Sounds logical you say? Still we’ve been doing it for decades.
Chances are quite big that each time you have bought a CD music album you did so for a limited amount of songs on there, maybe even just the one, but you still paid for the rest. And you probably have hundreds of channels on your TV, but how many of them do you really watch? Again the same.
What may have been a viable marketing strategy up to a few years ago, is now progressively becoming a thorn in the eye of us, the consumers. Instead of perceiving the mostly unwanted things as relatively cheap extras, we’re now starting to think of them as ballast we have no desire to pay for anymore.
The music industry has been struggling with the notion of moving away from selling albums to single songs for a while now; and recently TV broadcasters are experiencing the same. Too many unwatched channels and too many unwanted programs are driving people to alternatives that give them exactly what they want, when they want it, and nothing more. Unfortunately for broadcasters everywhere this means in most cases illegal downloads. And just as the music industry has been struggling and for years came up with the most customer-unfriendly solutions, such as ridiculous user licenses, DRM and other copy protection schemes, now the broadcasters, seeing their dwindling “live” viewers and hence dwindling advertising income, are starting to flail about in panic and also coming up with medieval solutions.
Instead of working on future-proof solutions broadcasters in Belgium, and through them the cable companies, are even working on total technological regression. They are going as far as trying to devise schemes to stop consumers from recording programs and fast forwarding through advertisements. Something the cable companies have been selling to us for years as an added-value feature is now blamed for the entire decline of the Belgian TV broadcasting industry. Well that and things like illegal downloads, movies on demand and internet streaming services. These last all things that completely go against the current business model of overselling you with content and channels we really don’t want and don’t want to pay for anymore.
So, instead of making work of revising their business model broadcasters are digging in and declaring war on the pesky consumer…
Maybe you are also experiencing some kind of anxiety about the fact that you haven’t taken the step yet to start up your own business or to pitch your idea (what, you don’t have an idea yet neither… tsss) to what is seemingly an endless supply of people, who are looking for another “entrepreneur” to throw sacks of money at, looking for the next big thing?
You are really not to blame for feeling like you must surely be a sad idiot for not having taken the plunge yet to become an entrepreneur. For quite some time now the trumpets of all kinds of media, politicians and really serious business people have been tooting the same tune; we need more entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs will save the economy, entrepreneurs are the newest cool thing, do you want to make disgusting amounts of money, just do it because I did and succeeded, are you tired of working for someone else, do you want to date supermodels?
It just seems like it’s so easy, trendy, and a short road to success. Afterall, it has “you must be willing to fail” as a tagline, so really, why wouldn’t you think it a good idea to try and get into the game…?
A few years ago when asked what they wanted to become when they were grown up, kids started answering with stuff like “a celebrity” or “a Kardashian”, and people rolled their eyes, tutting and cursing about where this world is headed. Soon that kid’s answer might become “an entrepreneur”, “Richard Branson” or “Warren Buffet”. It might sound more ambitious or serious, but let’s be honest, it would be just as generalized or ridiculous, and proof of the same yet slightly different type of cult of status.
Actually, it’s becoming even a bit of a strange mashup, where succesful entrepreneurs are elevated to celebrity status, while many celebrities, many known only for their name, are desperately trying to claim the job title of entrepreneur.
Recently the candidates in (yet another) reality program about starting entrepreneurs “Top Starter” were given a plethora of Apple goodies and an expensive luxury car “to do their job with”. Obviously you can’t do your job as entrepreneur without having at least some status symbols, why else are you trying to become one, right? Again something contributing to the myth of the entrepreneur as a luxury job, where the first things you need, and obviously deserve, are an expensive tablet computer and an expensive Mercedes.
Every month we’re slapped about the ears with gruesome statistics about the number of companies going bust. Of course only the big ones make it into the news by name, but the pace at which online platforms, small businesses and shops pop up only to disappear with not a bang, let alone so much as a whimper about 1 year later should also be a sign that it’s not easy to make it as an entrepreneur.
Everybody can take the chance, but that’s not a reason why everybody should. And if your main motivation or short-term expectation is to drive a nice white 4×4, in your €3.000 suit, with one of iEverything in your crocodile leather briefcase, maybe then you really shouldn’t…
Zombie companies, a rather apt term for companies that through repetitive government bailouts or other types of funding such as low interest rate loans, are able to barely stay ahead of going broke but while they can just pay the interests on their debt, they can’t reduce the debt itself. Hence, the reference to zombies, they’re alive, but also not really, and to continue the analogy, they even prey on the living, i.e. healthy companies or new companies.
Recent reports even go so far to say that, at least in the mid to longer term, these companies cause economic decline as they are unable to hire (often they need to downsize) and can’t afford to invest, and as such they are unable to grow or contribute to growth. These companies are in fact tying up all kinds of resources which could be deployed more productively elsewhere, be it funding but also employees. Under normal circumstances bankruptcy is the “natural” mechanism that frees up those resources and allows new companies to take the place of the zombie company thereby boosting economic growth instead of dampening it.
These companies are sitting time bombs, because if interests go up, they will finally go down, but until then they drag themselves along, moaning and rotting, but not dead.
Question is of course, what to do to solve this problem? Make sure they die as quickly as possible, freeing up those resources (banks won’t like this, and there will be public outcry against the short term rise in unemployment this will bring), or keep on trying to cure their undead state? One thing is for sure, we can’t afford to create more zombies, as this thing has all the trapping of a viral infection, as banks have funding tied up and so can’t or won’t lend to healthy or new businesses, and the government needs to take budgetary measures that impact those same healthy businesses just to compensate for the bailouts to keep the zombies shambling just for the sake of public opinion…
Need something to read for the holidays? Here’s my 2nd list of (mostly) Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books I read during 2012
With darkness coming early, the holidays approaching fast, and the weather turning cold lots of people look for something to read in the evening by a crackling fire. So, I thought I’d share with you my 2nd part of the list of books I’ve read in 2012. The first half of my book list you can read here.
- Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower #5) – Stephen King (4/5) – This is where -for me- the series changes focus. You will either love or hate the turn it takes, away from the self-contained fantasy story into an (at times) forced attempt by King to make it into his grand Unification Theory of his previous writings. The storyline in itself is a rather predictable rehash of The Magnificent Seven, but the reveal at the end is surprising to say the least.
- The Girl Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson (3/5) – The Daniel Craig movie really pleasantly surprised me (pleasant feels like a strange word to use regarding the viciousness of the story, but still), and so I decided to read the 2nd book in the series. I enjoyed it, but felt it lacked something. Despite the theme and the brutal events, it’s rather by the numbers.
- Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #6) – Stephen King (4/5) – Hard to say what I think about it without revealing too much about the plot. As I said about part 5, from here on out, to me it becomes something quite different from parts 1 through 4…
- vN – Madeline Ashby (3/5) – Some clever ideas, but I didn’t care a lot for the writing itself. It’s the type of book where the idea really appeals to me, but in the execution it falls flat.
- The Apocalypse Codex – Charles Stross (4/5) – Another visit to The Laundry, and the series just keeps getting better and better. Simply enjoyable as ever. Some new characters get introduced, and I hope they will make a return in the next The Laundry book.
- Summer of Night – Dan Simmons (3/5) – Simmons knows how to write, and knows how to create a mood and atmosphere that will suck you in and captivate you. Unfortunately the rest of the story is contrived and worse, the actions of the main characters often feel very unrealistic. It’s easily described as a mashup between “It” and “Stand by me”, but really not as good.
- Jack Glass – Adam Roberts (4/5) – Another book by Adam Roberts, with a huge SF concept, without getting too bogged down in the details.
- The Dark Tower (Dark Tower #7) – (3/5) Stephen King – The end, this is where you hope to find out what it’s all about. As usual King is very strong in writing the journey, never really so much in coming up with the endings. But if you’ve come this far, you would be foolish not to go through with it to the very end. Roland would surely agree…
Anything you would recommend to me?
If like me you are one of the rare breed of modern men who still likes to once in a while wear a bow tie, you may have noticed that it’s not that easy to tie in front of the mirror; push, pull, left right, front, back… all concepts easier dealt with without a mirror-image.
Well the solution to simplifying the act of tying the bow tie is both convenient and elegant; sit down and tie it around your leg. Depending on your shirt size you may have to tie it more towards your knee or higher up your thigh to get it about the right size.
Trust me, this tip will save you time and will make the end result better.