alarmists.

After all, klaxons and alarms really are annoying - that's why they get your attention.

And, speaking of deniers, let's just remember that almost to a man, they are well funded by a very particular industry.

Speaking of capitalism and the way the market works...


I do find it refreshing that nowadays Bob's mantra is FOCACA, since back when he was the famous alarmist predicting the imminent demise of the Internet in 1996 his main reason was that it wasn't centrally managed like AOL. I let Bob be Bob when he came to me then by showing him actual data over several years demonstrating Internet latencies improving, not getting worse. He was big enough to admit he was wrong and eat his prediction.

So I think Bob knows the difference between the kind of Internet diversity we had back then and the oligopoly we've got now, since all the big original independent ISPs went belly up or got bought by telcos. What we've got isn't even the kind of oligopoly they've got in Japan, which actually delivers real fast broadband.

What Bob is proposing isn't laissez faire free market capitalism in the Wall Street Journal sense. That's a mass market after crossing the chasm sort of thing, not to mention it never really seems to exist, and it often seems to me that the only real innovator in all of U.S. capitalism is Steve Jobs. Capitalism in that sense isn't about innovation; it's about market share and monopoly. Notice Bob's sneers at how little research is actually done by even the biggest corporations.

Bob is talking about innovation before early adopters. That's more of an MIT-Harvard-BU educational-industrial complex sort of thing. Or an open software sort of thing; see next post about black swans.


Krassen Dimitrov

GreenFuel is a bad investment for Bob and Polaris. Industrial algaculture does not work. Capital and O&M costs are too high, revenue is too low...

Peter Malkin

I think they and the other investors did their homework from before. In terms of not working I suppose you are referring to the DOE study that used algae pond technology. Yes that did not work, and yes it was several decades ago. I think greenfuel has learned the lessons from that study and is making a better system.

Check it out for yourself: http://greenfueltechnologies.blogspot.com


No, they haven't. They just decided that the laws of thermodyanmics are no longer valid...

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