In the early days of eBay, online auctions made the company one of the dot-com revolution’s biggest success stories. Today auctions are in decline relative to other forms of e-commerce. But the things that made auctions popular in the first place—flexible pricing, consumer empowerment, and the thrill of the game—can be found in many other types of online shopping experiences. This Wired article puts auctions in perspective.
In an age when “friend” is a verb, many of us have hundreds of social-network friends. But Oxford Anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s research suggests that we’re wired to max out our meaningful relationships at about 150. This NPR story has details. Can technology help us break Dunbar’s limit, and is that a worthwhile goal?