Boycotts are (still) for idiots
I stand by what I said not so recently: Boycotts are for idiots. By which I mean, when a given company does something amazingly stupid— as was the case recently with Gillette’s merry little idea of virtue signaling as a marketing campaign— it is the epitome of stupid to attempt to convince people to avoid giving said company money because you disagree with how they run their business. Most especially if you’ve never been a customer of said company. Namely, as you’re preaching to the choir no matter what side of a given issue you happen to be on.
Boycott the NRA! Because guns are scary and you don’t own any. Anti-boycott the NRA, because boycotters are idiots. Swell. What have folk on both sides of the issue accomplished? Zip. Those who hate the NRA because reasons are going to continue to not give them money. Those who do not, if anything, will probably give them more money, briefly. Net result: Basically nothing.
The market, at least when free of government manipulation, will sort these issues out all on its own. Gillette thought it would be fun to lay a big, steaming log on the vast majority of their customer base. That was, to put it mildly, unwise, and everyone responsible for doing so should by every right be fired. Not because they’re a bunch of SJW morons who couldn’t find a clue with a map, but because they’ve failed to do their jobs, which is to successfully market their products and generate revenue for the company. When said company is already up a creek in a very competitive market, doing anything of the sort illustrates a total disconnect with said market, and a complete failure of management.
Personally, I don’t really use Gillette products, short of the odd can of shaving foam and disposable razor when I’m traveling. I prefer to shave with a safety razor, real blades and quality lather. And as Gillette has seen fit to insult me, I will happily vote with my dollars and buy products not made by Procter & Gamble henceforth, on those rare occasions I need something that’s going to be left in a hotel trash can. But I’m not about to shriek from the rooftops about how one should boycott everything they make— Gillette has already done this, and as a result there’s little need for me to do so.
The real story here is not that Gillette has seen fit to commit marketing seppuku, but rather the fairly shocking revelation that a major corporation entrusted by its shareholders to generate revenue has a massive case of management rot that allowed it to happen in the first place. Marketing mis-steps are nothing new. The business equivalent of rolling a case of explosives into your factory and dancing on the ashes kind of is.
Corporate appeasement has been a trend for decades. McDonalds, and pretty much every other fast food brand, have over the last few decades played with appeasing the health nuts who never eat there with salads and apple slices and all manner of other nonsense— however there’s one critical difference: McDonalds didn’t stop selling Big Macs, and they didn’t release a marketing campaign calling everyone who eats them a fat, useless simpleton. This is likely due to the fact that McDonalds is run by adults who ran the numbers and concluded it was an insignificant expense to dabble in this junk to shut the shriekers up to some degree, so long as the food people actually want to stuff in their face holes keeps pouring out of their well oiled money machine.
GM, Ford, and basically every other auto maker have cranked out utterly useless econobox and electric nonsense that effectively no one wants to buy (in large part to appease government shrieking in the same vein), but they didn’t stop cranking out Corvettes, stupid-fast Mustangs and wildly popular huge-margin pickup trucks. Because they are a business whose responsibility is to make products people want.
Gillette, however, didn’t just crank up a new product line for hipsters— they pulled a Cartman and for reasons entirely inexplicable to anyone with a lick of business sense, have very likely destroyed their core business.
I don’t really care if Gillette wants to go full retard. In fact, I welcome it. Any time a large corporation wants to put up a flag with “short our stock and make some quick money”, fine by me. However, I sure wouldn’t want to be on the company side of their next shareholder meeting. Or, for that matter, the stockholder side.
posted by Mr. Lion | 01/16/19 @ 17:03 | comments (0)
Y'know that thing you do where you force users to run through the iCloud "setup" nonsense every time they install a minor OS upgrade, hoping that this time, maybe, they'll forget they don't want to store all of their passwords and encryption keys in fucking iCloud?
Yeah. Stop that shit. Seriously.
posted by Mr. Lion | 08/12/18 @ 12:38 | comments (3)
Boycotts are for idiots
So the latest bot plague on various social media outlets, naturally run up the flagpole for days by said outlets, is an effort to boycott the NRA. Which would be the organization that has sweet fuck all to do with school shootings. This is nothing new, and has been a thing for some years now whenever a bunch of retards on Twitter decide to create a bot storm targeting whatever companies support a given organization they disagree with.
What surprises me is that major corporations worth billions of dollars, who ultimately have to answer to shareholders knuckle under to this nonsense.
I've been in business my entire adult life, and some years before that to boot, and if there's one thing I've learned it is that politicizing one's business in any way is quite possibly the stupidest thing anyone can do, and it boggles the mind that anyone in a position of authority in a large, or even small company thinks this is a good idea.
Protip, guys: Alienating half (or more) of your customer base is massively stupid, eclipsed only by kowtowing a mob, especially a fake one. Not only are said fake mobsters not going to positively affect your revenues by anything other than a rounding error, the number of people who had previously been loyal customers, or who simply dislike this sort of thing jumping ship most certainly will, and it is next to impossible to get those folk back.
Another protip: Know who pays the most attention to this kind of thing, and who can really do unpleasant things to your business? Shareholders. Would you invest in a company that perscribes to mob rule? I sure as hell would not, as it is a key indicator of apocalyptically stupid management.
Want to support a given cause or politician? Great. It's not hard to do that, while not taking a giant, steaming crap all over your brand by doing it publicly with said brand, which in many cases is the most valuable thing held by your company.
If that isn't business school 101, it damn well should be.
posted by Mr. Lion | 02/24/18 @ 12:07 | comments (0)
Y'know that thing where you moved all the Python ports to generic, flavored versions, thereby exploding portmaster in entirely hilarious ways?
Yeah, fuck whoever did that. Right in the ear. With a spork.
posted by Mr. Lion | 12/01/17 @ 22:40 | comments (0)
Turns out, all they’re likely to inherit is a bad case of butthurt.
Still, as a millennial I have watched as our society, our art, and our media outlets have begun to blur traditional ideas of what constitutes a man. John Wayne is out. But not all of us want to (or can) be soft-voiced guys in skinny jeans.
The only explanation I can think of is that my generation has been disillusioned by the discrepancies between what we were told the world was, and reality. We saw the Twin Towers fall when we were at our most impressionable, we’ve seen politicians, from the presidency on down, dwindle in stature, likewise our degrees and our sporting heroes.
An object at rest tends to stay at rest, but for us, an object in motion also tends to move toward rest. This is not good; I know it. My millennial friends know it. We’re just uncertain about our next actions, or our next act.
It’s easy for those of us who grew up in an era where we still had strong leaders, good role models, and parental guidance that amounted to more than a participation trophy to mock this sort of thing. The Millennials are a lost generation for many reasons, among them a lack of the above. You can blame many things for this—- the media and entertainment world shoveling the mantra that it’s okay to fail into young minds full of nothing of consequence. Society, and its destructors, chipping away at the keystones of Western Culture for decades. Academia convincing the impressionable that all one needs to succeed in life is a degree in the Social Anthropology of Light Blue Butterflies. And on, and on.
However, one can only play the blame game for so long before realizing the heart of the matter lies within. What makes a winner versus a loser? Quite a lot of things can influence the outcome, but ultimately we all start out with the same fresh slate, and we either overcome adversity and reach for our goals in life, or we settle for something less, but at least we try. Or, in the case of a fairly disturbing number of Millennials, not.
The mental poison ladled out in nauseating quantity over the last 20 years has certainly stacked the deck against the average 20-something. But that doesn’t prevent them from waking up one fine Monday morning and deciding: Enough. Today I make a plan, and I do the best I possibly can to execute it. And while it is certainly easier to fail today than it was circa 1985, or even 1995, it is also easier than ever to succeed. One does not have to be a rocket surgeon to pull out their parentally-provided laptop and, rather than fire up the newest twitch game, research employment trends and the various metrics of success-of-geography.
Further, it’s easier than ever to actually acquire the skills to succeed once one has done that fundamental research, and find a place to put those skills to work. When I entered the workforce, it was not possible to learn advanced skills while sitting on a sofa at three in the morning in the middle of Nebraska. Nor was it possible to market yourself globally to tens of thousands of companies looking for said skills. Nor was it particularly cheap or easy to relocate to an area of industrial and economic growth. Today, all of that is easier than ever, thanks to the networked and commoditized world. All it takes is the drive to put down the tendies and go do it.
Now, not everyone stuck in that tar pit of suck is lost. Every day I see a gaggle of 20-somethings who got their ass off the sofa and learned a trade, or an in-demand skill, and are putting them to work to better and enrich themselves. In fact, I have nothing but respect for those who do, as perversely, it is much harder to do that sort of thing and remain socially acceptable in Millennial circles. Not everyone need be a welder or a plumber, either. I know of hundreds of young men, Millennials most all, who have embraced the direct-to-market media revolution and do nothing but create content to pay the bills.
The difference? The those guys have discovered balls and decided their own success and happiness is more important than what random strangers on Twitter and Facebook think about their life choices.
The only real difference between successful Millennials and the sofa mold variety, as I see it, is they gave themselves a swift kick in the ass to get motivated rather than inherit one from society.
That, it seems, is what the generation of Lost Boys we’ve let happen so desperately need: A swift kick in the ass.
posted by Mr. Lion | 09/25/17 @ 19:28 | comments (0)
It would seem H-F-D is on the verge of being screwed again. Surprise! It's for the same reason they've been screwed several times before: A steadfast refusal to innovate and market to broader demographics.
Some of the pundits are trying to liken this to the overall concept of: Younger people don't like motorcycles. Uh, guys? Search youtube for "motovlogger" or "supermoto". Then go take a look at the sales numbers for the Japanese and European bike makers. While I'm pretty far removed from a millennial, I do play one on TV, and let me tell you: There is no shortage of them willing to shell out ten grand for a fast, reliable and visually interesting motorcycle.
The key parts of that equation are: fast, reliable and visually interesting. These are words that H-F-D has been tone deaf to for decades.
Let us review the various market trends the company has entirely missed out on:
- Sport Bikes
- Adventure Bikes
- Muscle Bikes
- Retro Cafe Racers
- Cheap/Silly Microbikes
... and I'm probably missing a few. Sport bikes became a thing on the early 1980s fer chrissakes. That was fourty years ago for those keeping score at home. Every other market segment listed has been a thing for at least a decade, if not two or three. Yet Harley apparently thinks that like color TV and the internet, those things will never catch on. Aside from the fact that other manufacturers move tens of thousands of units every year.
Nope. Don't want to offend the 65 year old graybeard who bought a Road King from us two decades ago.
Now, to be fair, Harley has occasionally at least taken a passing stab at modernization. While Buell was roundly panned by everyone who took sport bikes seriously, they did at least make an attempt at the sport bike market. A half-assed, entirely stupid attempt, but an attempt none the less. The V-Rod was the first cruiser I'd actually sort of maybe want to own, at least if it didn't cost over 20 grand, and if Ducati hadn't come out with the massively superior in every way Diavel a few years later.
But generally speaking, Harley is utterly tone deaf to the youth, or hell, even the enthusiast market. I would love to own an American made motorcycle. I really would. But in order to get me into a showroom, you're going to need to at least be roughly close to on par with Ducati, KTM and the Japanese Four, guys. And you very much are not.
Yes, it would require a significant capital investment on the part of H-F-D to, say, develop a sport bike and a streetfighter. They would need to build two modern engines, and modern chassis to go with them. The rest-- suspension, brakes, etc, etc are all available off the shelf. Everyone else uses Ohlins, WP and Brembo for a reason, guys: They work. But there needs to be some hot sauce, and there needs to be some value, which are two things H-F-D seems to not only not understand, but be violently opposed to.
When I was a kid, they made shit like this:
As a result, I mocked them relentlessly. They made cars for old men. Slow, ugly, boring boxes that a young man wouldn't be caught dead in.
Today, they make this:
Do I want one? You bet your ass I want one.
It really isn't rocket surgery, guys. Build an interesting, quick, fun streetfighter and sell it for ~$8-10k. I'll buy one.
posted by Mr. Lion | 07/18/17 @ 10:50 | comments (11)
Back in the early days of this whole Blogging thing, not long after 9/11, Kim was one of the first bloggers I had regular and much enjoyed banterings with, along with Rob, Mike and of course James.
While I'm loath to read what Kim has gone through during his absence, I'm very glad to see him writing once more.
posted by Mr. Lion | 03/26/17 @ 19:29 | comments (2)
All I really have to say about Trump's Inaugural Address is: It's about fucking time. We haven't heard that since Reagan, and as such, I don't suppose it should surprise anyone with half a clue that it is, indeed, morning in America again.
Also, fuck you, ex-President Zero. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. By which I mean let it do exactly that.
posted by Mr. Lion | 01/20/17 @ 12:46 | comments (0)
In a nutshell...
I think this sums up Election 2016 pretty well.
posted by Mr. Lion | 11/09/16 @ 09:17 | comments (0)
I've never really had faith in any particular deity, though what I do tend to have a lot of, is faith in the average American. While they will abide a lot and resent little, there is a limit to the tolerance of stupidity of this great country. We crossed it 'round about 2012, and, it turns out that those wise men who designed the Republic we enjoy, really were some pretty smart SOBs. Because it still works. No amount of fraud, corruption, foreign money, or media propaganda can derail the American people when they finally say: Enough.
So, while the tears and pants-shitting hysteria of the left at present are awfully delicious, especially after nearly a decade of utter calamity and malaise, there are more important things that have come of the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
First, and perhaps most importantly, the Clinton machine is done. The most corrupt, downright evil machine in the history of US politics, bested only by the likes of Boss Tweed, is over. There is no walking back the exposure of what goes on behind the velvet curtains. And while it's somewhat troubling that 59-odd million Americans, alive or otherwise, voted for a corrupt, habitual liar whose incompetence resulted in the death of many Americans-- the simple truth is that the lies, the cash, the deals, are all out in the public eye and will be for decades to come. Which brings me to my next point.
The mainstream media are finished. For decades, many have assumed that various media outlets were nothing but Democrat party collaborators and had not been journalists for generations. Most, however, still largely gave them the benefit of the doubt. They believed, perhaps with a grain of salt here and there, what was said. They believed polls. They believed debates were fair and honest. Most everyone now knows, thanks in major part to WikiLeaks and the exposure of the Clinton Machine, that this is not the case. They lie, they cheat, they do whatever they can to forward their globalist, leftist agenda, and actively hate the average American. The feeling, I believe they will find, is quite mutual, and it will be quite interesting to watch the slow and happy death of a number of major media outlets in the coming years.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the GOP is finished, and so is the credibility of so many of the Establishment hacks in media and elsewhere who were supposedly on our side. Those who mocked, chided and insulted Trump for over a year. Those who pedaled doom and gloom about how it was impossible to win the Presidency without being in the club, or without being a bible thumper, or whatever the excuse has been for the last six months that I haven't been listening to them. Trump could never win, they told us. We told them they were full of it, and this morning, the rather stark lack of "I was wrong" among these folk tells us all we needed to know about them.
Turns out, yard signs do matter. Rally crowds matter. Experience in business and leadership matter. Because we just won Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
For the last few months, my key indicator of what was going to happen here actually was yard signs. I live right smack in the middle of liberal utopia. In 2012, I saw a fair number of Romney signs, and thought that indicated good things in general. This year, I saw a massive number more Trump signs-- and the key thing that really gave me hope, is just how many hand made Trump signs I saw. For the first time ever, I also saw constant Hillary attack ads, in this same region, and also for the first time ever, well made and executed ads for Trump. When you live in a foregone conclusion, this is not insignificant, it turns out.
So, here we are. President Trump. Decades of solid Supreme Court decisions. Sane business regulation and tax. The de-weponization of the Federal Government. It turns out, Gen. Patton was right: Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.
I think I'll go grow the economy a little.
posted by Mr. Lion | 11/09/16 @ 08:43 | comments (0)
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