What makes a Florence stop being a Florence?

Two hypotheses are the classic stories about being killed by your own success. One has to do with increased risk aversion and one has to do with dilution.

The Risk Aversion Story

  1. A Florence is a city with multiple world-class scenes and Scenes push the edge of human capability so Florences at first are coming out with crazy new things.
  2. These scenes will necessarily be experimenting, taking risks, and failing. To make new things you need to take risks (Safi Bahcall on Why You Need to Take Crazy Risks)
  3. Once the scenes become recognized as world class, the expectations on them will increase.
  4. The intense pressure to produce amazing things will cause risk aversion and kill new-thing creation. The Florence will become a franchise. (Innovators and franchisees).
  5. Once a Florence becomes a franchise, it is no longer a Florence - it’s just a world-class city. (World-class cities do not necessarily have world-class scenes)

The Dilution Story

  1. A Florence is a city with multiple world-class scenes - at first these scenes are small (Minimum viable scene can be created by two people and Effective scenes are smaller than Dunbar’s number.)
  2. But A scene is world-class if people who want to do new ambitious things in a discipline try to join it from around the world so obviously more people will continue to join the scenes.
  3. This can go on for a while - the scenes can split and create new scenes, the core scene can ignore the extra people.
  4. At some point though, the scenes may get overwhelmed by scenesters and the city stops being a Florence but instead is just a World-class city. World-class cities do not necessarily have world-class scenes

The External Factor Story

There’s also a story where factors external to the nature of The Florence are what cause it to stop being a Florence. If Florences require a world-class high-profit discipline and a world-class cultural discipline is true, Economic forces that kill the world-class high-profit discipline will also kill the Florence.

These need case studies

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