a lesson from Peter Thiel....

In Peter Thiels wonderful book, ZERO TO ONE, he describes a counterintuitive point about entrepreneurship and economics, one that vastly differentiates itself from the mainstream point of view.

In it, he makes the case for monopolies. Although, a caveat is in place to describe a certain type of monopoly different than the industrial age style of say, STANDARD OIL. The good types of monopolies he describes are ones like GOOGLE, or PAYPAL. Companies that created a whole new category, and are the best at what they do.

His point is that competition is bad, or more apply, misunderstood. Google hasn't had any competition in what it's best at, "search" for many years. 

This point can be applied to other endeavors aside from business. On a personal level, competition often works against our goals. It places us in a situation where we cannot think creatively because we are striving for incremental advantages of doing things that are already visible.

But when you stop looking at your work as competition, new ideas can appear because those borders are loosened. You create new categories, when you go from 0 to 1.

It's an interesting idea to contemplate.

In Peter Thiel world, technology and innovation is our savior, with an emphasis on financial rewards. A possible counterpoint to some of his idea's is Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality, who describes the tech monopolies as the possible end of the middle class in his book, WHO OWNS THE FUTURE

Both have interesting books to look into.

Hollywood Movies; a commodity?...and other sidetracked thoughts...

The distinction of movies as art, commerce or technology is not an easy one to make, once you extinguish the emotional commitment to one or a combination of the others. The filmic language is probably easier to differentiate itself from photography, whose had a historically more contentious relationship with itself as art work (see here for just a glimpse and one sided take on the subject) . Films just have more moving parts.

But the other argument to make is that most filmmaking, most of the time in it's largest scale is really closer to being a commodity than it is an art. Hollywood churns out a product, a seemingly efficient one, although still messy that resembles a factory process. Now, we all know that this is not true in the same way you produce a cereal product, but, it's main goals is too redo whats worked as sound business practice. However, we all know that repeating a historic process doesn't guarantee a future. And that is precisely where we are now.

My biggest question on the matter of the filmic language is whether or not the form itself demands a need for universality. The means of production and execution have historically been massive. One Hollywood blockbuster could get at at least 100 hundred startups up and running. But that's not the point. To make the money back, you basically need not offend a large group of people, but at the same time, give them a very mediocre experience that's worked in the past. That's top down, middle of the road commoditization. That's what you get at the grocery store. And since, at that huge level of production costs, Hollywood thrives as a monopoly, minimizing risk is the top priority. But, as we all know, a monopoly who doesn't innovate, implodes eventually. 

The real issue is whether movies in the way they are created and marketed could continue to sustain itself in the longer run in a world where media elsewhere keeps downsizing and splitting of into smaller, but more dedicated niches. Even in entrepreneurship, the shift is too micro.

But micro was historically never intended for narrative movies, which had for years depended on a large segment of a population, mildly agreeing with it's storytelling because of habit, to recoup the large costs of production. Of course, Hollywood also created some(a large percentage) of the most memorable movies in the history of the media. 

I believe for now, that the move to niche is only possible, if niches for these new stories exist. And even if they do, is it economically viable for creators to keep producing, or, are we not doing the work necessary, to create another language with similar tools? Or do need to spend the energy on new tools and platforms?

Because supply is everywhere you look. The other part of the equation is undoubtably lessening.