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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

Nerds and Newbies

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

Nerds and Newbies

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run the fuck away
I've seen this before, but... well- Why Nerds are Unpopular is a smegging fantastic essay that should be required reading in elementary and middle schools the world over. I think he pretty well hit every nail on the head, at least from what I remember of high school. Though I at least had slightly better teachers than average.

Another essay I picked up on was that Newbies design online games- because they dictate the profitablility of the game. Funny thing is, that this applies just as well to any project that tries to attract clients- be it supermarkets, walmarts, or even politics- we're trapped in always appealing to the least among us. He ends his essay with a little hope- but looking at the world outside of the gaming market, out into that sprawling suburban chaos that is Walmart, you have to wonder if people really are going to start wanting a higher quality product with craft and variety in it, or the same cheap crap.

Now, I'm going to segue here. Walmart and other such super-centers take a beating among the itelligista. Let me explain why I think this, as oppossed to parrotting the "WALMART SUCKS" line that seems so eternally popular among the whiney liberals.

Walmart wins on price. Walmart even does passably well on quality- I'm not buying utter crap when I shop at Walmart. But what I am buying is pretty unremarkable. Event Walmart++ (Target), which sells nicer, more trendy things, is pushing out cookie cutter stuff. Now, there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The problem is this- because these megalomarts drop in and can undersell everyone, those of us that would be willing to pay more for something more unique, or perhaps locally produced, find it difficult to find a venue to do such. And because it's difficult, the prices rise, because of a glut in supply and a drop in demand- producers create an artificial scarcity because of such low demand, which ends up meaning that I have to pay more to get what I want because of Walmart.

I think that was coherent. And it certainly wasn't written in .NET. I take my first exam at 1400 today, so that should be fun. The exam is slated to take three hours, but in practice it takes about half an hour.
  • That essay on nerds was well said. I am going to show that one to my kid (who's encountering this IRL in middle school). Thanks!
  • I love your paragraph on Walmart and Target. Very coherent.

    Megamarts are like bunnies in Australia or purple loostrife in New York's wetlands - they aren't evil in and of themselves. They can actually be kind of nice. But they don't just fill their own valuable niche. They drive out other, less hardy and pervasive "species" and reduce biodiversity. It makes gradual, non traumatic change less feasible. It deals mediocrity to the mode, but the outliers are fucked. (ie me trying to find food without nitrates/ites, sulfates/ites, glutamates...)
    • Well put, both of you. =)

      Whether it's justified or not, I worry about the effect those chains have on smaller startups- i.e., entrepreneurs. Small business still makes up a huge percentage of our economy, but as places like Wal-Mart branch out and try to be everything to everyone, more and more niches of small business are threatened. And they don't have near the bargaining power Wal-Mart has, so they can't get those same ridiculously cheap purchasing contracts, so they have to make their prices higher, etc. Sad, because it makes it harder to pull off being your own boss.

      Another interesting thought: I wonder just how much more Wal-Mart can/will branch out into diverse lines of business before it really starts to hurt them. Pharmacies, automotive services, retail, etc.- those are all industries that operate by vastly different rules. I don't think Wal-Mart can realistically know how to play all those different games effectively.
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