Entrenched Player’s Dilemma
Some background… The line was uttered in a description of David Sarnoff, who was the president of RCA/NBC. At first, Sarnoff wanted the airwaves to be free of advertising and profit primarily from the sale of radios. After the company suffered because of the Great Depression, Sarnoff was forced to put ads on the airwaves and his company grew tremendously as a result.
Anyway, the line is this: “Once you’re good at connecting consumers with advertisers, it’s hard to be good at anything else.”–Get Excited
Ricky, it’s called the Entrenched Player’s Dilemma.
Wikinomics had a fairly good description:
“The problem with mature companies is that the very commercial success of their products increases their dependency on them. Making radical changes in the product’s capabilities, underlying architecture or associated business models could cannibalize sales or lead to costly realignments of strategy and business infrastructure. It’s as though popular and widely adopted products become ossified, hardened by the inherent incentives to build on their own success. The result is that entrenched industry players are generally not motivated to develop or deploy disruptive technologies.”
I know you know Tucker but we haven’t met. The stunt you guys pulled during your SXSW panel was the only time I laughed the entire conference besides from sadness and despair.
I apologize for this comment/question being unrelated to your post, but here goes:
I have been reading recently-published the biography of Einstein by Isaacson. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. While reading, I am reminded of the explosion of thought and ‘rule-breaking’ ideas that proliferated around the turn of the century and into the early 19th century. Science, art and literature were vastly changed by the great minds that worked during this period. More interestingly, the developments were deeply humanistic. Einstein especially felt all scientific pursuit should work towards the end of improving humanity as a whole.
These amazing intellectual advances get me thinking aboiut our time. You’ve posted recently on Dr Drew’s conception of our time (call it what, post-modernity, post-post-modernity?) being deeply self-centered, materialistic and shallow. Where then, are all the great minds? Are they also working toward these narcissistic ends? If Bill Gates or the Google guys had been born a hundred years ago, what would their contributions have looked like?
I wonder when or if society will trend back towards the sort of benevolent humanism espoused by Einstein and his ilk. It seems as though there are many bloggers and other fringe celebrities who want to redirect our energy, but do you think this alone is effective? Or is the machine just too broken? Politics and mainstream media too corrupt to effect change?
It makes me think of the Roman empire. Besides some great political minds, they produced very little. All great scientific, philosophical and artistic development stopped with the Greeks and lay dormant until the Renaissance. Is the US a latter-day Rome? I know I’ve heard that comparison before, most humorously by Eddie Izzard, and now I seriously wonder whether it has merit. After all, wasn’t Rome a profoundly consumptive society, like ours?
Sorry for the long ramble. Hope this sparks some interesting discussion.
Hijacked! Feel free to delete this if you want to keep the discussion on the topic of your post.
Drew, I assume when you said 19th century you meant 1900s/20th century? I haven’t read Isaacson’s biography, but it might help clarify what exactly you’re talking about if you cited some specific examples to illustrate the theme you’re alluding to.
Either way, I’d hesitate to revere the ‘benevolent humanism’ of the 19th or early 20th centuries as anything more than a self-justifying ideology, little more than honeyed words and an affectation of sensibility. In other words, if that was the climax of our epoch and we’re living in the decrescendo … I’m not impressed. (See: Colonialism, Fascism, Holocaust, De-Colonization, etc.)
Thanks for the response, and of course you are right; I meant the turn of the 19th/20th century.
The only example I can think of from the Einstein book was the man himself, who cared little for profit, and who felt all great intellectual pursuit should benefit humanity as a whole, which to my mind echoed the ancient humanist (greek) tradition.
Einstein abhored the fascism he saw develop, and found American materialism repugnant. Of course, he was a wolly-haired egghead, and probably more than a bit idealistic.
A distilled version of my question is: can social and scientific development be divorced from strictly capitalistic motives? Maybe they never really have been, but it just struck me that Einstein stated a need for it.
Sorry for the very delayed response – my computer died and I’m writing this from my phone.
NO advances are EVER purely humanistic. No behavior is ever purely altruistic. Everything is done for self-advancement, whether the person knows it or not. Altruism is merely mutilated self-interest. The only reason why discoveries and advancements of modern times seem so self-serving is because we see more of the discoverers and of each other due to technological advances. The only reason for romanticization of motivations for pursuits in the past is that history is shrouded in a fog of distance and controversy as to how best to dispel that fog that prohibits us from assessing it as it really was.