GRA2329 Competing in the Digital Economy - 1998
[What's new] [Administrivia] [Seminar plan] [Professor] [Participants] [Newsgroup] [Literature] [Useful links]
The objective of this course is to give the students a thorough understanding of the economics, organizational and information technology issues of doing business in a digital environment, such as the Internet. The course will be highly participative and experimental in context, content and infrastructure. Students are advised to closely monitor this page to keep abreast of developments and challenges, as it will be the one and only place where course information will be distributed.
Suggestions and comments always welcome
- May 12: Grades as follows, comments to term papers here:
- Feb. 18: The presentation from Tor Jakob Ramsøy and Bent Ekvern is now available in Powerpoint 4 and Powerpoint 95 format.
- Feb 4: Ester Dyson's Release 2.0 book arrived yesterday. I bought it in class January 20, so Amazon took 14 days from ordering and shipping (done same day). Price 17.50, w/freight $30.45. (The book itself, from what I see, is a little bit disappointing, more net-oriented than Cairncross, more detail on Web services and privacy/freedom of speech issues (Dyson is on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation), but the newsletter (Release 1.0) is much better.
- Feb. 1: I will be travelling in the US from Feb 2. to 12, but will read (and answer) my email. If you have really important queries, leave me a voice mail at +1 617 520 1845.
- Jan 29: Here's the list of proposed term papers.
- Jan 29: Term paper to be handed in, in the form of one (or several) Web page(s) on March 20th at the latest. This will done this way: Print out the Web page(s) to a regular printer, and hand in the print-out as if it was a regular term paper, together with the declaration of originality. At the same time, email me the URL to your page, so I can view the result directly.
- Jan 29: The Web address for "The Brain" is http://www.natrificial.com.
- Jan. 21: When you email me assignments (term paper suggestions, etc.) please don't send them as attachements. It complicates my life quite a lot--doubles the number of documents I have to keep track of, for one thing, makes archiving more complicated, and introduces another source of incompatibility problems (for instance, not all versions of MS-Word are created equal...). Instead, please send me the assignments as regular text in the body of the email message. If you really need to include a lot of graphics etc., put it on a Web page and send me the link.
- Jan. 14: You did ask for a newsgroup, so here it is: news://binews.bi.no/bi.hh.siv.gra2329. (May not work right away, wait until Friday 16.) Use it in any way you like, for instance to discuss cases, preparation, job opportunities, and anything you would like. I will monitor and participate to the extent I can.
- Jan. 12 -- oops, home page mishap. Fixed later, apologies to those affected.
- Jan. 12 -- new course home page address, shouldn't make much difference for students. Did it because I travel a lot and need to maintain the pages while on the road.
- Jan. 7: At the request of the students, the morning classes have all been rescheduled to 9:00 rather than 8:30.
- Jan. 7: Interested in the societal impact of the Internet? There is an interesting newsletter called NetFuture where Stephen Talbot criticizes, sometimes quite effectively, much of the technological euphoria of the Internet and the IT industry. Read it for a different point of view.
- January 2, 1998: Page ready for course start--from now on, this is it!
- November 25, 1997: If you are a participant in this course, please send mail to Espen Andersen, so that your email address can be registered on participant list.
- November 1997: This page is being translated from Norwegian to English, to make it available to a wider audience. The course will be taught in Norwegian or English depending on student choice. (Norwegian, as it turned out.)
This seminar will make extensive use of information technology: Assignments, messages, discussions (classroom excepted) and all hand-ins will be done electronically. Students are expected to actively participate in discussions and electronic forums, and will have a large degrer of freedom to influence content of classes and the term paper. Students who are considering launching their own business on the Internet are especially invited to participate in this seminar.
necesse est..... This is a concentration course, so attendance is mandatory, participation is strongly encouraged, and intense participation rather then norm than the exception. Formal evaluation is as follows:
- term paper (fagoppgave) (handed in electronically, as a Web page), counts for 40% toward the final grade. The term paper is defined by the students themselves (coordinated with professor) and can be done in groups of up to 3 students. Students are encouraged to make the paper as practically oriented as possible, for instance by creating a business plan for an Internet-based company, or an electronic commerce strategy for an existing company.
The term paper is graded on the following criteria:
- relevance and interest of topic: 10%
- layout and structure of Web pages: 10%
- definition and statement of problem: 20%
- sources, including links (quality, relevance, interest): 20%
- analysis: 20%
- conclusion/recommendations (quality, implementability): 20%
- intermediary submissions (2 - 4, electronically delivered) counts 30% toward the final grade
- participation in classroom and electronic discussions, dictatorically judged by professor, counts 30% toward the final grade
Detailed seminar plan
The dictatorial right to change and amend this at any time and on any whim is most explicitly reserved.....
Date/lecturer Topic Preparation 1
Tuesday January 6th
Introduction, overview, work form, administrivia
Introduction to Internet og Internet history, technological innovation, litterature, use of and goal for course.
Read and be prepared to discuss:
Do: Visit MIT Media Lab's web page and see some of the interesting things they do with wearable computing.
- Cairncross: chapter 1 and 4 and the "Trendspotter's guide"
- Garf & Spaf: preface and pages 3-8.
- From the recommended list: Negroponte (introduction and chapter 1), Utterback (introduction and chapter 1).
Consider: What does being digital mean? Can you be digital in Norway?
Thursday January 8th
Espen Andersen and
Quick introduction to HTML programming and other tools of the Net for those who want and need it.
(Will be arranged as a tips/technique swapping section, as some students already will be very familiar with this).
Read and be prepared to discuss: 3
Tuesday January 13th
Technology development and innovation: Learning from history. Read and be prepared to discuss:
Consider: How are these "old" stories relevant to a company wishing to do business in a digital world? Find out from the Internet: When was the mouse invented, and by whom? How about the graphical user interface? The laser printer?
- Copeland, D. G. and J. L. McKenney (1988). “Airline Reservations Systems: Lessons from History.” MIS Quarterly (September): 353-370. (will be handed out)
- David, P. A. (1985). Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. American Economic Review, 75(May-June), 332-337. (will be handed out)
- Ted Nelson: A New Home for the Mind?
- From the recommended list: Christensen: the whole book. Utterback: Chapter 7. McKenney: Chapter 1, Chapter 3 og 4: Bank of America og American Airlines.
Deliver: Make your own home page, presentating yourself as you would to a prospective employer. Include a link to a page where you describe (in less than 200 words) why you are taking this course.
Tuesday January 20th
Marketing on the Internet Read and be prepared to discuss:
Consider: Study question (answer less than 200 words) to be mailed in to Espen Andersen before 8PM Monday January 19: How serious is the threat of Internet competition to Juul Møller? What should Dag Juul Møller do about it?
- Cairncross chapter 5 and 6
- Buday, Champy og Nohria's The Rise of the Electronic Community
- Espen Andersen: Internett som konkurransearena. Praktisk Økonomi og Ledelse, januar 1997
- Anderson, C. (1997). Electronic Commerce. The Economist (May 10)
- Juul Møller Bokhandel, an on-line case about electronic commerce
Thursday January 22nd
Understanding strategic use of information technology Read and be prepared to discuss:
Consider: (Be prepared to answer these questions in class, the class will be run like a "real" case lecture):
- Otisline (A)
- Pacific Pride Services, Inc.
Deliver (email before 8PM the day before) 1 page proposal for term paper (in groups of up to 3).
- How is IT giving Otis and Pacific Pride a competitive advantage?
- (this one is tricky and requires studying the numbers) How valuable are Pacific Pride's information systems?
Thursday January 29th
The telecommunications market Read and be prepared to discuss:
Deliver: In about 200 words, answer this question: Is communications capacity really available in abundance, or will too much traffic kill the Internet?
- Cairncross: Chapter 2 and 3
- From the recommended list: Negroponte chapter 6
- From Hal Varian's Web site: Read about Internet and economics, especially about pricing services where there is no marginal cost
- Per Vassbotn's kommentar om Televerkets prissetting, og Tormod Hermansen's svar i Dagbladet
Tuesday Feb. 17th
Olav Torvund, prof. dr. juris, Universitetet i Oslo
Regulating cyberspace: Anarchy or hierarchy? Read and be prepared to discuss:
Consider: How can we implement laws and technology--in organizations and society--to balance the issue of privacy and freedom of expression vs. crime-fighting and protection of children?
- These are required:
- Cairncross chapter 7 and 9
- Garf & Spaf chapter 17 and 18, chapter 19 if you are really interested
- From the recommended list: Negroponte chapter 2, 4 og 11
- Jon Bing's Menneskers verk .
- Visit Ståle Schumacher's International PGP home page
- Check out some Easter Eggs
- Visit Institutt for Rettsinformatikk's page about juss i elektroniske markeder.
- Check out the Stalker's Home Page.
- For a really comprehensive discussion, see Industry Canada's report on "offensive material on digital media".
Deliver: Mini-paper: Present one company which has made money on the Internet--and give some good reasons, based on the literature, what their chances are for continued success in the next three years. (max 3 pages, as Web page, email URL to Espen Andersen) before 6 PM the day before). We will disuss some of the responses in class.
Thursday February 19th
Tor Jakob Ramsøy & Bent Ekvern,
"Intelligent agents and other innovations that break established value chains" (presentation available Powerpoint 4 and Powerpoint 95 format) Read and be prepared to discuss: 9
Tuesday Febrary 24th
Jørgen Myhrer, Markedssjef, Europay Norge
Internet as a commercial platform: Payments and economics. Read and be prepared to discuss:
Deliver: Show up well prepared and be able to ask intelligent questions.
- Garf & Spaf: Chapter 16
- Cairncross: Chapter 5
- Hughes, E. (1995). “A Long-Term Perspective on Electronic Commerce.” Release 1.0 (3-95). (available from Ellen Jacobsen or Berit Baud from Monday February 2.)
- Visit the pages of Mondex, Digicash, First Virtual and Cybercash. Try to understand each of their approaches to digital payments.
- Read Dan Farmer's SATAN-based survey of Internet security.
- Visit Open Market and Posten's Torget.
Tuesday March 3rd
Conclusion and course evaluation
Be prepared to present the term paper.
Be prepared to critique the course.
These two books are required reading:Cairncross, Frances. (1997) The Death of Distance: How the communications revolution revolution will change our lives. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.A word on pricing (entered Nov. 25): The prices in Juul Møller are NOK 350 for Cairncross and NOK 250 for Garfinkel & Spafford. Prices and availability at Amazon.com varies. Transport time is about a week, and you need a credit card that can be used on the Internet (some of the European credit card issuers do not allow Internet shopping, but we'll get back to that when we talk about payement systems in the course). Juul Møller has the books now--they may be temporarily out of print (at least Cairncross) at Amazon.com.
This excellently written book (the author is a writer with the Economist) lays out the business consequences of the revolution taking place in computers and communications. The book covers, in an irreverent yet informative way, most of the aspects of the seminar. Relatively free of "empty" language and grand phantasies, relying instead on research and examples. Some of the book's content has previously been published in the Economist.
Garfinkel, Simson and Gene Spafford (1996). Web Security and Commerce, O'Reilly and Associates
This down-to-earth, hands-on description of tools and technologies for setting up and managing web services provides the details where Cairncross' book gives the big picture. A great reference for people wanting to roll their own Web service, including some war stories from two seasoned technology writers and tinkerers.
These books, and a subscription to Wired Magazine (evt. Hotwired), Upside or the Red Herring (for the more financially inclined) is excellent background material (and interesting reading, whether you are doing this for grades or not).
Christensen, Clayton M. (1997) The Innovator's Dilemma: Why New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Bits: whatever you may find at BRINT or other places on the Net with relevance for the theme of the day.
in this impressively researched book focusing on the hard disk drive industry, Clayton Christensen shows how listening to the customer and giving the customer what they want can get a company in trouble when the technology changes, even though the change may, at the time, seem technologically insignificant. A scary book for technology executives, definitely something that should have been read by IBM, Norsk Data, Digital, Wordperfect, Prime, Data General, Bull, ICL and other former greats of information technology.
Negroponte, N. (1995). Being Digital. New York: Knopf.
is more a statement of a view of the world than an academic treatise. Negroponte (who is the Director of the exciting research center Media Lab at MIT) discusses, with lots of opinion and illustrateive examples, the consequences of the shift from atoms to bits as the primary conduit of information for individuals, society, research and commerce. The book is iconoclastic and provides an intersting view into the mind of a bona fide digeratus. Read more about the in IBM Systems Journal.
McKenney, J. (1994). Waves of Change: Business Evolution Through Information Technology, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
McKenney, Professor Emeritus and former Chairman of the MIS group at Harvard Business School, provides an account of the development and implementation processes for two of the world's most consequential information systems: Bank of America's check processing system, the model for most of the banking systems we know today; and American Airlines' SABRE, the first computerized reservation system and still the largest privately owned real-time system in the world. From the history of these two system, McKenney develops a "cascading" of technology development and implementation, and then proceeds to test this model against three other case histories of successful "classic" system cases: Frito-Lays data capture and pricing system within snacks distribution, USAA's use of document imaging and centralized customer information systems within insurance, and American Hospital Supply's revolutionizing ASAP-system for selling and distributing hospital supplies.
Utterback, J. M. (1994). Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press
Utterback is a professor at MIT and a pioneer in the field of technology evolution. This book describes the process of technology evolution in a number of industries, from computer chips to a fabulous chapter on the ice industry (where Norway was a very important player on the world market.). A theoretically robust model for technology evolution as a process of evolution and revolution is detailed, a model which is crucial for our understanding of the likely changes we are facing in our increasingly digital business world. This book offers the theoretical weight necessary to put Negroponte's more aggressive statements into a broader context.
BI Stiftelsens hjemmeside
Espen Andersen's home pageComments to Espen Andersen or email@example.com
Last updated: May 12, 1998.