Kevin Kelly has a good post introducing what he calls “The Shirky Principle.” Clay Shirky states:
Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are a solution.
Shirky made his quote in a recent talk, a bit from his upcoming book Cognitive Surplus. Shirky also referred to a similar idea in a recent blog posting about the ways in which media companies and the media industry are often constitutionally incapable of changing because they are still solving the last problem.
Link: The Technium.
Those of us in the media should go on to Shirky’s blog post, The Collapse of Complex Business Models, linked here and above. In it, Shirky writes:
… In the future, at least some methods of producing video for the web will become as complex, with as many details to attend to, as television has today, and people will doubtless make pots of money on those forms of production. It’s tempting, at least for the people benefitting from the old complexity, to imagine that if things used to be complex, and they’re going to be complex, then everything can just stay complex in the meantime. That’s not how it works, however. … ¶ … Some video still has to be complex to be valuable, but the logic of the old media ecoystem, where video had to be complex simply to be video, is broken. Expensive bits of video made in complex ways now compete with cheap bits made in simple ways. … ¶ When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. …