Sunday, February 28, 2016

Capitalisms Biggest Corruption?


More than a decade or so ago I was so angered by a news item that I had to write an essay about it. It was, in fact, one of the things that motivated me to put up the original Old Softy Concerns web site. The article dealt with the amount of money that one of the manufacturers of shaving blades spent to come up with a new shaving product (an obscene number). And the earth shattering result of this effort was to simply put more blades into a single razor. Can I have a hallelujah for creativity!

I thought of that article when I saw this latest coverage of an industry show off event. What resonated around that article also comes to mind when one considers the even more obscene amounts spent to sell us on one or another political candidate. And that idea is simply this: Is Capitalism's greatest corruption done within the way it guides human endeavor and effort?

In my view you are not really paying attention unless you are forced to ponder just how out of whack our priorities are when we spend so much on ever more overly featured mobile devices. All of which is done primarily to make one example of such a device more desirable than everyone else's.

I have a special sensitivity to this area of "innovation" as I also had the opportunity to see how it"works" from the inside with one of the players in the game. My last gig as a developer was the year and three months I spent with a big name in the creation of such things. This big name had a mobile group busily engaged in spending huge sums of money to try and get their own version of the hot new device. They were setting up a significant testing lab for the iterations of their design ideas and needed not only a test data base, but the automation software to collect that data, and further software to distribute the dynamic reporting of same. I was given a blank server box, shown the testing equipment, and a reporting template, and instructed to make it happen; which I did. The process along the way, however, clearly indicated to me why they were "innovation" challenged in the first place. And on that lets just say there were, again in my opinion, management, and design coordination issues to make any investor just shit his or her pants.

The point, though, is that even after great sums were spent internally they ended up buying another company already established in such things. And even though they may be making more progress now on this front you still have to ask the question: Why are we wasting this much material capability, as well as human creativity, just to make a geegaw with more bells and whistles? So called smart devices that may well end up either leaving the planet in disgust at what we've done with it, or who will decide that putting us out of our misery is the more human solution for all concerned.

And this is but one industry where we waste the human mind, and so much of the wonder around us, just to gain market share in markets where fewer and fewer of us can afford to purchase in in any case. If that is not a pure demonstration of madness than I clearly do not know what madness is anymore.

There is nothing worth while to believe in any more precisely because we've become so enamoured of meaningless process; great rivers of human effort washing up on the rocks of banality, vanity, and empty promises. What a waste. What a heart rendering waste when so much else goes unanswered or unattended to. Shame on us. Shame on all of us.

Phone Makers Aim to Out-Innovate Each Other at Mobile World Congress