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Tom McCraw, “Schumpeter, Innovation, and Creative Destruction”, Econtalk, 2007/10/08 October 16, 2008

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Schumpeter was an Austrian economist, but stood apart from the community. McCraw did an extensive study, including learning German to understand Schumpeter’s voluminous writings.

Thomas McCraw of Harvard University talks about the ideas of Joseph Schumpeter from his book, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. McCraw and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss innovation, business strategy, the role of mathematics in economics, and Schumpeter’s vision of competition embodied in his most important idea–creative destruction.

McCraw on Schumpeter, Innovation, and Creative Destruction | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

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Richard Epstein, “Property Rights, Zoning and Kelo”, Econtalk, 2007/09/17 October 5, 2008

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Rezoning not only changes the characters of neighbourhoods, it also shifts the value of the properties. Sometimes the rezoning is for the benefit of the community, and sometimes it’s not applied in altruistic ways.

Richard Epstein, of the University of Chicago and Stanford’s Hoover Institution, makes the case that many current zoning restrictions are essentially “takings” and property owners should receive compensation for the lost value of their land. He also discusses the Kelo case and the political economy of the regulation of land.

Epstein on Property Rights, Zoning and Kelo | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

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Fred Brooks, “Collaboration and Telecollaboration in Design”, OOPSLA, 2007/10/24 October 5, 2008

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Fred Brooks spoke about the history of how he came to write The Mythical Man Month, as one of the first studies of information systems development. In this talk, he gave some thoughts on how collaborative development at a distance changes (and doesn’t change) the work.

A new characteristic of design in the 20th century is the dominant use of teams to do design. We design with teams both because we are in a hurry and because our creations require more skills than one mind can master. Yet we want our designs to have excellence, and that requires conceptual integrity. Achieving conceptual integrity in team design is then a formidable challenge. Telecollaboration is now, in the 21st Century, not only possible but even fashionable. The mantra of “telecollaboration” assumes implicitly that collaboration is a good thing per se. The more one collaborates, the better. This is far from self-evident; it probably is not true. Nevertheless, there are parts of the design process where collaboration not only shares out the work, but also produces a better design. Here telecollaboration can be most fruitful. Analysis of these aspects of design inevitably generates opinions on how design should be done and taught.

OOPSLA 2007

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Caterina Fake, “The History of Flickr”, IT Conversations, 2007/02/12 October 5, 2008

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Flickr is a success story, but it wasn’t the original main development project of the team.

Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and current member of the Yahoo’s Technology Development Group, explains the humble beginnings of one of the earliest and most successful Web 2.0 applications, Flickr. Flickr actually began as a feature in Ludicorp’s Game Neverending, a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game that was focused on social interaction rather than the more typical battle-style MMORPG. Ludicorp (from the latin word for “play”) was a small game development company in Vancouver started in 2002 by Fake and her partner Stewart Butterfield. Though the community that grew around the game was very dedicated, Ludicorp couldn’t make it profitable.

Creation of a photosharing component was the last gasp in the game’s development. Looking back, Fake now realizes that had she and her team done any research on photosharing at the time, they probably would never have moved in that direction, as back then photosharing was little more than a loss leader for photoprinting sites. But by 2003 both camera phones and blogging reached a tipping point that made the market ripe for a solid browser-based photosharing application.

IT Conversations | Adaptive Path | Caterina Fake (Free Podcast)

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Gregor Kiczales, “Context, Perspective and Programs”, OOPSLA, 2007/10/23 October 5, 2008

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Gregor Kiczales is famous for aspect-oriented programming, but decided to not speak about that at this conference. The talk covered the ideas of informal systems and formal systems.

Context plays a large role in our perspective on the world around us — people see things differently depending on background, role, task at hand and many other variables. How do different contexts affect developer perspectives on software? What different ways do developers want to see a program? What different ways do they want to work with a program? How does a program mean different things to different people? How does context influence perspective? How do different contexts and perspectives interact? Can these interactions be reified, controlled and parameterized?

A broad range of work has explored these questions, but many issues remain open. We lack a general understanding of the concepts and mechanisms that can support the changes in perspective we need. We lack the ability to handle context and perspective systematically, easily and reliably throughout software development. Work is needed in a number of areas, from conceptual foundations to theory, languages, tools and methods. A truly satisfying handle on these issues may even require a material expansion of the foundations of computation — or at the very least the foundations of programming languages.

OOPSLA 2007

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