Live blogging The Long Tail

Signing my Mac Book Pro

17.20 Chris Anderson is in Milan at a conference, organized by ‘The Ruling Companies’, and a bunch of bloggers have been invited to cover the event live, so here I am, sitting in the first row, and listening to what is being said. I am actually curious to see if there will be new nuggets, and what the Italian speakers here are going to say.

The Minister of Communications, Paolo Gentiloni, is also here. Which is fun, since a law that came up just last week promoted by him would have made blogging in Italy impossible except by big budget professional publishers.

17.30 Chris Anderson: “Where we are standing right now may very well be ground zero of what we now call the long tail, since Milan, and Italy in general has grown even in the industrial age on niche styles, and products of high couture, fashion, wine, food, which now has spread, through the internet to the rest of the world”

He is doing his slideshow. Excusing himself for the American examples in front of the European audience, and translating the Bell curve into Gaussian distribution, and the power-law into Pareto’s.

17.53 “The network effect is… uhm… the network effect is… argh, I have a hard time explaining it on-stage. You know, the internet, the web, right?” A true bushism. 🙂

“Hits succeed because they make the most efficient use of a limited distribution. They are a product of supply chain, not of demand

The cost of shelf space has fallen to zero. For the first time everything made in the world is available.

The fastest growing part of the market is what was missing in the culture before

Redbridge from Anhauser Busch, a beer for people with glutin allergies, is the example of a shift in culture, which is independent of the internet. People everywhere are developing a taste for niches.”

18.00 “The Ryanair Effect: with choice in travel the destinations are becoming more varied, as we reveal the new places where we want to spend our time”

I don’t know if I will be able to ask questions, but if I will here are some that I would:

1. Copyright is an agreement between content owners and society. When the legislative criminalizes behavior that a large portion of society deems possible, and legal, to protect content owners, the balance of this agreement hurts what is the perception of the importance of legality in the entirety of society itself. Isn’t it time to reconsider the original agreement?

2. What is the Long Tail of Politics? (just popped into my mind, since lately I am thinking a lot about open government, and wonder if the expression actually means anything.)

18.20 Shows a drab corporate photo of Steve Ballmer and says “Microsoft has an image problem” then the video “The Day Of The Long Tail”

18.30 Minister Gentiloni says “We are not outside of the wave of transformation that Chris Anderson described”. Yeah. We might not be outside of it, but Italy certainly is at the periphery of it. Look at Google deciding that it wasn’t worth keeping Italian programmers enticed with their contest for the Android applications because of bureaucratic complications. I stopped listening to him, and after a few minutes asked Paolo Valdemarin sitting on my side if he was saying anything meaningful. He says “No.”

18.50 Question time. I actually got to ask the first question, and it was, more or less, the first one I listed above. Chris answered confirming that during the day he works for copyright, and by night whatever he does he releases with Creative Commons Attribution license. He says “I don’t own an excusive license to my ideas, and I want to share them, and get the feedback from them”

Gentiloni remarks, relevant to Italian…

Wow, as I was writing this, and sorry for the time jump (19.09) and interrupting myself, but answering a question from Camisari Calzolari, Gentiloni (telepathic, or maybe my question was obvious enough) has just answered my second question, and he said that the Long Tail of Politics is the presence of 22 parties in the Italian parliament.

…so, getting back in time to the answer to the first question, he says that the Urbani decree (putting jail term for copyright infringement, which as many laws in Italy has never been enforced) has to be changed. We’ll see.

I also had the chance to tell Chris that I already uploaded a video highlight of his talk while he was talking, with a Creative Commons Attribution License, and complete with titles, and credits, and got his applause 🙂

19.15 Answering a question from Roberto Dadda about Free, his new book, Chris confirms that it will be available as a free digital download, as a free audiobook! Woot.

19.20 Answering an other question about ‘The Machine is Us/Using Us’ he says that “Yes, we are building an artificial intelligence in Google, but I don’t see a way this could become corruptive and be used against us.”


Now on for the ‘Long Dinner’ where I heard Chris is actually going to join us! 🙂
(Sorry for many links missing. I will put them in shortly. In the meantime you can use Google!)