Saturday, January 02, 2010

Super Freakonomics and Unintended Consequences

This post was written a few days ago.

I am just through airline security. No carry on by order of security. I did bring a book (The Tristan Betrayal - by Robert Ludlum - yes - just a mindless spy thriller). I have long read while I am in airport lines but these days it is even more important to develop the skill and focus to do this.

I read just Levitt's new book SuperFreakonomics (I love it) which delves into "unintended consequences". One consequence of 9/11 was 10,000 more traffic fatalities. I wonder what the consequences of the current crackdown will be.

I am thinking video conferencing will become even more pervasive. Interestingly, travel has always been very costly (mostly from a time and energy perspective). Executives that run larger companies have paid the highest price. They might actually get a productivity boost by having less travel. I know from experience the inefficiency of travel.

Conference calling with PPT will also increase. Perhaps my investment in online meeting company Calliflower (low cost Webex) will take off.

I think less people will travel. Will we become more local?

I also think executive jets will have a surge.

I used to have a rule, if I could drive it in 5 hours, it was more efficient not to fly. Thinking I will need to expand that to 8 hours or longer. So I wonder if audio book sales will increase. Perhaps I need to stock up on my Time Leadership CDs. Hire a few more people to handle the shipping.

SuperFreakonomics challenges some climate myths. Like buy local is not better for the environment. My brother Lyle (who wrote "Small is Possible") will no doubt have arguments with that. Perhaps the buy local will be pushed more for diversity and lifestyle than environment.

He also has some radical environmental proposals - some of which scare me to death (like releasing sulphur into the atmosphere to combat global warming). The book will be controversial and I hope is not used as an excuse by some to just keep damaging the environment on the theory that science can save us.


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Mark Ellwood said...

Here comes the time and money trade-off. As the dollar cost of airline travel has decreased, the offsetting time cost has increased – passengers now do many things that used to be done by others. Security measures now add another layer to the time burden. As Jim points out, passengers may soon seek alternatives; private jets, rail travel, and video conferencing. How about paying a premium for shorter security lines? How much extra would you pay to be able to arrive at the airport fifteen minutes before a flight? Would a $100 fee offset a potential three-hour wait?

On a related subject, I expect we will soon see full body scanners in most airports. I am surprised that there are privacy concerns. The things we carry in bags and purses (that get x-rayed) are often much more private than what we wear under our clothes.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I always think about the "to fly or not to fly" question. These holidays, though, I completely reconsidered and I agree that driving is the way to go. I think that if you have enough audiobooks any drive can be productive.

The only problem I had with driving was the ice on the highways in Detroit.



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