The Abstracted World: Where Bytes Meet Bricks

If The Investing Meta-Game discussed the competitive interactions between investors in stock markets and an underlying business reality, this essay is about a more fundamental change, the large potential shifts in industry profit pools driven by changes in the technology of distribution.

It seems two worlds exist today: the “physical” world we know and the “abstract” world of the internet, software, and information. This transformation of tangible assets of distribution into digital assets of abstraction is driving the commodification of formerly profitable activities in the value chain towards new areas of emerging opportunity. In an earlier essay I used the concept of emerging scarcity as a leading indicator of where profit pools might move next.

If investment strategies reflect assumptions about the incremental sources of business profitability, then the interaction of technology on competitive dynamics might explain some conundrums of the current investment landscape.

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