Information Rules

The set text for my Digital Economy module is called Information Rules – A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy written by Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian, and published by the Harvard Business School Press.
Tenenbaum, a man whose textbooks I consider among the best I’ve ever used, describes this book as follows: “Full of powerful tools for strategic decision making, Information Rules is a valuable source for students, researchers, managers, and legislators.” That’s written on the second page of the book, and if Tenenbaum thinks it is a good book, I know it’s going to be a good book.
The Digital Economy module has been extremely interesting. Firstly it’s an economic module, and I’ve only done a couple of economic subjects back at UQ (microeconomics and the like), so I’m being introduced to concepts I’ve considered before, or which have been touched on briefly by other business subjects, but which I’ve never studied in-depth. Secondly it’s just plain interesting, learning about positive network externalities in digital industries, and issues surrounding versioning and lock-in. Studying standards wars and rights management and looking at information policy. It’s all really great stuff, and reading it all I think it very much supports the statement that Shapiro and Varian make at the beginning of the book, that is:
Technology changes.
Economic laws do not.

I plan to be a part of the digital economy, so I’m glad that I now have a much better idea of how it actually works. There are economic reasons why Microsoft gets bigger while other companies get smaller, why Sony and Phillips agreed on the CD standard, but why the phone companies still won’t standardise their networks, why different versions of products are priced differently and why versions exist at all. Things make sense now, which is always one of the best things you can get out of learning in my opinion.

One thought on “Information Rules

  1. agree totally. it’s good when everything starts to fall into place and you start to understand the big picture just a little bit more. 🙂


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