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August 09, 2007


You're absolutely right. I read the cult of the amateur right after reading Anderson's 'The Long Tail'. Whereas the long tail carried an intelligent argument through 200 pages, supported by both figures and detailed case studies, Keen's book reads more as an impressionistic rant.

What really bothered me, in a book whose principle arguments are about economics, was a lamentable lack of basic economic understanding. Viz p.62: "the average professionally produced 30 second spot costs $381,000. Yet Frito-Lay paid a mere $10,000 to each of the five finalists... leaving $351,000 on the table. That's $351,000 that wasn't paid to professional filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors, and marketing companies - $351,000 sucked out of the economy." 'Sucked out of the economy'? Or reinvested elsewhere, either by the company or its bank. This is a basic error, akin to those nationalists who note that globalisation means greater competition for export-based industries and then fail to notice the advantages of lower import prices.

The irony, of course, is that when it comes to writing Keen is the amateur - an entrepreneur who turns his hand to it - while Anderson is the professional.

Enjoying the blog.

Indeed. There are several fallacies in Keen's argument, and part of it is so ignorant that I find it alarming to see so many people take him seriously. Will return to this topic soon.

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