Philosophical Musings

February 22, 2008

Fast Food Industry’s Take on Permission Marketing

Filed under: Corpocracy — Elad Kehat @ 9:39 am

From Seth Godin’s 1999 book, Permission Marketing:

“Interruption Marketing fails because it is unable to get enough attention from consumers. Permission Marketing works by taking advantage of the same problem – there just isn’t enough attention to go around.”

So, how about getting consumers’ attention where they’re most receptive to your message?
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And the end result:


January 11, 2008

The Right to Life is Reserved to Humans, Not Business Models

Filed under: capitalism,Copyrights,music — Elad Kehat @ 7:11 am

The Right to Life is reserved to Human Beings. Not to businesses. In a market economy, when a business fails to serve its purpose – i.e. generate revenue by selling a product or service to customers, it dies. This includes entire industries too.  If you’re lucky enough to still be producing something that people want, and it’s just your business model that doesn’t work anymore, good for you – you don’t have to die. Just find a new busines model.
Technology changes, business models stop working, you move on.

Oh, wait, there’s another option. You can lobby for new taxation designed to keep your obsolete business alive.

January 9, 2008

America, Corporations and the Police State

Filed under: capitalism,Democracy,Freedom,police state — Elad Kehat @ 9:20 am

There’s growing talk about how America is becoming a police state. Here’s just one little example that I ran into today.

The questions is: whatever happened to the American spirit? Why are Americans willing to take this?

The answer might be in corporate culture. With most people working for large corporations today, they get trained to accept orders from above, without questioning, and with a threat to be terminated (from work) if they go against company policy. If you spend most of your waking hours in that kind of culture, there’s no wonder that an authoritarian regime seems like the norm.

Check out this hilarious video, and notice how no Starbucks employee stops to questions why it’s really wrong for DaVido to do his thing in their shop. Nobody gets hurt. Everybody has fun. And what’s that about not filming – why not? Isn’t America supposed to be a free country? But the worse is 4:32 minutes into the video – Starbucks Police ???!!! Corporations have their own police forces now?

December 24, 2007

Morals, Law and Belief

Filed under: Copyrights,Democracy,Freedom,religion — Elad Kehat @ 11:36 am

Two seemingly unrelated posts I read this morning combined in a beautiful way.

Seth Godin is insightful as always, saying:
* Most people want to believe.
* And we’re most comfortable believing what everyone else believes.

Add to that the fact that “everyone else” isn’t really everyone else, it’s just your peer group. That’s why we mostly hold the same religious views as the community we grew up in.

The related post is from TorrentFreak: Piracy, Morals and The Need for Change
Ernesto discusses a NY Times article that tells of the generational divide in the moral perception of copyrights – today’s college students just don’t see anything wrong with copying digital files.
This is only surprising if like most people you (wrongly) assume that morals should be based on the law, and not the other way around. Morals aren’t a constant, they’re just the sum of what we believe to be right and wrong. They exist because we want to believe that there are such things as right or wrong, but their content is usually whatever our peers happen to believe in in that time and place.

So, asks Ernesto, should sharing copyrighted material be leglized?
Wrong question. The right question is “should there be such a thing as copyright?”. Well, the future generation has voted, and their answer is “definitely not”!

November 25, 2007

Just Say No to Linda O’Connor (and Yes to Wikipedia)

Filed under: Digital Culture,postmodernism — Elad Kehat @ 8:12 am

Linda O’Connor, a middle school librarian from New Jersey, has launched a campaign in her school to “Just Say No” to Wikipedia. You have probably heard the reasons before:

“Teachers and students have found at least two cases of incorrect information while using Wikipedia”

Wow, at least two errors, that’s nothing new, but here’s the real problem:

“Kids just take it for gospel, they really do, and that’s my concern about it.”

Apparently, wisdom does not transfer by diffusion. Just spending your life in a library with books all around you  is no guarantee that you’ll become smart. Let us try and see then whether our dear librarian could have come up with a better solution, in just two steps.

First, teach the kids that what they read online isn’t gospel. While you’re at it, why don’t you teach them that what they read offline isn’t gospel either. (Neither is the gospel gospel for that matter, but this is a pro-real education rant, not an anti-organized religion rant so I’ll stop there). Teach them to think for themselves. Teach them to corroborate the “facts”.

“A teacher researching Martin Luther King Jr. found white supremacist information in his entry”

If you taught students the bare minimum of rationale and critical thinking, then they should be able to recognize white supremacist information when they see it, realize that it has no place in a Martin Luther King article, and seek additional sources.

“The problem with Wikipedia, the school officials said, is it can be modified by anyone.”

And here comes the second step – realize that your students are people too  – “can be modified by anyone” includes them. Why not let them contribute something?

Instead of launching a “just say no” campaign, I’d rather see Ms. O’Connor suggest that her students take up a subject, learn all about it from various “authoritative” sources, then go into Wikipedia, look for errors and fix them. This way students could learn that there are inaccuracies in Wikipedia, learn how to look for additional sources and corroborate information they find online, and even give something back to society by making Wikipedia, a free source that’s easily available for everyone, more accurate.

Unlikely. I just hope that the digital generation are smarter than their parents.

November 13, 2007

Content is King… Louis XVI

Filed under: business,Digital Culture,entrepreneurship,movies — Elad Kehat @ 9:47 pm

Marc Andreessen has a thesis that Holywood (where big studios rule) might become something more like Silicon Valley (where entrepreneurs usually remain stock holders in their creation). He describes it as:

“a shift of power from studios and conglomerates towards creators and talent”

And the very next day I found two interesting items that corroborate his thesis:

First, check out Killer Bean Forever – a full feature animation film apparently created single-handedly. Here’s how Jeff Lew, it’s creator describes his work:

“For the past 4 years, I’ve been working at my computer 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’ve spent my entire life savings and maxed out credit cards. After all this time and effort, my movie is almost done. I present to you a preview of my feature film directorial debut… Killer Bean Forever.”

Sounds just like a technology entrepreneur describing his startup.

Second, here’s yet another example for how marketing doesn’t need big budget – “Producer Thanks Pirates for Stealing His Film.”:

“Our independent movie had next to no advertising budget and very little going for it until somebody ripped one of the DVD screeners and put the movie online for all to download. Most of the feedback from everyone who has downloaded “The Man From Earth” has been overwhelmingly positive. People like our movie and are talking about it, all thanks to piracy on the net!”

Obviously, that wouldn’t work if the film sucks – then you’ll need a serious marketing budget to push it.

In any case, I’m banking on this trend to deliver some good movies instead of the crap that’s produced by Holywood studios today. I just watched Ocean’s 13 (yet another crappy sequel) on DVD, and one of the previews was for No Reservations – which seems like a crappy rip-off of a very good German film I watched a while back – Bella Martha. If content is king in Holywood then right now it’s King Louis XVI.

MLM 2.0

Filed under: business,Digital Culture — Elad Kehat @ 3:15 pm

“Consumers trust their friends and acquaintances far more than any other source.”

So says a Forrester “strategist”. Makes sense. But the corollary is wrong:

“Facebook, which brings a unique solution evolves advertisements to endorsements and encourages members to subscribe to a brand in what we are calling “Fan-Sumers” (an evolution of the consumer). As consumers share their affinities, brands can advertise using trusted social relationships.”

Apparently, in order to be a strategist at Forrester you need to be good at coining new terms (fan-sumers), that are rip-offs from your betters (Toffler’s prosumers – Update: Jeremiah says it wasn’t a rip-off, and I apologize. Nevertheless, Toffler is basic reading if you’re any kind of strategist). However, Mr. Strategist doesn’t have to ask “why?” – why do consumers trust their friends and acquaintances more than other source?

Here’s why I sometimes trust a friend’s opinion more than an expert, and always more than an ad – because it’s honest. It’s because I believe that my friends have my own interests in mind when they recommend a product, and not any commercial interest. More than that – if a friend was ever to try to promote some product to me in order to receive a benefit from a third party without disclosing that, I’d never trust their opinion again, and would seriously question whether they’re actually my friend.

Facebook’s “amazing” strategy that Forrester is touting seems more like MLM 2.0. Make money working from home, touting products to your social network friends, only you don’t even make money…

Fortunately some clear thinkers realize that. Nick Carr’s “The medium is the message from our sponsor” had me rolling on the floor…

(Real) Competition-Blindness

Filed under: business,Copyrights — Elad Kehat @ 2:46 pm

So a major TV network (NBC) has finally launched a service that lets you download shows to your PC. Not surprisingly, they still don’t get it right:

“First off, it’s Internet Explorer only, then once you download the player, if you don’t have the latest .NET framework, you’ll be downloading that also. Next: Windows Media needed a security update on top of it all. On a Mac? Sorry, can’t help. Outside of the US? You’re out of luck too.

Don’t they realize that they have to be better than competition?  They probably do. It’s just that they choose to ignore the real competition. Let’s parse those (non)issues:

1. It’s internet explorer only. Mininova etc. work on firefox as well.

2. You need to download the latest .NET framework. I guess I could live with that one 🙂

3. Windows media needs a security update. Screw you.  Playing DivX torrents doesn’t require any “security” updates that securely send information about me somewhere else.

4. On a Mac? No problem. Lots of bittorrent clients work on the Mac.

5. Outside of the US? Even better, in most countries MPAA hasn’t got lawmakers in their pocket (yet).

November 2, 2007

Why Digital Text Trumps Analog

Filed under: Digital Culture — Elad Kehat @ 1:08 pm

I often find myself trying to explain why it is that I read so much more today than ever before but dead trees never play a part in this activity.

The preamble to this blog post by Nick Carr caught my attention, as a good explanation:

 My column in today’s Guardian looks at Marshall McLuhan’s second life as a prophet of internet media. A couple of my references had to be cut from the column for space reasons. Here’s the full text, with links.

Read the second and third sentences again. Each sentence contains an important point, but it’s mentioned in a very casual way so it’s easy to miss.

Didn’t catch it yet? Take a look at David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous.

September 23, 2007

Philosophy, Summarized

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elad Kehat @ 8:25 am

While I usually try to add something to the conversation rather than copy and paste other’s words, this one is probably true, and worth spreading:

“Wittgenstein is popularly credited with the idea that most philosophical controversies are due to confusions over language. I’m not sure how much credit to give him. I suspect a lot of people realized this, but reacted simply by not studying philosophy, rather than becoming philosophy professors.” – Paul Graham

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