Push(y) Notifications

As an early adopter of smartphones, and product manager at a company with an iPhone app, I. Love. Push Notifications. They provide relevant information at appropriate times and locations, and a quick entry point for the user to exactly where they want to go within an app. However, companies are (rightly) approaching this new direct-communication method cautiously. There are several reasons why, one of which will be familiar to anyone who has studied the Tragedy of the Commons. Continue reading Push(y) Notifications


Tragedy of the (Boston) Commons

This winter, the city of Boston has gotten a LOT of snow [1] [2] [3]. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to watch the local news without seeing another story of a roof collapsing or worse, a meteorologist reporting of more to come. However, the people of Boston have remained strong, and plowed, dug, back-hoed, and removed snow from every major street and sidewalk. Well, almost every sidewalk.

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Why You Should Share Your Content

Yahoo! has one. Facebook has one. Yelp has one (more detail below). Even TripAdvisor is starting to get in on the action. What am I talking about? APIs, or “Application Programming Interfaces”. In laymen’s terms, the tools that developers use to display other people’s content on their website or app. Or, to put it the way The Economist does, the digital tool that has exploded in recent years and may affect how technology is used in the future.

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Location, Location, Location

One of the most beautiful things about a free market is when people try to find innovative ways to take other people’s money. This can be done by introduction of a new product or service, or the re-purposing of an existing good. Sometimes, one doesn’t even have to do anything to bring in a new source of revenue.

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Economics Is All Around You: Delta Online Check-In

The Idiot Economist has been doing quite a bit of travelling for work in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve observed some excellent examples of simple economics in action all around. One came up while I was booking my ticket. Others popped up in the airports themselves. Each one was a small blip, a moment that could have easily been lost in the noise and commotion of life. But each one has importance as a consequence of economics in action. Today we’ll take a look at the new Delta Online Check-In program for overbooked flights.

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Hello again dear readers! Allow me to apologize for the irony in following a series of “one-year anniversary” posts with…silence. I blame President Truman. As some of you may know, the Idiot Economist has been living in Washington, D.C. for some time now. Therefore, it was with great pleasure that I followed the president’s sage advice: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” I’ve always been one to go all out, especially when following instructions from no less a man than the President of the United States, so I got two. In honor of my newest canine companions, today the Idiot Economist covers the economics of pet ownership.

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New Collar

On Monday, the Idiot Economist discussed the difference between the historical “Blue collar” and “White collar” worker classifications. However, these are as old and stale as the heavily starched collars themselves. Therefore, allow me to introduce some new definitions, more applicable to the modern business age.

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