Thursday, May 03, 2007

Transitions Post

by Ken Houghton

We're back at Willow Valley, which in the intervening year has moved on to offering free WiFi in all areas. (And now on to Hershey Park, with the same amenity.)

Multiple transitions recently: pretty much everything except marriage/divorce and buying a new house (though we did complete the refi). A few more to come, so posting will be spotty.

But, especially since Tom referenced it, I want to post the beginning of this "lost post":

It's no secret that I disagree with Mark Cuban on the details of IP costing and benefits. (This and $2.00 gets you on the NYC subway, which I take much more often than Mr. Cuban, in part because he has made a lot of money from IP.) But we are completely agreed on the principle: if your content isn't available, no one will pay for it.

It's the reverse of that I want to consider today.

Tom dealt quite well with the absurdity of Cuban's example. Music videos, after all, are charged back to the artist, no less. But the question of how to make content "available" is rather more expansive than Cuban allows.

For instance, the first thing the folks of my hometown (defined as the place from which one graduated high school) were told when Visteon (nee Ford) announced they were closing the plant (to which many of our families were relocated ca. 1966-1968) is that the town is Valuable because of its Workers.

You know, the same Workers who are now out of jobs because Visteon decided they couldn't get enough value from the plant. So all that "available" content remains unused.*

This is hardly a unique situation. Check out any of Save the Rustbelt's posts about Ohio at AngryBear. What is interesting is that the first thing the Consultants do is come in and assure the workers (read: voters) that It's Not Their Fault.

Which is a good message. And, especially in this case, largely True. (The unemployed workers, after all, are not the Ford executives whose CF strategy put the company in its current situation.)

More later.

*Update: Apparently, there is now a plan for an ethanol processing plant. Considering the cost, in both senses, of using ethanol as fuel (as Tom has documented), this will allow the workers to Demonstrate their Value only if one double-counts the government subsidy. So much for Proud and Independent.

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