Ben Thompson’s “Stratechery”

Smart, but a little too much Kool-Aid

Tim Wu

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Photo: Nordiske Mediedager

Ben Thompson is the author of Stratechery, a popular newsletter that “provides analysis of the strategy and business side of technology and media.” Thompson, who has an MBA, is a former tech industry worker who has spent time at various tech firms, including Apple and Microsoft. He is a smart and thoughtful guy who has interesting and insightful things to say about tech strategy, which is an endlessly interesting topic. I appreciate his work and admire his effort to set up his own shop and do his own thing.

[IMPORTANT: Part 2 of this ANSWERS MANY QUESTIONS you may have, and it is here, and Thompson responds to this post here]

However, Thompson has more recently begun to pronounce and analyze in the field of tech antitrust, and here he is on less solid ground. I appreciate that deep industry expertise is important in his area, especially, say, when designing remedies that make sense. Nonetheless, I’d say Thompson’s readers are at risk of being misled if they rely too much on what he has to say about tech antitrust. For, as we shall see, his analysis relies too much on an idiosyncratic “digital markets are fundamentally different” thesis that really doesn’t hold up too well. Stated simply, I’d say he’s inducing his readers to drink too much of his “aggregation theory” Kool-Aid, as…

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Tim Wu

Professor at Columbia University; author of “The Curse of Bigness,” “The Attention Merchants,” and “The Master Switch;” veteran of Silicon Valley & Obama Admin.