GRA2329 Competing in the Digital Economy - 1998

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What's new


Computer use
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:

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
Tuesday January 6th 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen
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: 
  • 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).
Do: Visit MIT Media Lab's web page and see some of the interesting things they do with wearable computing. 

Consider: What does being digital mean? Can you be digital in Norway?

Thursday January 8th 
Auditorium 6 
Espen Andersen and 
Rolf Bjørnskau
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:   Consider: How can I organize and manage my own Web page development and publishing?
Tuesday January 13th 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen
Technology development and innovation: Learning from history. Read and be prepared to discuss:  
  • 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.
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? 

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 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen
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?
Thursday January 22nd 
Auditorium 2 
Espen Andersen
Understanding strategic use of information technology Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • Otisline (A)
  • Pacific Pride Services, Inc.
Consider: (Be prepared to answer these questions in class, the class will be run like a "real" case lecture): 
  • 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?
Deliver (email before 8PM the day before) 1 page proposal for term paper (in groups of up to 3).
Thursday January 29th 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen
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?
Tuesday Feb. 17th 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen 
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? 

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 
Aud. 2 
Guest lecturers: 
Tor Jakob Ramsøy & Bent Ekvern 
Andersen Consulting
"Intelligent agents and other innovations that break established value chains" (presentation available Powerpoint 4 and Powerpoint 95 format) Read and be prepared to discuss:  Deliver:All term paper groups hand in, via email, a 5 minute presentation of their term paper (max. 3 slides, either PowerPoint (save as version 4 format) or as a set of web pages) to be evaluated before the last session. Do this before 8PM the day before the class.
Tuesday Febrary 24th 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen 
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.
Tuesday March 3rd 
Aud. 2 
Espen Andersen 
(Last session) 
Student presentations 
Conclusion and course evaluation
Be prepared to present the term paper. 
Be prepared to critique the course.


Required reading
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.
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.

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 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

Recommended reading
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).

Bits: whatever you may find at BRINT or other places on the Net with relevance for the theme of the day.

BI Stiftelsens hjemmeside

Espen Andersen's home page
Last updated: May 12, 1998.

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