Corporate E-vent Department

February 28, 2011 in rantlets | Comments (0)

There’s a dominant technology company that continues to embarrass itself from the pole position, a position that it’s doing its best to surrender.  This company hasn’t done anything remotely successfully innovative in decades, choosing instead to adopt the suspect “second mover” strategy: take someone else’s idea and then carelessly and fruitlessly burn money attempting to outdo it.  It copied its flagship operating system (from Apple), spreadsheet program (Lotus), search engine (Google), web browser (Netscape), maps software (also Google), videogame system (Sony), gaming motion-control (Nintendo), online portal (AOL) and mp3 player (also Apple).  If it’s not a rip-off, it’s completely uncompetitive (cellphones).  It has terrible advertisements, a terrible reputation and terrible product-naming department.  It drives frustrated consumers into competitors’ arms with constant unending prod      [computer is frozen]   uct updates meant to plug the latest holes in its unstable, swiss cheese, rushed-to-market, hacker paradise of a signature product.  It sits smugly on a mountain of monopoly-generated, mask-its-failures cash, arrogantly opting to build its own hapless also-ran businesses from scratch in every profitable niche instead of buying out future competitors in their infancy for much less money and aggravation.  Even Disney eventually surrendered and just bought Pixar.


In a similar vein, there’s a perennially fourth-place TV network that refuses to take up the mantle traditionally assumed by the last –place finisher: to aerate the dial, swing for the fences, take a risk on something new and innovative because hey, it can’t get much worse for them.  Instead, this former ratings juggernaut and its terribly conventionally-thinking, results-now, shareholder-appeasing corporate overlords decide to nibble at the margin: to hope that the 384th single-word-titled show about lone-wolf cops, sassy medical examiners, brash prosecutors or unlikely superheroes featuring repurposed actors from decades-old hits will break through the considerable clutter that they’re helping to generate and capture the imagination of a pathologically distracted public.  When those “ideas” invariably fail, or rather are impatiently aborted when they don’t catch on immediately, they plug holes in their schedule with lazy rip-offs of other networks’ already-lazy reality shows, Singing on Ice or American Staring Contest.  I’ve never watched most of these shows, but am acutely aware of them because the network force-feeds me with distracting crawls and desperate graphics reminding me what’s coming up next hour and next week, as if sledgehammer marketing alone can turn mediocre straw into ratings gold.  The only show this network has in the Top 25 is football, which is on four months a year and loses money but provides another avenue for cramming ads for its half-baked, infinitely recycled (and occasionally racist) concepts down everyone’s throats.  Thankfully, no matter how much money they waste, the formula for success remains as unchanged as ever: innovation and good writing.  God bless pay cable.

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