Do you have a link for that? It sounds fascinating.
Seconded, as I'm curious.
Do you have a link for that? It sounds fascinating.
Seconded, as I'm curious.
You are basically getting mad at Bayer because people prefer Bayer asprin over generic?
Indeed. Not to take sides in the GP's debate with another poster, but that particular example serves only to really demonstrate that people are susceptible to marketing efforts with years of momentum and plenty of money behind them. It doesn't follow that oligopoly power is preserving Bayer's financial benefits from producing aspirin - given that making aspirin is simple enough that we did it in sufficient yields and purity in high school chemistry experiments, anyone sufficiently capitalized can get in on this action.
Tell that to the thousands of people who are shot by robbers because they refused to hand over their wallet.
Anecdotal, and doesn't address the question of the number, but there have been a number of stories in the Milwaukee paper the last year or so about robberies where the stuff got handed over and the thug shot the victim anyway. Take that for what it's worth in the context of this discussion.
I think some people would prefer a broken arm over a totalled car.
Give me the completely-trashed car over an injury any day; anybody who prefers the broken arm either hasn't considered or isn't aware of the long-term impact to their body and its functionality, resiliency, etc. I'd rather not have the loss of structural integrity of the bone, joint and/or muscle damage, possible need for physical therapy to regain strength and loss of range of motion, and all that.
I've worked with companies that are trying to drive a paper-based alternative to plastic clamshells, and while there's a modicum of market activity there, none of these packagers has yet to see the take-off they'd like. One of the challenges is that a paper-based package is going to require an adhesive system of some sort that provides the package as a ready-to-seal unit into which the widget-maker can drop his widget, without buying a lot of additional materials and equipment (such as adhesive and an application system).
Want to make a self-sealing cardboard package? You could use a pressure-sensitive adhesive that would stick two flaps of cardboard together when the package is folded shut, but then you've got to have release liner covering the adhesive, or the adhesive film will end up bonded to whatever else it touches and/or pick up dirt and become useless in the shipping and handling portions of its pre-packaging life. (Think of the types of closure you see on a UPS "Red" overnight shipping box or envelope.)
Another option is using a cohesive-type of product, where both sides are coated with an adhesive that sticks to itself but not to much else. These are great, except the bulk of them are made of natural rubber and have a very limited shelf-life before they "deaden" up and simply won't seal any longer. That makes it a definite possibility that your 10,000 purchased packaging units will really only allow you to use 3,000 of them to package your widgets before the packages stop sealing, within literally a month or two after they were created and sold to you.
I'm not saying it can't be done - just that I've been watching the attempts to replace clamshells go on for years, and I've had a front-row seat to watch some of the limitations of the potential replacements.
Plastic clamshell packaging has always been a nightmare from an end-consumer's perspective, and yes, there's lip-service paid to changing things in the words of major retailers and consumer goods distributors, but it's not likely to change because of "wrap rage." Clamshell packaging is adored by the retail industry for a handful of reasons:
A.) Product visibility: transparent plastic packaging that hugs the product, displays it prominently, and can showcase it visibly with flashy liners and inserts is just loved by marketing departments. Using corrugated boxes, trays, or cartons just isn't sexy if you're pushing a mostly-commoditized consumer good.
B.) Tamper evidence and loss prevention: opening boxes is easy. Opening a clamshell is difficult and noticeable, particularly if you're an unscrupulous retail employee trying to get the widget out of the package and into your pockets without the embedded loss-prevention device (RFID, etc.) coming with it.
C.) Cost of packaging: getting something into paper or corrugated boxes and cartons is a slow and expensive process, in terms of unit throughput, materials, and equipment/process complexity. Mechanical fastening (staples, etc.) is slow, adhesive application systems aren't cheap and aren't much faster, and self-seal packaging comes with a host of other issues that contribute to waste and cost. By comparison, a clamshell packaging process can be quick, with a minimum of material and significantly less scrap.
Until boxes are cheaper and faster - until the cost per unit in time, money, materials, and processing is lower using paper packaging than clamshells - those nasty, finger-slicing hunks of PVC, PET, and polycarbonate aren't going anywhere.
If I can't make money off of the music I create, it will continue to be made only in the spare time I have. I will produce it slowly and sparingly.
For a non-musician example, I'll hold up Pete Abrams, creator and author of "Sluggy Freelance". (I have to imagine plenty of people here are familiar with his work.) Faced with the challenge of supporting himself and his young family several years ago while still trying to do the work he loved (and that was in quite a bit of demand from his fans), Pete mustered up a patronage-style program along with a renewed marketing effort on his merchandise. He made it quite plain that if things didn't change with the money coming in from "Sluggy," he wouldn't be able to keep it up as his primary occupation - meaning the fans would have to deal with significantly less output or possibly the folding of the entire effort.
The fanbase responded accordingly - many of them, faced with the extinction of something that was of value to them (a creative work they enjoyed), decided to pay more than the "minimum market value" by "subscribing" to his "Defenders of the Nifty" group, often giving more than the minimum requested donation. Many others went on merchandise purchasing sprees, and picked up lots of stuffed toys, books, and t-shirts.
In the vast and nebulous world of entertainment delivered via tubes of ones and zeroes, I believe the bulk of people are likely to keep consuming for free or for the occasional minimum purchase price. For the career independent artist (in just about any medium) to succeed in the future, though, there will have to be a class of patron-level fans who make more than an iTunes track purchase now and then - people who recognize that if they want their favorite artists to keep making art, those artists are going to need support.
That's why states have things called Use Tax, which is to cover things like mail-order and online. You are supposed to claim those purchases on your income tax forms at the state level, and then pay the appropriate tax. No one does it though, and that's why states are trying to find ways to get their lost revenue.
See, there's a part of that statement - assuming it's true, and I have no reason to doubt it - regarding people failing to pay use taxes that makes no sense to me. I suppose if one strongly disagrees with the tax for specific reasons, perhaps they view non-payment as their form of protest. I think the bulk of people who fail to pay use tax, though, are simply engaged in a combination of intellectual laziness and plain ol' selfish dishonesty. As I see it, if there's not a philosophical objection to paying that tax, then it should be paid as part of one's fair share for supporting the state's infrastructure and needs.
I pay use tax. I have for years. Initially, I just ball-parked an estimate of how much I'd spent, but with my current tracking and record-keeping I know to the penny what I spent on out-of-state purchases, and even manage to exempt the amount spent on taxes collected in other states (for non-mail-order items). Even if someone isn't as analretentive about their records as I am, it's easy enough to say "I spent about $1000 this year on mail-order goodies, so that's the figure I'll use."
And let's be honest - someone who can afford to spend a thousand bucks a year on mail-order stuff (gifts, clothes, DVDs, books, appliances, hardware, etc.) can afford the fifty or one-hundred in taxes that a 5-10% use tax rate would indicate they owe.
I find myself curious as to what these (current or prospective) employers do with candidates who, assuming they meet all other criteria for the job, don't have social media accounts? That's one I haven't seen addressed in the various articles that have discussed this topic in recent weeks.
Since everyone's going to chime in with their perspective from experience, I'll add mine. I've had several managers in the course of my career, at multiple companies and on both sides of the gender fence. I've also needed different levels and styles of management at different points in my career, and have experienced both "good" and "bad" bosses along the way.
Early on, when I was more likely to need guidance and suggestions (in learning time management and prioritization, communications skills, etc.), I found much better and more involved management from the women than the men. The women were more likely to take the time to observe and try to understand where the deficiencies were, and to advise me in a non-confrontational way about how to proceed and what to learn from the situation.
As I grew in my abilities and my confidence, though, I was more likely to run into conflicts and differences with some of those same women managers. Communication was less direct than it needed to be, personality differences became more of an issue than they were with male managers, and occasionally, problems would escalate to a passive-aggressive undermining. Conversely, men in management seemed more likely to recognize and acknowledge my increasing competence, and when corrective communication was needed it was short, direct, and efficient.
Don't underestimate the effect of corporate culture, though, on management styles - my opinion is that bad management is caused by culture as much as culture is an effect of bad management. I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg thing, in that regard, but there's definitely an influence at play.
In the years since I've entered management, I've swapped back and forth between two upper managers (depending upon company re-orgs), both of whom have decided that the best way to manage me is to leave me the hell alone. My current boss has told me that, as far as he's concerned, my department is a black box - resources go in, profit comes out, it all runs seamlessly and quietly, and that's all he needs to know.
I always hear "wake up Sheeple!"
Sorry, couldn't resist...
That's not always the way it works, though. The following is a bit off-topic, and mirrors something I've said before in some older discussion that I don't care to find at the moment.
I work for a semi-large (>$1B annual sales) specialty chemical and polymer company. We have a dedicated group of people whose jobs revolve specifically around maintaining compliance with the various standards from OSHA, EPA, FDA, etc. They keep us meeting our customers' needs and expectations, in addition to keeping us safe, clean, and in compliance with all the appropriate laws and regulations.
In our specific industry, there are a small handful of global companies of similar size, and tons of smaller, regional companies (usually privately owned) who are two or three orders of magnitude smaller than the big boys. These companies don't have teams of people devoted to regulatory compliance - often, they don't even have one dedicated person. Likewise, our customers come in all kinds of sizes. Paralleling our industry, each specific market usually has a few big boys and countless smaller players.
With these small companies - on both sides of supply - there's a significant amount of (sometimes willful) ignorance of the law. Neither the supplier or the customer may be aware, for example, that they're not supposed to be using various chlorinated solvents to improve the performance of the material, which enables them to use cheaper, lower-performance polymers to make, say, packaging coatings or adhesives. We know that we're not allowed to do such things, and that puts us at a cost disadvantage. If we were to do what they do, we'd get slapped down hard because not only are we a big, juicy-looking target for the fairly-rare regulatory review, but since we knew better it becomes a willful violation, which usually bumps the fines up by a factor of ten or more.
The little fish can plead ignorance, if they even get reviewed, which in my anecdotal experience I've not ever seen happen.
On the topic at hand, I believe laws should be publicly available for review. I just wanted to comment on how regulatory structures don't always serve to keep the little guy out - often, they're simply more binding on the big guys.
Did they never mature past a high school emotional age?
Sadly, my experience makes me believe that the vast bulk of physical adults in the US never matured past the emotional age of 12-15. The more I see of their "social" interactions, decision-making skills, and general irrational behavior, the more cemented this belief becomes.
Everything now is a bloated smartphone with poor reception and even poorer battery life
Assuming you can stomach being limited to AT&T and T-Mobile for your service providers, there's always the option of buying unlocked GSM phones from the slightly-more-expansive global marketplace, and dropping a SIM card into one of these. It definitely opens up a lot more choices of phones and features, at a wide range of fairly acceptable prices. The disadvantage - with AT&T at least - is that you don't get a cheaper rate for not having a contract with the "free" phone subsidy charge built in there.
I'm older and hand held phones don't come in the large print edition.
Someone else chimed in with one example, so I'll chime in with another - we picked up Just5's J509 for my in-laws, and they've been very happy with it. Easy to use, easy to see and read, and all the other seniors on the Branson bus trips admire it when it comes out of the purse for use. It's an unlocked GSM, so your only stateside options are really AT&T or T-Mobile, though.
One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.