The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu — Kickstarter

The Critical Path has been an exceptionally well received podcast. It has an audience of hundreds of thousands of thoughtful listeners. Many of the concepts covered can and should be reviewed in a medium that can be referenced and annotated and shared. For this reason I would like to publish edited transcripts of the podcasts as an eBook. This will be an edited and tagged transcript of the first year of The Critical Path.

via The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu — Kickstarter.

  • Amit Kandpal

    Great initiative. Subscribed.

  • Brant Arthur

    Great. This podcast has been a game changer in how I think about the news around me and the work I do every day. Would love to see the topics covered in a more succinct and accessible format.

    This will be for sale? If not, interesting possibilities to focus discussion around specific quotes/points in the podcast. I’m thinking online, but would also be interested to see a social aspect brought to ebooks where you can make the community of Asymco accessible from iBooks, Kindle etc. (in direct context to what you’re reading). I’m sure this is happening somewhere.

  • famousringo

    I would love to see a post sometime about the asymmetry of Kickstarter. Seems to me that combined with modern digital distribution services, it threatens publishers and VCs in every market.

    Books, movies, videogames, music, clever little gadgets. Why would a creator pitch their idea to some faceless corporation that’s going to worry about market segmentation and impose editorial review when they can pitch them to end users and sell them through Amazon, iTunes or Steam?

    Kickstarter offers the creator less risk and more control, and offers the end user more choice and input into the creative process.

    • I agree. I’m still thinking about how Kickstarter will change financing in general and VC funding in particular.

  • capnbob67

    Nice. Fully funded within 2 hours it seems assuming you posted at Helsinki time.

    I know it is early days but have you thought about how will it be available – iBook Store, other channels? I would like to be able to gift this to some colleagues who still don’t believe that podcasts can be genuinely valuable learning tools for business people. Any thoughts on how it might be themed or streamed since chronology might be the least appealing method for organization…

    • I plan on offering it on iBook store and perhaps Amazon.

      • Mike Wren

        Horace, consider interactive graphs using iBooks Author. This would require Javascript and HTML 5. Also you can reuse the code on the web site. Perhaps you can get volunteers to work on the graph library and open source it. Maybe this is more of a long term idea because of the work required.

        Amazon will certainly make the Kindle competitive with iBooks and the Nook for interactive textbooks. Amazon is supporting HTML 5 in the new Kindle format. Hopefully you can use the same code between platforms.

        Well known venture capitalist and visionary Roger McNamee has been banging the drum on the investable future of HTML 5.

  • capnbob67

    I wonder how this project compares with others… This had 3 tiers – $0-25, $25 (DRM free copy), $35 (Hard copy, signed). As of 12.21pm PDT – Total $3015
    20 people funded $25 (or more) – $500 (without any overpayment)
    69 people funded $35 (or more) – $2415 (without any overpayment)
    1 person funded ?? Maybe $100 or maybe $1…

    Point being that 99% of backers paid for an expensive business book (electronic or print) rather than applying the emerging disruptive model of everyone throwing in $1 or $5 and seeing what pops out. Maybe it speaks to the type of people on this blog (there may be a long tail of minor backers to come) or maybe it is just typical early adopter syndrome – the most invested in the blog are likely to invest the most.

    Anyway, interesting… the initial conclusion seems to be that the “quality” of customers is (as usual) critical, even in Kickstarter. Apple proves this every time it releases results… sell the same unit numbers as Samsung or whoever, but scores massively higher ASPs (before you even get to profit).

    • jdsweet

      1. Whatever I can do to encourage Horace to continue investing his attention on his Asymco site and Critical Path podcast is money very well spent.
      2. I attach a considerable premium to having an early autograph, and it looks like I snagged one of the first 100 spots for his signed book.

      • capnbob67

        +1 on both. Me too!

        Met Clay Christensen years ago at a small conference… got a signed book. Now I will have a set.

  • Ian Ollmann

    That was easy!

  • You prompted me to finally open a Kickstarter account — I will probably be cursing you now….

    I hope you didn’t underestimate your initial funding goal — I know a number of people who produce books, and that’s pretty low for a book project, especially one with a physical book that needs to be shipped.

    • My estimate was based on the minimum cost to create a transcription with a premium for printing on demand costs. I may be wrong but my use of kickstarter was to ensure that there is a minimum demand equal to the minimum cost. If there is a higher demand then all the better.

  • Just backed the print book, surely this will be great.

    Let’s think further, though…what would be a better way to publish the sort of things you post at Asymco… obviously text and static charts take us far, and animated charts go further.
    But I believe that stories like the ones you tell here can be even more enchanting if you tell them in a format like Khan Academy’s, for example. Maybe it’s worth trying a pilot where you record something over the Perspective app? “Build concepts with the audience” type thing… why not tell the stories of numbers with words and movement? Like you say…the democratization of tools allows us to do these things fairly effortlessly.

    (Your presentation on Apple’s balance sheet, which you just posted, is an excellent example of what I’m saying. Obviously 50min movies are too large, but 5-10mins alongside a full blog post would certainly be awesome).

    What’s your take on this?

  • far out

  • mbotta

    i would love to participate but don’t care to join amazon in order to do so. is there another way to contribute?


  • LRLee

    I like how despite our great technological advancements, what I believe to be the greatest invention of all time is still so important to us: The Book. Books made knowledge mobile, archived knowledge, distributed knowledge. What a book describes as Truth can be scrutinized since the printed word carries a reality that the author cannot pull back. What is described as Fiction can be fathomed for even greater truths.

    And although I’ll probably read Horace’s book on my iPad, I know that getting the signed, printed book in my hands will be a big, very big deal for me.

  • John F Williams

    For a nice example of providing podcast transcripts, see Steve Gibsons’s “Security Now” podcast at The transcripts there are fully searchable. Mr Gibson has regularly mentioned that he is very happy with his transcriber Elaine (On-Site Media, You can search his site to find his comments about her work. Good luck with your project.

  • tedcranmore

    Well, I promised myself to never again buy physical media – no books, no newspapers, no DVDs, no CDs and suddenly I’ve felt compelled to get the signed edition! I don’t know how I will smuggle this into the house after ranting to my wife to stay true on this goal. Thanks Horace!