Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Action-Reaction

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Some were worried that short-attention-span entertainment from YouTube would diminish attention spans. But 50-hour-long dramas like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or Walking Dead are more popular than ever.

Every abundance creates a new scarcity.

Every time someone complains about how things are changing, remember that change leaves room for its opposite reaction, too.

Let’s think of some examples, shall we?

ACTION: More and more and more music to choose from.
REACTION: More need for tastemakers to tell us what’s good.
ACTION: Less venues for musicians to play.
REACTION: House concerts.
ACTION: Too much email.
REACTION: Popularity of other methods like Facebook message, WhatsApp, and Slack.
ACTION: The push to make recorded music free.
REACTION: Paying artists directly, with Patreon, PledgeMusic, and other crowd-funding.
ACTION: Social network, where hundreds of people you’ve never met are called “friends”.
REACTION: Anti-social network, a secret site where you can’t see who else is on there unless you’ve privately communicated a shared password. Then your “friends” can be your real friends, and you can have a better (private) conversation. (No this doesn’t exist yet, but that’s part of the fun of this action-reaction thing : using it to imagine what should exist.)

The chief economist at Google said, “If you are looking for a career where your services will be in high demand, you should find something where you provide a scarce, complementary service to something that is getting ubiquitous and cheap. So what’s getting ubiquitous and cheap? And what is complementary to that?”