I recently listened to two great interviews that touched upon topics I mentioned in my last post on technology and productivity. Productivity growth is slowing, and the subjects of both of these interviews present ways of thinking about that slowdown. Both episodes are useful reminders that growth is often nonlinear, and that innovations from software might not show up immediately because of how it has been adopted differentially across industries.
The first interview is with Marc Levinson on the a16z podcast. Levinson is an economic historian who has written about retail and innovation in The Great A&P and about the transformative power of shipping containers in The Box.
The second is with Tim Harford on the FT’s Alphachat podcast on his new book 50 Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy. Like the interview with Levinson, this one highlights how powerful seemingly small innovations can be.