Founder Re-Acquires StubHub

In my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, I praise project entrepreneurs for having as their main goal, not wealth or fame, but making a ding in the universe (to use Steve Jobs’s phrase). I also suggest that they are more likely to succeed, in part because they are more likely to stick with the venture they founded. But there may be exceptions to my narrative. Eric Baker sounds like a project entrepreneur who left his start-up because of conflicts with his co-founder, and who now is back in charge.

(p. B4) Eric Baker long envisioned bringing together the two ticketing companies he started.

This week eBay Inc. agreed to sell its StubHub unit, a business Mr. Baker launched nearly two decades ago, to Geneva-based Viagogo Entertainment Inc., the ticketing firm with a large European presence he has been running since 2006.

The $4.05 billion all-cash deal would create a global ticketing juggernaut in the booming business of live events. It would also put StubHub back in the hands of the person who early on saw the opportunity in the legitimate resale of tickets.

. . .

“You had to pay through the nose or find people on the street corner to purchase from,” says Mr. Baker. He felt there had to be a better, more efficient way to find tickets and imagined that could happen online.

He headed to Stanford Graduate School of Business that fall and, together with classmate Jeff Fluhr, started StubHub—then called Liquid Seats—in 2000.

. . .

Mr. Baker and Mr. Fluhr—who was chief executive and had majority ownership of the company—had their differences, and in 2004 Mr. Baker left at the board’s direction, said people familiar with the decision.

. . .

When eBay bought StubHub in 2007, Mr. Baker says he opposed the deal. “It’s rare you have the opportunity to have a business like that,” he says. “To me, you try to hold on to something that’s working.”

For the full story, see:

Anne Steele. “StubHub Acquisition Puts Co-Founder Back in Charge.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, December 2, 2019): B4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date November 29, 2019, and has the title “The Tale Behind StubHub’s Sale: How Eric Baker Bought Back the Ticket Seller.”)

My book, mentioned above, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Art Diamond Interviewed on Robustly Redundant Labor Markets

I was interviewed early on Mon., October 26, 2020 on Jim Blasingame’s Small Business Advocate radio program on my concept paper “Ending Persistent Poverty by Enabling Robustly Redundant Labor Markets.” The concept paper earned the second place award in a Charles Koch Institute competition on how to end persistent poverty. The concept of a robustly redundant labor market was briefly discussed in my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism.

Diamond’s book, mentioned above, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Manship’s Heroic Prometheus Sculpture Celebrates “the Promise of the Future”

I wanted to use a photo of Manship’s Prometheus sculpture on the cover of my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. My editor vetoed my choice on the grounds that Prometheus was a male and the cover design needed to be gender-neutral.

(p. C14) Think a minute, then name an outdoor sculpture in Manhattan. Chances are, you chose the gilded image of Prometheus at the heart of Rockefeller Center, . . .

. . .

In conceiving his urban commercial complex, John D. Rockefeller Jr. wanted to celebrate civilization, human achievement and the promise of the future.

. . .

It’s a very serious, and very handsome, Prometheus that Manship fashioned. He chose to depict the moment after the titan has stolen the fire and is descending to Earth, signified in the sculpture by the summit behind him, and by the sea as portrayed by the pool beneath him. Prometheus, eyes wide open, looks down toward his destination. His youthful, strong-featured face betrays not worry exactly, but acknowledgment that he will face consequences from an angry Zeus, who did not want mankind to rival the gods in any way. But Prometheus is determined to give humanity the flame in his right hand, held above his head, almost triumphantly. With his outstretched left arm, he balances himself—and Manship balances his heroic sculpture.

. . .

Manship also added an element to the whole: He suggested the quote from Aeschylus that is carved in bold capital letters on the wall behind his work, strengthening its seamless link to its setting: “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends.”

Manship thus delivered a powerful piece of statement art.

. . .

. . . —Prometheus stands out. He is a marvel within a larger urban marvel.

For the full story, see:

Judith H. Dobrzynski. “MASTERPIECE; A Monument of Titanic Beauty.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, August 22, 2020): C14.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 21, 2020, and has the same title as the print version.)

Simison Interviews Diamond on Mazzucato

Recently I was interviewed by Bob Simison for his profile of economist Mariana Mazzucato that appeared in the current issue of Finance & Development, an official publication of the International Monetary Fund. Mazzucato believes that innovation should be more centrally funded and directed by governments. Simison mentions my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, and summarizes my claim that for innovation to flourish entrepreneurs need the freedom to pursue serendipity, hunches, and trial-and-error experiments.

(p. 50) To economist Arthur Diamond of the University of Nebraska,Omaha, Mazzucato’s thesis sounds too much like centrally planned industrial policy, which he argues won’t work because government is inherently unable to foster innovation. In his 2019 book, Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, he argues that what drives innovation is entrepreneurs who are deeply immersed in their subject and able to benefit from serendipity, pursuing hunches, and plain old trial and error.

“Government decision-makers won’t be as immersed in the problems, won’t have the detailed information, and won’t be in a position to follow hunches toward breakthrough solutions,” Diamond says.

For Simison’s full profile of Mazzucato, see:

Simison, Bob. “Economics Agitator.” Finance & Development 57, no. 3 (Sept. 2020): 48-51.

(Note: in the original article, the title of my book was italicized.)

My book mentioned above is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Oppenheim Recommends Diamond’s “Well-Researched,” “Well-Written,” and “Fascinating” Openness to Creative Destruction

Charles Oppenheim is an Information Science expert whose recent focus has been intellectual property. He is currently a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland. (I do not remember ever meeting him.) Oppenheim has written a gracious, though mixed, review of my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. Although mixed, what he likes outweighs what he dislikes. Below I quote his first and his final paragraphs.

(p. 82) The author is a well-known professor of economics in the United States. In this book, well researched and supported by numerous references, his philosophy of life is made clear – and a rather worrying philosophy it is, as we shall see. The book addresses the question of how to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in an advanced economy such as that of the United States.

. . .

(p. 83) This is a well-written book with an easy style that will appeal to economists, students and perhaps the general public. It is supported by a large number of references, as well as figures and tables. It has an exemplary index. Diamond covers interesting ground and provides some fascinating histories of the development of many of the inventions we now take for granted. Such a pity that Diamond’s argument is so one-sided, and that he fails to take into account moral, ethical and environmental concerns in his optimistic vision of how innovation can make economies thrive. The book is recommended, but treat its contents with caution.

For the full review, see:

Oppenheim, Charles. “Openness to Creative Destruction, Arthur M. Diamond Jr. (2019), Oxford University Press.” Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation 36, no. 1 (March 2020): 82-83.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

My book, reviewed by Oppenheim, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Jim Pethokoukis Asks Art Diamond How to Increase Innovative Dynamism

Jim Pethokoukis recently posted an abbreviated transcript of our conversation on his Political Economy podcast about my Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism book.

Posted by Arthur Diamond on Thursday, August 6, 2020

Transcript of Political Economy Podcast Interview with Arthur Diamond on Openness to Creative Destruction

The lightly edited transcript was posted on July 30, 2020 on the American Enterprise Institute web site.

Yesterday Jim Pethokoukis posted a lightly edited transcript of my conversation with him on his American Enterprise…

Posted by Arthur Diamond on Friday, July 31, 2020

Art Diamond Interviewed on Curing Covid-19

On Monday, May 4, Jim Blasingame, the host of his nationally syndicated “The Small Business Advocate” radio show, interviewed me on issues related to my book Openness to Creative Destruction, and “Free to Choose a Possible Cure,” my April 17 op-ed piece on the web site of the American Institute for Economic Research. You can click on the links below to listen to each segment of the interview.

“Rational for Workers to Prefer a Seller’s Market in Labor”

If we adopt policies to maintain what I call a “robustly redundant labor market,” workers will have no reason to fear harm from free-trade and immigration. The policies that allow robustly redundant labor markets are described in my Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism.

(p. C2) Unwilling to admit that the center-left has been largely captured by the managerial elite, many pundits and academics on the left insist that mindless bigotry, rather than class interests, explains the attraction of many working-class voters to populist parties that promise to restrict trade and immigration. But it is just as rational for workers to prefer a seller’s market in labor as it is for employers to prefer a buyer’s market in labor. Blue-collar workers who have abandoned center-left parties for populist movements bring with them the historic suspicion of large-scale immigration that was typical of organized labor for generations.

And as MIT economist David Autor and his colleagues have shown, voters in the U.S. regions hit hardest by Chinese import competition were the most likely to favor Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders in 2016. Strict environmental regulations, which impose few costs on the urban elites, can threaten the livelihoods and lifestyles of workers in the exurban heartlands, like the French yellow vest protesters who rebelled against a tax on diesel fuel intended to mitigate climate change.

For the full commentary, see:

Michael Lind. “Saving Democracy From the Managerial Elite.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, January 11, 2020): C1-C2.

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Jan. 10, 2020, and has the same title as the print version.)

Lind’s commentary is related to his book:

Lind, Michael. The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite. New York: Portfolio, 2020.

The latest version of the paper co-authored by Autor, and mentioned above, is:

Autor, David H., David Dorn, Gordon H. Hanson, and Kaveh Majlesi. “Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure.” Working Paper, Oct. 2019.

My book, mentioned way above, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.