When I was a junior in high school, I went to one of my favorite teachers ranting and raving about how I was done. I was so much smarter than everyone in the class and I always saw straight to the core of the issue while they were preoccupied with superficial bullshit and I was tired of waiting around for them. I was sick of them stealing my ideas–they never gave me credit anyways. It was like I did all the work and nobody noticed. “Ryan,” she said, “that’s your job.” And I promptly shut up about it.
In The Black Swan, Taleb caught me doing something stupid. He said that only an idiot walks into someone’s library and says “Have you really read all these books?” A good library is filled with unread books– an “antilibrary.” Tucker has crates of books in perfect condition.
I used to feel guilty when I saw unread books piling up on my floor. Now I understand that it is still a step in the right direction because it reminds you of what you don’t know. It’s like the difference between kinetic and potential energy. So I have been adding to the stack. And if I had the money, I’d buy all these and probably not read them for a while.
What is in your antilibrary? What should I add to mine?
I got some emails from kids younger than me asking what this means and what they should do. And more problematically from one of them, what my predictions were with Google and cloud computing, an office suite and dark fiber. NONE of that matters.
Google doesn’t even know and that’s the entire point. Since no school is teaching it, we need to focus on learning that:
The successful companies of the future won’t “sell” things, as much as they will solve economic problems and thus create value for the customer. Sometimes those two things are the same, but often times they aren’t.This is the key to understanding the economic future of the world, and why some companies will compete and some won’t. – Tucker
Stuff like, which stock your should buy or short, who will up ruling the internet, all that is irrelevant to us. What we should take from this is confirmation of what I wrote about last week–that when attacked, centralized organizations tend to become more centralized and thus exacerbate their own problems.
Whatever your major is, what kind of grades you get, where you plan to intern, how much traffic your blog gets or which company you have storing your data–all that is piddly, logistical, small picture stuff. What really matters is whether you understand the meta-level change: the shift between value extraction and value creation. Forget ALL the details until you firmly grasp that new paradigm. Otherwise, you’re studying lesions, instead of figuring out the disease.
You can only beat speed with more speed.
You can only beat strategy with more strategy.
You can only beat Google by being MORE Google (i.e., more open, create more value, be even better to people). – Tucker
So fooling around with predictions is fun, as long as you remember that the chances of them coming through are abysmal at best. We don’t know anything. What you can spend your time on today–as you wait for your turn for these things to matter–is learning how to attack strategy, avoid centralization, and to look to the core of things and not their meaningless dressings. Can you do that? If you can’t–or even if you sort of can–then just ignore the Yahosoft merger and focus on what counts.
I would start with:
The Pirates Dilemma–Matt Mason
All Marketers are Liars–Seth Godin
The Strategy Paradox–Michael Raynor
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