Sales, Smarts and Scale (SSS), Episode 1point5

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Probably it's not possible to sell math related consulting services or language courses to apes in the jungle. The apes just do not feel that they need that, even if they had something to pay with. Penguins could use some hunting harpoons to defend themselves against Orca whales and other predators, but they probably do not feel the need for that either. They are perfectly content with what they've got.

When it comes to sales, then actually the penguins can have a lot of "money". They can catch fish and sell those. Humans also love to eat fish. Fish that is caught by a penguin, without killing "unneeded fish", is probably a very competitive offer, specially if handed over to humans while alive or freshly caught. Bill marks on the side of a fish is probably not that big of an issue and can be seen as a trademark stamp, like the little stickers that are sometimes placed on bananas and oranges. Different penguins have slightly different bills, so they automatically stamp their trade mark on the fish that they sell. :-D

The same with apes in the jungle. They can gather all sorts of interesting stuff. They can nourish their environment to facilitate the growing of the plants that they gather, and so on and so forth, BUT, they do not do that. Why should they, if they're content with what they've got? Personally, I do not think that that kind of behavior amounts to smarts, an ability to achieve the same result with less resources. I think that apes in the jungle are just plain dumb, just like many software developers are, if they say that they just do not need color pencils for drawing drafts or software analyses and test automation software for speeding up their work. Dumb people do not need that many tools, because they are authentically content with what they've got, which from sales point of view means that they do not feel any urge to pay for advanced tools, because they just feel that they do not need them!! Sales-wise, penguins can offer attractive goods, fish, to Einstein, because Einstein loves fish, but Einstein has nothing to offer to the penguins to pay for the fish, because the penguins do not feel that they need any weaponry to defend themselves against various predators, nor do penguins find math related consultancy useful. The moral: in stead of complaining that there is no market for advanced, complex, products, serious tools, the seller should try to look up people, who are smart enough to need advanced tools.

However, there does seem to be one sales argument that is understandable to dumb people: social interaction. If the possession of tool X is a ticket to a party, then the tool X is bought regardless of the fact, whether the owner of the tool X is smart enough to use it. Examples include business men, who do not know, how to take advantage of their brand new, latest and greatest, laptop/software. Facebook account, twitter account, mail client, some complex software for creating documents in a format that others use, can also be the ticket to the party. What regards to the idea that communication is something that gives humans some serious advantage over other species and that the natural selection has preferred social activeness over focus on hard work, then by that standard the Africa, where people do nothing but communicate, have a splendid sex life and very active family life, should be far better off than northern countries like Finland. In Finland people do not tend to be very lively communicators, but things tend to WORK OUT. Finnish people do not accept shoddy goods and services and it is a firm requirement BY CULTURE to keep promises, not just a way to be nice. (Estonia differs from Finland in many respects, sometimes for the better, often for the worse.)

That might also explain the counter-examples, where there is some discussion among a group that there is no tool X, forum Y, wiki W and later, when the IT-poeople have made the tool X, forum Y, wiki W available to the letter of the wishes, the people, who whined about the lack of the X, Y, W, just shut up and ignore the tool, do not use the tool. The tool X, Y, W just sits around, online, live, without practically anybody using it and all of that in a condition, where the requirements for the X, Y, W have not moved forward, i.e. the X, Y, W meets the current technical requirements. In that sense glamor, including the glamor that is related to highly priced diamonds, can be explained through social interaction.

There exists a line of thought that products should be designed and packaged so that it's easy for their buyers to show off with them. Telegram systems, telephone networks, radio, transistors (transistor-radio), all got their money from selling "social interaction". Transistor-radios financed the development of transistors, corporate bureaucracy (social interaction between accountants and senior managers) financed the IBM-s and its competitors. Information systems, customer relation management (CRM) systems, etc. are also all about social interaction. Scientific computing, car/plane engine software, industrial robotics software, factory line software is all financially a tiny minority, a "side effect". There might be even an hypothesis that sales wise women, except scientists and mathematicians and accountants, buy "social interaction" and men, except politicians and general managers, buy "tools for work".

It's kind of sad to say it, but may be in that respect those dumb indicators that list, how many people from some population P1 use internet/mobile_phones/online_banking/etc. actually do show the intellectual advancement of the population, because apes and penguins do not use those tools even, if they have an opportunity to use them. The same with software developers: not all software developers use Vim/Emacs keyboard shortcuts, automated testing, formal verification, etc. Market size for advanced tools is limited by the fact that smart people are always a minority. That in turn means that economies of scale are not an option for producing/designing advanced tools. To keep the production/development costs down, the production/development has to be extremely smart and efficient. The good news is that with a lack of economies of scale, it becomes too expensive to produce advanced products with the huge bureaucratic apparatus of big corporations. The smaller the high-tech business, the more attention must be paid to quality and automation.

Einsteins, who think that they will become extra specialized and then work at some high-tech mega-corporation and try to produce the world's best quality equipment, should keep in mind that by specializing too deeply to their employer's top-notch technology, their employers have a good argument to pay the Einstein a shoddy salary: there just aren't that many places for the Einstein to sell his highly specialized experience, hence the lack of competition and the Einstein is highly encouraged to accept the shoddy salary or quit its high-tech job and re-specialize. That is one of the schemes, how "corporate doctors" get bullied by their managers. First, the "corporate doctors" spend a lot of time at a university, study, get high scientific degrees, and then they will be bullied by some business guy, who earns far more than the "corporate doctors" will ever earn in the company that the business guy/gal runs. People, who find that kind of perspective unappealing, should reconsider their career choices early and avoid mega-corporations.




Summary

Penguins have a product to offer to Einstein, but if the Einstein wants to sell his products, then he must either look for some smarter creatures than the penguins are or sell his advanced products as tickets to social interaction. Products should be optimized for:

  • Maximum technical quality.

  • Maximum amount of automation in the production process.

  • Minimum price.

  • Maximum social interaction facilitation and glamor.

  • ...things that as of 2014_10 I, Martin.Vahi@softf1.com, do not know about, but which might be listed at a subsection of the bitrary.softf1.com.




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From the pharmaceuticals industry.



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