Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some Unconventional Ideas

There should be an X-Prize for high speed rail. I read recently that an ICE 3 train set costs 35 million dollars, but the tracks on which it runs costs billions (depending on distance). It's fun to talk and worry about the train sets - there's plenty of coverage of decisions between Alstom's TGV and Siemens' ICE sets. But no one writes about that we need cheaper tracks that are fast to build. There should be an X Prize for people to build the cheapest, safest, high-speed train tracks. Whoever gets 1 km of track to cost less than $100k total wins.

Cities should set immigration quotas and criteria. Immigrants always move to a specific city, not a country. It's more likely that someone will move from San Francisco to London (8645 kilometers) than from San Francisco to Merced (212 kilometers). Cities should be able to compete for the best talent directly, and set their own criteria. For example, London should be able to decide that it will allow 5000 non-EU foreigners to move to it this year, and all of them need to have a bachelor's degree. These choices would be made by the people who are actually affected (Londoners), not the whole population (UK != London). The UK/EU would still do the background and security checks.

Record Stores should sell digital songs. Remember the nineties where you'd have to go to a store to buy songs? With iTunes, that's over. In the physical world, discovering new music was fun. On iTunes, I barely ever buy from artists I don't already know. That's why the record stores that still exist should kick out all the CDs and offer a great, comfortable, physical environment to discover new music.

1 comment:

raymond chenon said...

Hey Gabor, Welcome back to San Francisco.
You have to know the business logic behind high speed train just like any state project is not user centered but politic centered.
Meaning they don't care about the price as long as it's shipped on time. Just look at the Beijing's Olympic in 2008.
The people in power choose what's best for them in order to the win the next election or keep their seat.

Record stores have an edge when it comes to dicovering new music. On Amazon, I never look at non-rated authors, books.
I only purchase on Amazon when a book isn't available at the local store.