One last long weekend before the September frenzy descends upon DC…time to read a book. I just finished Nicco Mele’s The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath and I recommend you check it out as well — it’s a great exploration of ways technology is shifting power relationships in areas as far apart as politics, music, war and big corporate business.
Nicco’s book is a series of predictions and musings more than a single argument, since he starts with the idea that digital tools tend, over time, to shift power away from large institutions and toward small groups and individual actors and goes on to think about how it will affect institutions across the board. Everyone from Al Quaeda to indie musicians have already used the ‘net to create international networks of support untied to traditional gatekeepers and authorities, and in the decades to come, distributed power production and 3-D printers promise to shift even more power to the small, local and hard-to-control.
One thing I like about the book is that Nicco’s no techno-utopian: he’s quite aware that disruption doesn’t always end well, and he’s as likely to explore the negative implications of “the end of big” for society at large as the positive. Overall, it’s well worth your time — check it out.