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February 01, 2013


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Jeremy Bosk

Darwin did not say that we were descended from apes. He said that man and apes had a common ancestor.

The Cityville / radio analogy falls down because Cityville is a game among many running on an established network infrastructure, the internet, with billions of people already having computers. Radio was a new technology requiring the building of a transmission system and the purchase of receivers by millions of listeners. The correct analogy might have been the number of people listening to The Archers once this was done.

But I agree with your general thesis in the article.


On "fast following," the technical term of art in economics is "herding". This indicates an industry that operates together, and any change that happens sweeps through at the same pace for each incumbent. In this sense, "fast following" means following each other as fast as the herd moves.

Herding is generally seen as a strong signal that the industry is driven by regulation, and/or/thusly is commodity product. An alternate unregulated industry displays significant differences between competitors; look at Apple v. Microsoft v. Google v. Amazon v. Oracle. The differences are easy to discern by ordinary people.

Kevin Dowd - The Evolution of a Free Banking System (Iang)

For an alternate (Darwinian?) treatment on the evolution of banking, see Kevin Dowd's superlative introduction:


Chris Skinner

Good points Jeremy

Re Darwin: agreed. We weren't descended from an ape, but share the same common family tree as these wonderful creatures. Having said that, I am often accused of being a cheeky monkey!

Re radio: this sparks a completely new drift of conversation around building versus leveraging infrastructure.

The different today is that the internet backbone, built over three decades too, allows programming (Zynga) and players (tablets and smartphones) to do far more with the network than our old analogue infrastructures.

This really means that media can now change overnight, when the old way would have meant building a new infrastructure for every form of media.

To illustrate: we can launch a whole new integrated multimedia world of experiences and get 100 million engaged customers overnight. In the days of radio, we would have had to build an infrastructure for each and every new media form, and wait decades to get adoption.

That is the real difference today.

Chris Skinner

Thanks Iang / Kevin


Completely agree and I would like to add that some of the traditional functions of a bank are likely to be taken over by non-banks in the near future. Consider the range from e-payments to crowd-funding and the traditional banking model seems fundamentally unfit for the future.

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