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Obvious Markets

In May of 1968, I visited the Battelle Institute in Columbus, Ohio and first heard a description of the ``Xerox Necessity''. What was the size of the market for perfect copies of black and white documents, produced on plain paper in less than 60 seconds, the year before anybody realised such a thing was possible? Effectively zero, of course. What was the size of that market 5 years after the appearance of the Xerox 914? Look it up.

What was the size of the market for overnight small package and document delivery in all the years before Federal Express figured out how to make such a service work, and gained the confidence of their customer base that the letter would actually be there the next day? One can imagine the entrepreneur who conceived of Federal Express fielding questions such as, ``How is this different from First Class Mail?'', and ``Even if you succeed, why won't the Post Office jump in and put you out of business?''. And yet....

The rationale for our investment in AMIX is the belief that AMIX is the first well-conceived efficient market of the information age. Those who have created markets for the predominant commodities of the past have done very well, indeed. If this is, in fact, the information age, then eventually there will emerge an efficient market for information; one that supplants the retail or dealer market of existing information utilities with the give and take of an exchange floor and thereby assigns correct values to information, reduces the price of information to the purchaser, and opens the market to many more sellers, to the benefit of all and to the profit of the market maker.

Editor: John Walker