In simple environments, people acquire new capabilities by acquiring new objects. In complex environments, people acquire new capabilities by using new services. And as anyone who’s busily added apps to their smartphone knows, the one problem apps are no good at solving is the problem of having too many apps. Environments with rising complexity always… more
There are a lot of people in China. This fact can seem like a bit of local color, a background association like France and cheese or Thailand and beaches. For people who live here, though, and especially for people who work here, population is a force like gravity, affecting almost everything else. Once you leave… more
A couple of years ago, while I was doing some work at NYU’s Shanghai campus, I got lost on the subway. As a New Yorker, it takes a lot to make me feel like a country mouse, but at triple the population of my hometown, Shanghai does it. Even though the Shanghai subway system is… more
When Clay Shirky was planning his move to China to teach at the campus of NYU Shanghai, he found out about a new little publishing imprint called Columbia Global Reports, and immediately wrote to its director Nicholas Lemann, proposing to spend a year chronicling China's attempt to become a real innovator in digital technology. One… more
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