Two authors to read, and a panel to attend

I’m going to be moderating a panel at today’s State of the Net Conference in DC. The panel is entitled “Author’s Corner: Can Innovation Drive the Economic Recovery?” Great title, great panelists, great books.  Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, has written a terrific book called The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. At a time Washington seems to be loading more regulations onto  innovative, growing industries, Gary identifies a range of policy proposals that could help encourage innovation and growth. Two of my favorites: “Stop penalizing investments in start-ups” and “Make economics, business, and entrepreneurism studies compulsory in school curricula.”   My biggest objection–most economic classes and textbooks these  days put very little emphasis on innovation (my own textbook, Economics:The Basic,  is an exception, with  a whole chapter on technological change).

The other author on today’s panel, Kevin Maney, has written a very different but equally terrific book called Trade-Off, with apparently two subtitles– “The Ever-Present Tension Between Quality and Convenience” and “Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t”. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but by the time I finished the book, Kevin had convinced me that an innovation was more likely to succeed if it fell at one or the other ends of the quality-convenience spectrum.  Very interesting–it even had some applications for my own business.

I will be moderating a discussion between Gary and Kevin, and throwing my own two cents in as appropriate, especially as concerned with regulation and innovation. If you are at the conference, I encourage you to attend the panel–it will be fun! And if you can’t, buy the books!


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