I’m rather fond of books that look at the strange connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena and turn ideas upside-down, so The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism, a book coming out in January 2008, has caught my interest. It asks the question: Do we fight pirates, or do we learn from them?
In the copy-and-paste spirit of the book’s thesis, here’s the meat of the “About the Book” section of the book’s website:
How do you start a movement with a marker pen? What’s the connection between the nun who invented disco, and file sharing? How did a male model messing with disco records in New York in the 1970s influence the way Boeing design airplanes? Does hip-hop really hold the secret to world peace? How did three eleven-year-olds revolutionize the video game industry by turning Nazis into Smurfs? And what’s going to happen to Nike when it’s possible for kids to download sneakers?
The Pirate’s Dilemma tells the story of how youth culture drives innovation and is changing the way the world works. It offers understanding and insight for a time when piracy is just another business model, the remix is our most powerful marketing tool and anyone with a computer is capable of reaching more people than a multi-national corporation.
Ideas that started within punk, disco, hip-hop, rave, graffiti and gaming have been combined with new technologies and taken to new heights by the generations that grew up under their influence. With a cast of characters that includes such icons as The Ramones, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Russell Simmons, Pharrell and 50 Cent, The Pirate’s Dilemma uncovers, for the first time, the trends that transformed underground scenes into burgeoning global industries and movements, ultimately changing life as we know it, unraveling some of our most basic assumptions about business, society and our collective future.
As a result people, companies and organizations are now struggling with a new dilemma in increasing numbers. As piracy continues to change the way we all use information, how should we respond? Do we fight pirates, or do we learn from them? Should piracy be treated as a problem, or a solution? To compete or not to compete – that is the question – that is the Pirate’s Dilemma, perhaps one of the most important economic and cultural conundrums of the 21st Century.
As with any sort of book of this sort, its author, Matt Mason, has a supplementary blog. Its current article is titled 10 Industries Being Transformed by Pirates (For The Better). These 10 industries are:
- The Drug Industry
- The Movie Business
- The Law
- The Music Industry
- Phone Companies
- Body Parts
- Wooly Mammoths
If all this has piqued your interest, you may also find the Q&A with the author, Matt Mason, interesting.