“GAME-CHANGER” the book features about twenty game-changing applications, which I won’t rehash here, on everything from catching business cartels and unleashing true competition in the real-estate agency business to restoring trust in charity telemarketers and preserving commercial fishing stocks.
What follows is a list of Game-Changer Files that I have either (i) continued researching and developing since publishing the book or (ii) opened since then. Apologies in advance that most of these are closer to “stubs” than proper summaries of my work on these topics.
Drug Abuse and Misuse [building on book]GAME-CHANGER FILES VIDEO: Addicts in the ED
[Note: I have not yet created the "Action Page" mentioned at the end of the video.]
Online CommerceGAME-CHANGER FILES VIDEO: Instagram Commerce
Antibiotic Resistance [building on book]
The “GAME-CHANGER” book addresses and explores the crisis of rising antibiotic resistance from a game-theory perspective, focusing on the rise of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
[My bottom line on CRE, which has finally gotten the public's attention in recent months: CRE is scary and difficult to contain, but the CDC has laid out a winning "game-plan" to combat and even eradicate CRE from U.S. health-care facilities. (Reporters: Arjun Srinivasan at the CDC is the man to speak with.) MDR-TB is a different story, a much greater long-term threat even here in the U.S. where it remains rare for now.]
The following materials build on that GAME-CHANGER analysis, for those interested in diving deeper into this vitally important strategic challenge.
(1) TEASER VIDEO: “Changing the Games of Disease: Reversing Antibiotic Resistance”, produced in January 2014 [based on this somewhat longer video from August 2013]. This 10-minute video points to a way to overcome the mortal threat posed by rising antibiotic resistance, but doesn’t provide much real detail. Please read the book and watch the mini-lecture via the link below for more substantive discussion.
(2) MINI-LECTURE: See 38:15 — 50:00 in this “Fuqua Faculty Conversation on Antibiotic Resistance”, 60-minute conversation in August 2013 (with Manisha Bhattacharya and David Ridley) on how we can use new molecular diagnostic technologies to “change the game” and reverse antibiotic resistance.
(3) ON ANTIBACTERIAL HAND SOAP
2013 ended with a rash of stories related to the rise of antibiotic-resistant disease. In particular, the Food and Drug Administration proposed new rules in two areas that contribute to resistance.
First, FDA issued a new rule that makers of so-called “antibacterial” soap need to do more to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products. I write about antibacterial soap from a game-theory perspective in GAME-CHANGER. In January 2014, I adapted some of this material to write an op-ed (i) supporting the FDA’s new rule and (ii) calling out Bath & Body Works, specifically, for their failure to follow Colgate Palmolive’s lead in phasing out the (ineffective and potentially hazardous) antibacterial triclosan from its liquid hand-soap products.
January 2014: “Soap’s Dirty Little Secret” by David McAdams, Tampa Bay Times op-ed, January 23rd 2014. (Also appeared as “Time to step away from the antibacterial soaps” in Raleigh News & Observer, “Exposing the dirty little secret about antibacterial soap” in Contra Costa Times / Oakland Tribine, “Changing the antibacterial-soap game” in Providence Journal, and in several other papers.)
(4) ON ANTIBIOTICS GIVEN TO LIVESTOCK
In addition, the FDA proposed a new rule banning the routine use of antibiotics on healthy livestock. The New England Journal of Medicine published a piece in December 2013 in which two economists argue that such a ban would be ineffective, and that imposing a tax on antibiotic use would be a better approach.
December 2013: “Preserving Antibiotics, Rationally” by Aidan Hollis and Ziana Ahmed, New England Journal of Medicine, December 26, 2013.
There are certainly disadvantages associated with an outright ban of antibiotics for growth promotion — not least that ranchers might be able to evade the ban, by misreporting which animals are sick — that taxing antibiotics would avoid. However, as I emphasize in the following blog post, the economics of antibiotic resistance is more complex than Hollis and Ahmed convey in their article, with a combination of positive and negative externalities associated with antibiotic use, so that taxation also brings its own disadvantages.
January 2014: “Antibiotic Tax No Panacea for Drug-Resistance” by David McAdams
Note: As of January 2014 when I last worked on this, I did not have a full enough understanding of “the real game” that ranchers and veterinarians play to make any concrete suggestions of my own. One thing I would note, however, is that there is a potential strategic connection here with the “Cod Collapse” case explored in “GAME-CHANGER” the book. The issue there / here is that a regulatory system meant to discourage discarding / antibiotic misuse incentivized fishermen / ranchers to misreport their activities to the regulatory authority. Some of the ideas developed in “Cod Collapse,” once suitably modified, might be helpful as we brainstorm more effective ways to encourage appropriate antibiotic use in livestock.
The Future of TV
(1) THE RISE OF TINY ANTENNAS
In early September 2013, I spoke with local radio host Scott Briggaman about a new cable TV-distribution platform called Aereo, and how it could spell the end of broadcast network television as we know it.
“Why Aereo Could Spell the End of Broadcast Network Television”, David McAdams, on-air conversation with Scott Briggaman of WPTF (Raliegh, NC), September 4, 2013.
(2) CONFLICT OVER CABLE SUBSCRIBER FEES
Meanwhile, TV distributors such as Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are locked in battle with TV content providers such as CBS, ESPN, and Weather Channel.
In August — September 2013, I spoke and wrote about the futility of Time Warner Cable’s blackout of CBS stations in New York, Los Angeles, and several other major markets. I predicted in August how Time Warner would “cave” in September, while also laying out a different approach that I argue could allow Time Warner to control content costs without the need for blackouts.
“Why Time Warner Is Going to Lose Its CBS Showdown”, David McAdams, on-air conversation with Scott Briggaman of WPTF (Raliegh, NC), August 16th 2013.
“How Time Warner Can Win Its CBS Showdown”, David McAdams, op-ed published in the Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), August 30, 2013.
“Why Time Warner Just Lost Its CBS Showdown”, David McAdams, on-air conversation with Scott Briggaman of WPTF (Raliegh, NC), September 4, 2013.
In November 2013, CBS came out with revenue numbers illustrating just how valuable cable-subscriber fees have become to networks whose programming has traditionally been available for free. I pointed out to NPR that such revenue growth is inherently self-limiting, as higher subscriber fees ultimately translate into more “cord-cutters” who will then access CBS programming in ways (e.g. over the internet) that CBS cannot as easily extract these fees.
“The future of TV involves less ad money” by Jeff Tyler, Marketplace Morning Report (NPR), November 6th, 2013.
In January 2014, DirecTV stopped transmission of Weather Channel, replacing it with a lower-cost all-weather station called WeatherNation.
“Stakes Are High for Weather Channel in DirecTV Rate Standoff” by Suzanne Vranica, Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2014.
A few interesting tidbits from the article:
(a) Weather Channel apparently uses “best-price guarantees” which guarantee each carrier the lowest price charged to any carrier. Such agreements can help Weather Channel commit not to negotiate lower prices. For instance, DirecTV is seeking a 20% decrease in its fee. However, accepting that deal will force Weather Channel to give up 20% of its revenue from all other carriers as well. As long as Weather Channel believes that it won’t otherwise need to lower its fees to those other carriers, it can therefore credily commit not to negotiate price decreases with any of them.
This theory fails in practice, however, if carriers work in concert, all demanding and holding out for lower fees. One reason they might do so: the rise of alternative weather station “WeatherNation.” The premise of this station is that, in essence, Weather Channel has “gone MTV” by featuring tons of documentaries and personality-based shows while losing touch with its original reason for being (music videos for MTV, weather updates for Weather Channel).
If DirecTV subscribers actually enjoy WeatherNation, this dispute could mean stormy times ahead for the Weather Channel.
Congress in Crisis
[I have not written a bona fide Game-Changer File on the crisis in Congress -- yet! -- but I have written some narrower pieces on aspects the broader strategic narrative, namely, the rise of brinkmanship in budget negotiations and the rise of the Tea Party primary threat.]
(1) DEBT-CEILING CRISIS
In October 2013, I wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on how to “change the game” of debt-ceiling confrontations. At least one Congressman responded, in a followup letter to the Times:
Op-ed: “Changing the Debt-Ceiling Game” by David McAdams, New York Times, Oct 15, 2013
Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) responds in “Seeking Lessons From the Fiscal Crisis”, New York Times, Oct 16, 2013.
Note: On October 16th, the day after my op-ed, Congress reached an agreement to end a government shutdown and to avoid an impending debt default.
(2) PRIMARY ELECTIONS
In June 2014, I wrote an op-ed in a Washington Post political-science blog (The Monkey Cage) arguing that Tea Party success in unseating Republican incumbents could prompt conservative statehouses to adopt a so-called “top-two” primary system.
Op-ed: “Could a top-two primary tame the Tea Party threat?” by David McAdams, The Monkey Cage (Washington Post blog), June 16, 2014.
New Strategies to Beat Old Viruses
[August 2014 update: exciting and super-important topic but nothing yet that I've published on this]
ShowroomingGAME-CHANGER FILES VIDEO: A Better Best Buy
Saving the Wild Rhino
[August 2014 update: I am currently writing the script for a new Game-Changer File video on this.]