Big Bang Disruption

Harvard Business Review • March 2013

Look for the exits. Accenture marketing experts Larry Downes and Paul F. Nunes say big-bang innovations can torpedo an existing market without even targeting it: "We're accustomed to seeing mature products wiped out by new technologies and to ever-shorter product life cycles. But now entire product lines—whole markets—are being created or destroyed overnight. Disrupters can come out of nowhere and instantly be everywhere." Think about what smartphone GPS did to in-car navigation systems and read on for suggestions on how to anticipate and cope with game-changing innovation.

This is an interesting extension and partial update of the Clayton Christensen and Geoffrey Moore thinking on disruption. In their discussion of strategies to survive big-bang disruption one of the admonitions is "Get closer to the exits, and be ready for a fast escape" with the further observation that "Incumbents are often trapped by their balance sheets." In our world it's interesting to think about the extent to which library freedom to act is constrained by what we've told the university accountants and the insurance values carried on the university balance sheet. Non-depreciable assets—books? (Michalko)

Invest in Your Customers More than Your Brand

HBR Blog Network • 25 February 2013

The good, the bad and the ugly. Jeff Bezos figured out early on that posting negative comments alongside those glowing stars furthered his company's strategy of educating customers about their buying decisions rather than just selling them stuff. Pundit Michael Schrage notes: "Amazon transformed customer behaviors and expectations by consistently favoring innovative 'advice' over sales-oriented 'advertising' and promotion. Credibility comes from commitment to facilitate decision, not calculate persuasion." Read on for more about how "aducation" is changing the face of branding's digitally-mediated future.

This is a provocative description of delivering something useful with a transaction as a by-product. I ended up liking the term "aducation." Recently when I needed to replace the LED screen on my notebook I bought the replacement from the firm that had the YouTube DYI video. (Michalko)

Why Are We So Obsessed with the Pursuit of Authenticity?

New Statesman • 7 March 2013

Get real. Journalist Steven Poole ponders the current fetishism of "authenticity" demonstrated in the public debate over everything from Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance to James Frey's autobiographical fiction to the virtue of indie coffee shops: "The authenticity-obsessed want something to be real, but they're on a hair trigger to cry foul if it seems too real to be true . . . The cult of authenticity, in other words, begins from an assumption that most things are fake, and in doing so ensures that they will be." Read on for Poole's commentary on the value and distraction of "real" in today's society.

Steven Poole doesn't actually do a very good job of explaining why we are obsessed with authenticity or even establishing that we are but he is my new go-to guy for cultural-reference-studded rants. We mentioned him in ATF a few months ago and featured his Invasion of the Cyber Hustlers back in January. (Michalko)

Steve Mann: My "Augmediated" Life

Spectrum IEEE • March 2013

Outlook: murky. Computerized-vision geek Steve Mann shares what he's learned from wearing his self-designed visual augmentation devices for the last 35 years. As Google Glass readies for rollout, issues surrounding how augmented vision changes the way the brain processes visual information have yet to be addressed. Mann notes that the changes are not permanent, but readjustment can take awhile. Read on for more cautionary advice on living an "augmediated" life.

I am glad that the Google Glass business has brought more attention to Steve Mann (images) who gets my respect for having had a vision that could at that moment only be realized at cost (like scaring the hell out of people) and staying with it until we all caught up with him. This is technology but it has spawned cyborg anthropology. (Michalko)


Aeon • 6 March 2013

RIP. Decades after the print encyclopedia market disruption, parting with those once-treasured volumes can still feel like betrayal. Writer and editor Julian Baggini's poignant essay on his longtime relationship with Britannica and his search for an appropriately respectful disposal method will strike a chord with every bibliophile. For more on the Encyclopaedia Britannica's 244-year history, check out this article by the company's president, Jorge Cauz.

It's heartfelt and accurately describes the dynamic behind the heyday of the home encyclopedia. As for mold and book burning try Bookworm by Rosamond Purcell. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what framework enables a re-imagining of the "natural boundaries" of collection management, and offers a unique perspective on the new geography of library service provision?

Get the answer.