Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: heartless capitalism

New thoughts on automation

For whatever reason, it’s quite rare to find a talk so interesting you’re on the edge of your seat for most it. This delightfully happened to me recently¬†while listening to LEK Consulting‘s Andrew Allum talk about automation.

I find the topic of automation generally quite clear-cut:¬†I think it’s a Good that will cause a fair amount of Bad in the short term. The bad consists of major restructuring in the job market and a lot of unemployment, which makes the fear and loathing around automation justifiable – too emotional and alarmist, but understandable. The good is in the long-term effect of greater productivity, lower prices and increased availability of valuable products and services for more people. Also, better jobs.

So against that backdrop of ‘This is a non-issue’, I was happy to find a lot of new food for thought in the talk. Mr Allum stressed that he was not a futurist and did not want to speculate much on what the effect of the changes we’re seeing now might be. I however am letting my mind wander, so have your grains of salt at the ready…

Business

To publish good books or profitable books, that is not the question

Last weekend I went to a party with some non-publishing folk, which is a rare occurrence and never fails to make me feel like a circus animal. People ask you what you do, and then exclaim ‘How exciting!’ and ‘That must be interesting!’, and then ask you uncomfortable questions you don’t have the answer to. Like, ‘Do you think publishers should publish books that make money or books that are good?’ This actually happened, and after only about a minute of warm-up. Hardly fair.

I said on instinct that I thought the former, but then they turned the screws on me and we ended up agreeing on a compromise: Publishing profitable books allows publishers to publish good books, so they should publish both. But now that I’ve given it some more thought I would like to go back to my earlier, less forgiving view. See, a couple of things nagged at me about the compromise…

Business