What I'm Working On (July 2015)

Let’s call this the slightly late edition of July 2015. This past month been all about travel for my class on startups I am teaching in South Korea. I have posted the materials for this course as well as the syllabus on this website. I was in Korea for a little more than two weeks, and then spent a few days in Taiwan with my TechCrunch colleague Catherine Shu – my first visit to the country.

Research

  • Research has been slow due to travel and prep for my class. The most significant work has been building a reading list around quantification, which I will share at some point as I get it closer to completion slash some level of comprehensiveness.

  • I also discovered in my searching that Trevor Pinch & Richard Swedberg wrote a book called “Living in a Material World: Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies.” It’s a weird combo, but also happens to be the two fields that I am studying for my quals. I’ll be tracking this down when I get back to the States.

  • One of my favorite scholars is Benoît Godin, who critically analyzes the term “innovation.” He has a bunch of essays on his website, but he also just released a new book from Routledge entitled “Innovation Contested: The Idea of Innovation Over the Centuries.” I am looking forward to this, as I think the term and really the whole concept of innovation just hasn’t been reflexively analyzed by scholars despite its incredible cultural influence.

Teaching

I taught a class in Korea this month for Stony Brook University called “How to Build a Startup.” The materials are on the website, and I have written up a reflection post about the experience.

Writing

As always, I continue to write a lot for TechCrunch. I managed to write a nice piece on machine learning in politics called “Vote Machine Learning For President!” (I called the president Mel or ML for short ;) ) In addition, I managed to get a nice story out about Samsung’s merger vote that really was one of the first nearly successful shareholder revolts in the country. Given the importance of corporate governance in a lot of sociological studies, this is an interesting sociology/Korea/startups issue that I hope to spend more time on at some point.

Upcoming, I am hoping to spend more time in the next month on the media industry, particularly in Asia. With the Nikkei buying out the Financial Times this past week, it seems an appropriate time to do so, and I have been meaning to do so for a while. Please send ideas to me!

Learning

  • I am continuing to prepare my reading lists for economic sociology, tournament models in labor economics, quantification studies, among other topics. Would love to see some more recent papers in these fields that people find interesting.

  • I continue to spend time learning Korean. I picked up a bunch of new language books in Seoul when I was there. These days, I am also learning Hanja, the Chinese characters used in Korea before the local alphabet Hangul was developed (Chinese characters were used in government until 1990, so any historical or even contemporary work requires knowledge here). I also picked up a newish book Kim Jin Myung (김진명), who is a local political novelist called 1026.

Image by Ryan McKnight used under Creative Commons