Doctoral Student

Frank Nagle

Frank is a doctoral candidate in the Technology & Operations Management unit at HBS where he studies the economics of IT and digitization. His main research interests are crowdsourced digital goods, network effects in technology adoption, and generating strategic predictions from unstructured big data. His research utilizes large datasets derived from online social networks, financial market information, and surveys of enterprise IT usage.
Frank is a doctoral candidate in the Technology & Operations Management unit at HBS where he studies the economics of IT and digitization. His main research interests are crowdsourced digital goods, network effects in technology adoption, and generating strategic predictions from unstructured big data. His research utilizes large datasets derived from online social networks, financial market information, and surveys of enterprise IT usage.

Frank has worked at a number of small and large companies in the information security and technology consulting industries. In these roles, he has researched a variety of topics related to social network privacy and the economics of IT, spoken at numerous conferences, and developed and taught a 2 week course that all FBI cyber agents must pass before entering the field. Frank earned a BS and MS in Computer Science from Georgetown University and an MS in International Business Economics from City University, London.

Peer Reviewed Journal Publications

  1. Digital Dark Matter and the Economic Contribution of Apache

    Researchers have long hypothesized that research outputs from government, university, and private company R&D contribute to economic growth, but these contributions may be difficult to measure when they take a non-pecuniary form. The growth of networking devices and the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s magnified these challenges, as illustrated by the deployment of the descendent of the NCSA HTTPd server, otherwise known as Apache. This study asks whether this experience could produce measurement issues in standard productivity analysis, specifically, omission and attribution issues, and, if so, whether the magnitude is large enough to matter. The study develops and analyzes a novel data set consisting of a 1% sample of all outward-facing web servers used in the United States. We find that use of Apache potentially accounts for a mismeasurement of somewhere between $2 billion and $12 billion, which equates to between 1.3% and 8.7% of the stock of prepackaged software in private fixed investment in the United States and a very high rate of return to the original federal investment in the Internet. We argue that these findings point to a large potential undercounting of the rate of return from IT spillovers from the invention of the Internet. The findings also suggest a large potential undercounting of "digital dark matter" in general.

    Keywords: open source; Apache; Economic measurement; Digital economics; Measurement and Metrics; Open Source Distribution; Internet; Information Technology; Software; Economic Growth; Research and Development; Web Services Industry; Information Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Frank Nagle. "Digital Dark Matter and the Economic Contribution of Apache." Research Policy 43, no. 4 (May 2014): 623–631. (Lead Article.) View Details

Working Papers

  1. Innovating Without Information Constraints: Organizations, Communities, and Innovation When Information Costs Approach Zero

    Innovation has traditionally taken place within an organization's boundaries and/or with selected partners. This Chandlerian approach to innovation has been rooted in transaction costs, organizational boundaries, and information processing challenges associated with distant search. Information processing, storage, and communication costs have long been an important constraint on innovation and a reason for innovative activities to take place inside the boundaries of an organization. However, exponential technological progress has led to a dramatic decrease in information constraints. In a range of contexts, information costs approach zero. In this chapter, we discuss how sharply reduced information costs enable organizations to engage with communities of developers, professionals, and users for core innovative activities, frequently through platform-based businesses and ecosystems and by incorporating user innovation. We then examine how this ease of external engagement impacts the organization and its strategic activities. Specifically, we consider how this shift in information processing costs affects organization boundaries, business models, interdependence, leadership, identity, search, and intellectual property. We suggest that much of the received wisdom in these areas of organization theory requires revisiting. We then discuss the implications for an organization's management of innovation and conclude with research opportunities.

    Keywords: managing innovation; Information Costs; Information Constraints; communities; Organization Boundaries; Technological Progress; Platforms and Ecosystems; User Innovation; Innovation and Management; Boundaries; Collaborative Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Altman, Elizabeth J., Frank Nagle, and Michael L. Tushman. "Innovating Without Information Constraints: Organizations, Communities, and Innovation When Information Costs Approach Zero." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-043, December 2013. View Details
  2. Online Word of Mouth and Product Quality Disagreement

    Studies of online word of mouth have frequently posited that the level of disagreement between existing product reviews can impact the propensity to review and the valence of future reviews. However, due to purchasing and reporting biases that result from unique facets of consumer behavior, the distribution of online reviews is frequently an amalgamation of two distributions: consumers who liked the product and consumers who did not. Consequently, statistical measures capturing only the dispersion of reviews, such as standard deviation, can be improved by a measure that specifically classifies reviews as belonging to these disjunct populations of consumers. We theoretically develop and empirically test a new measure of disagreement for online word of mouth using a new data set containing nearly 300,000 reviews for 425 movies over three years. We find this measure results in lower standard errors and has higher predictive power than standard deviation. Using this measure, we show that higher levels of disagreement among previously posted reviews lead to a higher propensity to post future product reviews. This effect is amplified by the average length of prior reviews but is decreased by the product's availability in the market. Further, we show that increased disagreement leads to future reviews of lower valence.

    Keywords: online word of mouth; online communities; Viral Marketing; online product reviews; consumer behavior; Quality; Online Technology; Consumer Behavior; Marketing Reference Programs; Social and Collaborative Networks;

    Citation:

    Nagle, Frank, and Christoph Riedl. "Online Word of Mouth and Product Quality Disagreement." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-091, May 2013. (Revised January 2014, selected for AOM Best Paper Proceedings.) View Details
  3. Digital Dark Matter and the Economics of Apache

    Researchers have long hypothesized that spillovers from government, university, and private company R&D contribute to economic growth, but these contributions may be difficult to measure when they take a non-pecuniary form. The growth of networking devices and the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s magnified these challenges, as illustrated by the deployment of the descendent of the NCSA HTTPd server, otherwise known as Apache. This study asks whether this experience could produce measurement issues in standard productivity analysis, specifically omission and attribution issues, and, if so, whether the magnitude is large enough to matter. The study develops and analyzes a novel data set consisting of a 1% sample of all outward-facing web servers used in the United States. We find that use of Apache potentially accounts for a mismeasurement of somewhere between $2 billion and $12 billion, which equates to between 1.3% and 8.7% of the stock of prepackaged software in private fixed investment in the United States. We argue that these findings point to a large potential undercounting of "digital dark matter" and related IT spillovers from university and federal funding.

    Keywords: Measurement and Metrics; Internet; Performance Productivity; Software; Economic Growth; Research and Development;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Frank Nagle. "Digital Dark Matter and the Economics of Apache." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 19507, October 2013. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Technology and Innovation Management

    The goal of this annotated bibliography on technology and innovation is to organize and present the most important literature relevant to a scholar seeking to understand and advance the field. It includes articles that are highly-cited and foundational pieces, as well as recent articles that help give the reader a sense of where the field is headed and where likely opportunities for future research lie. This article seeks to strike an equilibrium among the variety of perspectives that exist in technology and innovation literature, balancing new and old research as well as economic, organizational, and cross-disciplinary methodologies. The innovative process is broadly considered here, as well as the technologies that result from it, including business model innovation, service-level innovation, and product innovation, highlighting articles that utilize diverse levels of analysis.

    Keywords: technology; technological change; innovation streams; organizational evolution; executive leadership; organizational architecture; Technology; Technological Innovation; Innovation and Management; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leadership; Organizational Design;

    Citation:

    Altman, Elizabeth J., Frank Nagle, and Michael Tushman. "Technology and Innovation Management." In Oxford Bibliographies: Management, edited by Ricky W. Griffin. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. View Details

Computer Science Publications

  1. Privacy Breach Analysis in Social Networks

    Citation:

    Nagle, Frank. "Privacy Breach Analysis in Social Networks." In Mining Social Networks and Security Informatics, edited by Tansel Ozyer, Zeki Erdem, Jon Rokne, and Suheil Khoury, 63–78. Springer Science + Business Media, 2013. View Details
  2. EWNI: Efficient Anonymization of Vulnerable Individuals in Social Networks

    Citation:

    Nagle, Frank, Lisa Singh, and Aris Gkoulalas-Divanis. "EWNI: Efficient Anonymization of Vulnerable Individuals in Social Networks." Proceedings of the Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (PAKDD) (2012): 359–370. View Details
  3. Exploring Re-Identification Risks in Public Domains

    While re-identification of sensitive data has been studied extensively, with the emergence of online social networks and the popularity of digital communications, the ability to use public data for re-identification has increased. This work begins by presenting two different cases studies for sensitive data reidentification. We conclude that targeted re-identification using traditional variables is not only possible, but fairly straightforward given the large amount of public data available. However, our first case study also indicates that large-scale re-identification is less likely. We then consider methods for agencies such as the Census Bureau to identify variables that cause individuals to be vulnerable without testing all combinations of variables. We show the effectiveness of different strategies on a Census Bureau data set and on a synthetic data set.

    Citation:

    Ramachandran, Aditi, Lisa Singh, Edward Porter, and Frank Nagle. "Exploring Re-Identification Risks in Public Domains." Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Privacy, Security, and Trust (2012). View Details

Presentations

  1. Crowdsourced Digital Goods and Firm Productivity

    Citation:

    Nagle, Frank. "Crowdsourced Digital Goods and Firm Productivity." Paper presented at the Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons, Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy and International Association for the Study of the Commons, New York, NY, September 5–6, 2014. View Details