Don’t Be A Free User (Pinboard Blog)

I love free software and could not have built my site without it. But free web services are not like free software. If your free software project suddenly gets popular, you gain resources: testers, developers and people willing to pitch in. If your free website takes off, you lose resources. Your time is spent firefighting and your money all goes to the nice people at Linode.

Source: Don’t Be A Free User (Pinboard Blog)

Big Is Beautiful – The New Yorker

American politicians may not agree on much these days. But they are unanimous in their veneration of small business.

Meanwhile, the countries with the lowest percentage of workers employed by small businesses are Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the U.S.—some of the strongest economies in the world.

This correlation is not a coincidence. It reflects a simple reality: small businesses are, on the whole, less productive than big businesses, and though they do create most jobs, they also destroy most jobs, since, while starting a business is easy, keeping it going is hard. This is true around the world.

Small may be beautiful. It’s just not all that prosperous.

Source: Big Is Beautiful – The New Yorker

 

Small business is not that prosperous for *society*. We would all be collectively worse off if we had to rely on 100,000 general stores each owned by a sole proprietor and fed by its own piddling supply chain rather than mostly rely on big box retailers, department stores, and supermarkets for most of our shopping while relegating the sole proprietorship businesses to remote locales or niche markets. It is ridiculous that the in-city corner store charges $2.50 for the same bottle of seltzer that costs $0.49 at the suburban grocery store, and I doubt that the grocery store is using seltzer water as a loss leader or that the in-city store is making a killing with an 80% profit margin. The costs really are that different and collectively everyone in the economy generates (through higher productivity) and receives (through higher wages and lower prices) more material value with the former than the latter in every case where the scale of the enterprise is available.

That said, I’ll agree that it is really hard to beat the work atmosphere and lack of corporate bureaucracy of a small business. Still, the pay is lower and I’m sure I am a less productive employee/member of society (if for no other reason than my work is going to help fewer customers, though I am sure that financing and leverage also play into that). Thus, I agree with the article and the quote:
“Small may be beautiful. It’s just not all that prosperous.”
— Small is more likely to be fun, friendly, inspirational, exciting, etc. but it is also an expensive way to conduct an enterprise and collectively society is materially richer and more productive with larger companies in many if not most cases.

The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah! – Forbes

I have long argued that the impact of the Affordable Care Act is not nearly as big of a deal as opponents would have you believe. At the end of the day, the law is – in the main – little more than a successful effort to put an end to some of the more egregious health insurer abuses while creating an environment that should bring more Americans into programs that will give them at least some of the health care coverage they need.

Source: The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah! – Forbes

 

What kind of industry is incapable of spending less than 20% of its revenue receipts on *administration*?

Another Study Shows Data Caps Are Likely Ineffective, Address Wrong Problem | TechCrunch

during peak hours when service is most likely to be affected by overcrowding, heavy users only make up a small percentage of those consuming bandwidth – 14.3%, to be precise. And of the heavy users, only half of them were on the fastest connection, further driving home the fact that while they may consume more in total, they are not contributing more than anyone else to the actual problem, which is slowdown in peak hours.

Source: Another Study Shows Data Caps Are Likely Ineffective, Address Wrong Problem | TechCrunch

Does The FairSearch White Paper On Google Being Anticompetitive Hold Up?

FairSearch, a group of search companies including Microsoft which lobbies that Google is too dominant, has sent a white paper outlining its anti-trust concerns about Google to the 50 state attorneys general in the US.

all this attention seems to be revolving around a tiny number of companies that feel Google is somehow being anti-competitive toward them, rather than around the literally millions of companies that rely on search engines of all shapes and sizes that deserve protection from the search engine industry as a whole

Source: Does The FairSearch White Paper On Google Being Anticompetitive Hold Up?

Venture Capitalist Warns Of Job Creation Myths : NPR

Bill Frezza, a venture capitalist and a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute says the idea that creating jobs leads to growth and prosperity is a fallacy. He tells Lynn Neary that the jobs myth is at the heart of the nation’s unemployment problems.

Source: Venture Capitalist Warns Of Job Creation Myths : NPR

You know, each business is run for the benefit of its owners, its shareholders, its customers, and its employees. It’s not run for the benefit of the country. That’s not why people run businesses.

— Bill Frezza, a venture capitalist and a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

The $300m cable that will save traders milliseconds – Telegraph

In the high-speed world of automated financial trading, milliseconds matter. So much so, in fact, that a saving of just six milliseconds in transmission time is all that is required to justify the laying of the first transatlantic communications cable for 10 years at a cost of more than $300m.

Source: The $300m cable that will save traders milliseconds – Telegraph

Are Software Patents Evil?

Patents are a hard problem. I’ve had to advise most of the startups we’ve funded about them, and despite years of experience I’m still not always sure I’m giving the right advice.

One thing I do feel pretty certain of is that if you’re against software patents, you’re against patents in general. Gradually our machines consist more and more of software. Things that used to be done with levers and cams and gears are now done with loops and trees and closures. There’s nothing special about physical embodiments of control systems that should make them patentable, and the software equivalent not.

Source: Are Software Patents Evil?