The War on Corporate Terrorism Marches On

Some words from the other cool Asian tech evangelist

While working as OpenCola‘s Director of Developer Relations (which made me Cory’s lieutenant on the evangelism front), I used former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki as my role model. He remains my role model as in my developer relations and promotional work with Peekabooty. I’m sure his offbeat techniques were part of the inspiration behind my using the accordion as a guerrilla marketing tool.

Guy is the grand master of writing inspirational stuff and giving rousing speeches. One of his most notable was a high school commencement speech he delivered in 1995 to the graduating students of Palo Alto High School. It was delivered in the style of a David Letterman “Top Ten” list. If you’ve never read it, give it a look; there’s lots of good advice to live by.

Take special note of point number eight:

#8: Challenge the known and embrace the unknown.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is to accept the known and resist the unknown. You should, in fact, do exactly the opposite: challenge the known and embrace the unknown.

Let me tell you a short story about ice. In the late 1800s there was a thriving ice industry in the Northeast. Companies would cut blocks of ice from frozen lakes and ponds and sell them around the world. The largest single shipment was 200 tons that was shipped to India. 100 tons got there unmelted, but this was enough to make a profit. These ice harvesters, however, were put out of business by companies that invented mechanical ice makers. It was no longer necessary to cut and ship ice because companies could make it in any city during any season.

These ice makers, however, were put out of business by refrigerator companies. If it was convenient to make ice at a manufacturing plant, imagine how much better it was to make ice and create cold storage in everyone’s home. You would think that the ice harvesters would see the advantages of ice making and adopt this technology. However, all they could think about was the known: better saws, better storage, better transportation. Then you would think that the ice makers would see the advantages of refrigerators and adopt this technology. The truth is that the ice harvesters couldn’t embrace the unknown and jump their curve to the next curve.

Challenge the known and embrace the unknown, or you’ll be like the ice harvester and ice makers.

This is what Big Content is failing to do. Their industry is based on hoarding information while the Internet is about freely exchanging it. Rather than embracing the unknown and finding ways to harness this revolutionary technology, they’re creating draconian laws meant to preserve their business models and monopolies. It’s as if the ice harvesters and ice makers decided to pay members of congress to pass laws restricting refrigeration, what with consumers being nothing but a bunch of good-for-nothing freon freeloaders.

Maybe it’s time to put the Big Content companies on ice.

Another Big Content Map

I really like my friend George‘s term “Big Content”. The only better turn of phrase I’ve heard was on the Daily Show when the U.S. backed out of the Kyoto Accord. John Stewart called it a victory against “Big Climate”.

My pal Ryan (whom, like George, I’ve known for almost 15 years!) sent me the URL to another media ownership map. While not as detailed nor as up-to-date as PROMO’s map, it’s got nicer graphic design and makes for a better poster for decorating your copyright law fallout shelter.

This map also has some great facts, including:

  • His Fuhrer’s Voice! Bertelsmann AG, the company that absorbed RCA, was a major printer of Nazi Propoganda during the Third Reich.

  • That ain’t workin, that’s the way you do it, money for senators and rules for me. Viacom broke US rules controlling media ownership when it bought CBS. Lucky for them, they’re Senator McCain’s fourth-largest “career patron” — within a week, he proposed changes to those rules. Is that a war hero in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
  • Don’t mess with the Mouse. In 1998, Disney-owned ABC News killed a story that asked embarrassing questions about hiring and safety practices at Disney World.
  • Rupert Murdoch ate my brain: “Our reach is unmatched around the world. We’re reaching people from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep.”

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