Competition for Sport — The thrill of victory… the agony of defeat. And the human drama of athletic competition. We love sports. And every 4 years we get the pleasure to watch amateur athletes, at the top of their game, compete in the Olympics. And that got us thinking about competition. Because that’s what it’s about, right?
Tagged with “competition” (8)
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In this episode, a question that haunted Charles Darwin: if natural selection boils down to survival of the fittest, how do you explain why one creature might stick its neck out for another?
The standard view of evolution is that living things are shaped by cold-hearted competition. And there is no doubt that today’s plants and animals carry the genetic legacy of ancestors who fought fiercely to survive and reproduce. But in this hour, we wonder whether there might also be a logic behind sharing, niceness, kindness … or even, self-sacrifice. Is altruism an aberration, or just an elaborate guise for sneaky self-interest? Do we really live in a selfish, dog-eat-dog world? Or has evolution carved out a hidden code that rewards genuine cooperation?
The year was 1998. Cher’s autotune anthem Believe was one of the year’s biggest hits, Titanic had swept the Oscars, and in some sterile software campus in the Northwest, Bill Gates was rehearsing a deposition.
It’s been over 12 years since Gates’ and Microsoft’s anti-trust battle with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission first hit the courts. It is still seen as a watershed for the management of technology companies in the dot com age.
But in the dozen years that have passed, people are still speculating whether the anti-trust case against Microsoft made any difference, and whether the software and technology companies of today are engaging in anti-competitive practices similar to or more risky than the ones that got Microsoft in trouble.
Who are the Microsofts of today? Facebook? Apple? Google? And how do we manage competition in the digital age?
Today, two of the leading minds on the internet and law, Jonathan Zittrain and Larry Lessig, take on competition.
This is just the pilot of a new monthly feature we hope to have with Jonathan and Larry. Any thoughts on the show? Compliments or criticisms? Share them with us in the comments. We’re also looking for a name for this series. If you have any brilliant ideas drop us a comment!
Another very special radio competition. We sent Adam Davidson, Chana Joffe-Walt and Alex Blumberg to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ New York Conference and challenged them to bring back the best economics stories they could find. Listen to their stories, hear our panel of celebrity judges weigh in and then decide who you think should be the winner.
Adam Davidson, Chana Joffe-Walt and David Kestenbaum visited New York’s Fancy Food Show with a directive: bring back the best economics story they could find in just 60 minutes. The starring ingredients: olive oil, vanilla beans, and roquefort cheese. You can listen and vote for your favorite fancy food story at npr.org/money.
Tim O’Reilly Web 2.0 Conference 23 minutes, 11mb, recorded 2009-11-17
The early days of the internet were truly astonishing. As people came to comprehend the power of networked information, they seized the many opportunities for innovation created by the open architecture of the web. Of course, the browser wars also showed that threats to openness and interoperability were a real danger. Today, Tim O’Reilly worries that escalating competition between large companies and closed platforms may drive the web towards a battle ground of locked down services and proprietary data.
As large, powerful players have emerged on the internet landscape, you don’t have to look far to see some troubling skirmishes between opposing forces. O’Reilly touches on several examples where well known web applications include features designed to limit flexibility and user choice. To some extent, limits may be necessary to protect privacy, but in some cases, there is clear intent to lock in users at the expense of the competition. The situation is even more extreme in the mobile arena.
Will the large companies play by the cherished rules of the open web as we’ve known it? It may depend on how "the cloud" grows. As web service companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft make O’Reilly’s notion of the web 2.0 "internet as a platform" a reality, they will have choices on how to maneuver. There is pressure for the giants to forge alliances, and leverage unique services as weapons to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. But, history has shown that internet success often comes if you "do what you do best, link to the rest". O’Reilly urges companies to stick to their core strengths, maintain an open architecture, and embrace the "small pieces loosely joined" philosophy.