lunes, 17 de junio de 2013

Speak with your wallet

I've seen this phrase a lot lately, talking about video games mainly but I think I remember having read it from somewhere else. Anyway, the thing is that some people seem to think that just by not buying a particular item they're telling the brand "You weren't good enough". While this Darwinism has some logic, and I'm a huge fan of Darwinism, I don't think it's good enough. For one thing, just like evolution, this economical-Darwinism doesn't know why something fails neither why something success.
Let's take dogs. There are a lot of dog breeds and they have survived this long because of something. The thing about evolution is that you have several million instances of a species, each instance with a particular set of traits. Some of them live enough to reproduce and then dice are rolled and their offspring is formed by several instances of the "super-set of traits" (the set of all possible combinations of traits), merged from the parents' traits. The idea (and it works fairly well in the long run) is that, when the combination is worse, won't breed, and when it's better, it will, thus avoiding bad traits. And evolution does what it can with the information it has. It's kind of blind. Yeah, sure the Chihuahua has survived for at least three hundred years, but why? It seems it's just because people want to care for them (that'd make them victims of humans addiction to cuteness or something)

As for economical Darwinism should we really wait for chance to improve the products we're offered? If you want to paint your house and don't like the paint in the bucket do you ask for another one or you paint and say "I'm not paying because I don't like the result, try again"

Of course it's more difficult to say things to companies, studios and such (and such comments should be taken as what they are, more on this in a moment) but to talk with your wallet isn't the best you can do, but the least. I bet the more successful companies nowadays have a team of people searching the internet for the company, trying to find what it's been told about them and about their products, and taking that into account when designing new products and new advertisement. How many times you're annoyed when you can't find a "Contact us" in a website? or an address and telephone number in a product's label?

As for the value of such opinions, the thing is it's not as if they're gonna be fully trustful. Let's take movies. Count how many times you have spoken ill from one movie and good from another. Are those figures balanced? Is it more usual to hear "don't waste your time seeing X" or "You've got to see Y, it's a wonderful movie". Take cars, video games, magazines, books... If 80% of the opinions on the kind of product X are bad, but it's only 60% on your own product, you're doing well.
Another idea about who comment: those who have the time. Those who are comfortable with internet. Those who care. How that relates to your target public?
Another thing to look for is for traits shared for all successful products and shared for non-successful ones. Why so many games feature a multiplayer mode bigger than the solo campaign? Is it just because there's more connected people or is it because they wanted to? Too many times I've heard a certain kind of people defend that we buy anything they put before us, but do we? really? Or do we choose the better we can among those we want?

Of course to speak with your wallet is the definite argument, but it shouldn't be the only one and, above all, it shouldn't be considered the best one.

What do you think?
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