Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly

New, New Rules for the New, New Economy

The thesis of my book New Rules for the New Economy, published in 1998, is that we are now living in an economy based on ideas and communication rather than energy and atoms. Further, this “new” economy has distinct laws or rules so it behaves differently than the previous industrial economy. To do well in the new regime, we need to grasp the new dynamics of information. I reduce the emerging principles to 10 guidelines, and suggest a few strategies for businesses based on each principle.

I wrote New Rules in the late 1990s during the dot-com boom. At that time many reviewers convinced themselves the book was about the dot-com revolution. But in fact I avoided the dot-coms, never even mentioned them, and instead focused on the communication revolution. I talked about network effects, using the free economy, sharing, social media (not called that then), and many of the other developments now underway.

I did not talk about the stock market, either its ups or downs. Or crazy faddish gimmicks.  In fact, I believe New Rules could be released today for the first time and still be extremely useful.

So that is what I am doing. Starting today, on its 10-year anniversary, I am re-issuing New Rules for the New Economy as a blog. Twice a week I will post the next section of the book on my New Rules blog.

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Ten years is a long time in internet time. A lot has happened in that digital century. Many folks did not have email in 1998, and few were using the web daily. But I stand behind my analysis and today, 10 years later, I don’t retract a single word of the book. If I were to change anything I might be persuaded to rename the book “New Rules for the Network Economy” (which was an alternative title at the time), but other than some stale examples of companies no longer around in the book, the text is as pertinent today as a decade ago.

From day one, I practiced what I preached in New Rules: this book has been available free on my website for the past ten years. I know that this freemium increased sales of the book. However the book is now out of print, so I have released a free PDF version of the book, which you can download here. As an experiment it contains opt-in contextual ads. For the diehard there are used paper copies of the book available on Amazon for cheap. The choice of format is yours: paper book, website, daily blog, or PDF.

In any case, your chance to comment on specific parts of the book (and I hope you do) is here on this blog. I read every comment and will endeavor to reply as much as I can. There are many places in New Rules that I know could be updated with more current examples: I’ll leave those to you, the collective readers, to do — as I say in the book, no one is as smart as everyone.


 

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