Business has always fascinated me for various reasons. Originally, business meant providing a person with a service or product. Overtime, that shifted. Today, business is blatant in it’s true goal. Accumulate as much wealth as possible by any means neccessary and if that means providing a service or product, whatever.
This has had a massive impact on society.
Once upon a time, people realized that we are all in this together. That progress for all was good for the individual. Public projects, minimum wages. All of that helped push everything higher level which improved everybody’s life.
People were willing to sacrifice and work harder because they knew there was a place for them.
Now there is a blow back happening. People are realizing that, “No, the government doesn’t work in their interest.” “No, businesses only want to squeeze them into oblivion.” Their loyalty is gone. Or I guess you could say their morals are gone.
Whoever can minimize what the government takes from me, good. Whatever business can give me the cheapest service/product, regardless of the pain or suffering caused by its creation, great.
With the rise of the digital age, it has given the consumer an insane amount of power in certain areas. Before if you didn’t agree with something, you were required to go without. Now you can hurt them and still consume whatever you want. Prices too high? Business practices not exactly the way you want them? Greedy? Profiting on something where the original creator is dead? Fuck them. Take it.
Which, in turn, has given businesses the mindset that the consumer are actually the enemy. Instead of taking it in stride and attempting to provide a better service or compete with new advances, they would rather put their boot on your neck. Actually, scratch that last part. They would rather put their boot on everybody’s neck which alienates their employees.
Thankfully for artists there is an escape. They can get their art out on their own.
I’ve watched it grow. Seen people succeed. Seen people fail. But most importantly, I have figured it out.
This new age of business is what I call “Hat In Hand Business”. It’s the art of getting back to original purpose of business.
I give you product/service. You give me money so I have enough to live and create more, for your benefit.
One of the funniest things to see is a person fail at this. It isn’t because they have a bad product or service. It isn’t because they didn’t market enough. Their failure falls squarely on them behaving like a corporate business.
They eliminate their humanity and focus everything on their business. They join dozens of messageboards just to plug their thing. They spam the same message over and over on Twitter in the hopes that somebody will see it.
By eliminating their humanity, they also strip away the potential customers’ humanity. That stranger, who has hopes and dreams and ambitions, is reduced to a walking wallet. People sense this. It not only turns them off, it makes them angry.
Success comes with tapping into that humanity. Turning yourself into a person they can relate to. It makes them give you the benefit of the doubt. Makes them champion you to others. Makes them want to see you succeed.
Having a good product or service immensely helps but you can still get succeed if you can tap into that area.
Well, for now, you can succeed. We are currently on the ground floor of this. As more people catch on, as more people realize what is happening, the level of success with this model is going to drop.
Society’s problem is that there is only so much money to go around as corporations squeeze us. That is a problem we can’t fix. The solution has to come from the top down.
It’s easy to justify paying extra or purchasing something you normally wouldn’t when the selection is small but when everybody and their mother is doing it, that budget shrinks. People become more selective.
A good example of this would be Humble Bundle. For people that don’t know, Humble Bundle is a organization put together by Jeff Rosen, an indie game developer. They covered every angle. Five high quality games. No DRM. Steam keys. Windows/Mac/Linux. Pay what you want. Choose where your money goes. Give it to the developers. Give it to charity. Pass a certain dollar amount and we’ll release the source code to the games. Randomly adding an additional game to the bundle as a thanks.
It was a massive success raising 1.2+ million dollars over the course of a week.
So, they did it again. Making 1.8+ million.
Then they decided to play with the formula. Three games with two prototypes from one developer. It made under a million dollars.
Now they jump back and forth. The original model still pulls in a million+ while the second model pulls in under.
With their success, other companies tried to emulate them. The problem was they didn’t understand why it was a success. Over time, they flooded the market with various bundles. Each one stripped the appealing aspects away from the Humble Bundle.
No charity aspect. Only available for Windows. Shovelware games. Reusing games from other bundles. Releasing new bundles with no breathing period in between them.
With their failure, they stripped away the specialness of the Humble Bundle itself.
People were reaching into their pocket because they liked the idea of the Humble Bundle. The marketplace became so saturated that it smothered that passion.
Now for the Humble Bundle people, they couldn’t control this tidal wave they started and they couldn’t control the actions of others which hurt their cause. But they didn’t stomp their feet. They didn’t throw up their hands and call it a day. They just continue to evolve. Innovate.
And I guess that is the most important moral of this blog post. In this environment, you don’t have the luxury of riding one good idea for the rest of your life. You have to push yourself. You have to put the whole of yourself as out there for the public. You have to be vulnerable. You have to enter the arena with a pure heart, no expectation of profit or fame.
If profit or fame is your motivating factor, you are in the wrong business. You will fail and others will revel in that.