World After Capital

Updated 6 months ago

James Marcroft (@jamesmarcroft) started discussion #548

2 years ago · 1 comment


There are two characteristics of digital technology that expand the space of the possible, and both are important: the first is zero marginal cost and the second is the universality of digital computation.

Digital Technology (Edit this file)

In addition to Zero Marginal Cost, I think it's important to note that while physical goods depreciate the more you use them digital goods increase in value the more you use them. Think about playlists on SoundCloud, conversations on Twitter, or reputation on Airbnb. The more you use digital services, the more value you store in them, and the more useful and valuable they become, not only to you but also the company that owns them. This can be empowering or frustrating depending on how the platform is run, but it's a key distinction of digital services that will become ever more relevant as crypto assets become integrated into platforms.

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James Marcroft @jamesmarcroft commented 2 years ago

This circles back to the core theme of WAC: that attention is scarce and valuable. Digital services (often) act as a store of attention (vs a store of value, like currencies or bitcoin is for capital). Digital services accumulate value every time you engage with a platform, taking some of your attention and turning it into stored data on the app via the actions you take (follow, like, post, establish reputation, etc...). This makes digital platforms valuable beyond the capital profits that come from selling ads or services in a traditional business, because digital platforms accumulate value when you "buy" (either directly or via ads) and they accumulate value when you "engage" (by taking actions that make the platform more valuable as a whole).

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