Category Archives: Consumer, Corporations, Profits

Where Failure Ends and Success Begins

Someone, who someone else felt was wise enough to quote, said ,”You only truly fail in life when you stop trying”. I mean that’s not rocket science, so I’ll go with that.

So much that throughout my sojourn in prison, as I continuously try to go against the grain and create a masterpiece out of dust, I’ve adopted this quote as one of my life’s mottos. I mean why not. Corporations have mission statements and mottos, think Google’s, “Do know evil.” And human beings need them to, at least I think so. I also like this quote because in my book inactivity is death. I mean dang, do something even if that something doesn’t work at least you tried.

With this in mind I recently had the chance recollect on some of things that I have tried to make happen over the years but didn’t succeed at. At the time I counted them as failures but today I’m not so sure .

What got me to thinking about this was that the prison where I

am recently had its annual shakedown. For those not in the know, all

prisons in Texas have periodic shakedowns where the COs search inmates personal property for contraband and other prohibited items. How it usually works is that we are confined to our cells from seven to fourteen days and required to pack all of our property in nylon commissary bags and then take it to a designated area where several officers search it, piece by piece. I am pretty sure it goes without saying that it’s a rather dehumanizing process to have all of your personal items, pictures, letters from family, friends, books etc. searched through by a stranger who then decides what you can and can’t have .

Unfortunately it’s one of the indignities that you learn to live with, as being in prison can often be described as the forced endurance of one series of degradations after another.

For me I use the days leading up to the shakedown when we are confined to our cells to go through all my things myself and see what I really need and what I can live without.

In the process of doing so I came across three projects I had worked on in the past that I wasn’t able to do with what I initially set out to. The first was a cell phone wrist watch that I designed and actually tried to write my own patent on. While still in the patent pending stage, I submitted my invention idea to a few companies including Motorola and LG communication and collected a folder full of fancy rejection letters written on 100% cotton paper. And not long after that, the US patent office hit me with my first office action which unfortunately I didn’t have the technical knowledge to overcome and ended up abandoning my application.

Yet now that the Thomas Edison bug has bit me I feel like I got a few more better mouse traps up my sleeve and I am just waiting on the right opportunity. Plus I learned three crucial things about inventions and patents in the process 1. You need to do a exhaustive prior art patent search before filing. 2. Make sure your patent application is airtight with adequate claims. 3. A working prototype works a hundred times better than a pretty picture.

Now don’t get me wrong, this was pretty expensive knowledge considering the filing fee and research time. But when I invent the next I-Phone, it will be well worth it.

Besides this particular incident with inventing there was the time back in 2002 when I was watching a Nike commercial and thought, “Dang, I can come up with something better than that.” That thought prompted me to write the “No Limit Commercial”, which I copyrighted and submitted to Nike’s co-founder and billionaire Phil Knight. Nike told me I had to get with their advertising agency who really didn’t like the ideal of little old me poaching on their turf by suggesting ideas to their number one client. But like they say, it’s haters everywhere in the corporate suites.

Not easily deterred, lightening struck a third time when I designed a pair of tennis that I felt would fit well with either Tommy Hilfiger or Phat Farms casual clothing lines. But the fish weren’t biting.

Still each failure left a small seed of success. Seeds that I’ve been able to replant and try again with. While the validation of having come up with a great product would’ve been nice, not to mention the monetary payoff cause you already know a brother gifted but broke.

Damn, don’t that sound like a T-shirt logo? But on the cool I feel like these still births are paving stones on the road to success. And that the ability to make love to your intellect and birth your ideas is a reward within itself.

No Limit Commercial

Tennis Nike

WatchWatch 2Phone

119,000,000 Dollars For That?

Call me unrefined, crude, even barbaric, if you will. I can take it, because I’ve no doubt been called worse. Whatever the case may be, I couldn’t help but shake my head and continue shaking it when I read that Norwegian artist Edvard Munch 1895 ‘The Scream’ went up for sale at high-end auction house Sotheby’s on May 2, and sold for a record 119,000,000 million dollars.

The picture or some version of it has been reproduced in one form or another by everyone from Macaulay Culkin, Homer Simpson, Andy Warhol to Wes Craven in his horror films of the same name. If for some reason you’ve missed it, please refer to the four original versions below.

Allright, now that you’ve seen it, can you or anyone else please tell me why anybody in their right mind would pay any millions for it, let alone 119 million? Because I am obviously missing something here.

For those of us who need a refresher of exactly how much money a 119,000,000 million dollars is, or what you can buy with it, here’s a primer.

 

$50, 000 for 4 years of college at a public university

$150, 000 for 4 years of college at a private university

You could pay for 2,380 degrees at a public university, or 714 at a private such as Harvard or Yale.

You could buy 6 Gulfstream 8 passenger jets for 20 mill a piece

119 3-bedroom loft apartments at 1 million a pop

238 5,500 square feet homes in Houston for $500,000 each

 

1 393-unit multi-family luxury apartment complex for 73 million

Or you could just buy Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. Maybe being a product of the inner city where the closest most people get to any type of art is a cheap framed poster from Wal-Mart. I just don’t get it. But this seems like a no-brainer to me.

Other Outrageously Prices Art on The Market:

Author’s Note: For the record, if you’re reading this and you happen to be one of those rich tycoons with more money than you know what to do with and you decide to buy one of these pictures , excuse me, masterpieces. I feel it’s only fair that for making you aware of these ‘great works’, I receive a small commission off the sales price – how about 10 percent and we’ll call it even.

Sources: Wall Street Journal and Getty Images

 

WHO HAS THE POWER, THE CORPORATION OR THE CONSUMER?

Apple Computer recently became the most valuable company in the world with a record valuation of over 500 billion dollars. Apple’s success has been fueled by the release in the last few years of their popular innovative consumer electronic products 4M beginning with the I-Pod advancing with the I-Phone and cumulating with the recent release of the I-Pad that have all caught on like wildfire.

On the days their new products are released, Apple has adopted a callous business model, modeled on that of sneaker giant Nike’s which is the practice of only supplying each of their stores with a limited amount of inventory, at least initially. Be it I-Phones or the more recent I-Pads.

As a result those wishing to get these new technology marvels first have to show up 24 to 48 hours in advance and stand in line with a couple hundred other eager buyers. PEOPLE, THIS IS RIDICULOUS. NO ONE, I REPEAT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE FOR 24 HOURS OR MORE TO SPEND THEIR OWN HARD EARNED CASH.

I don’t care how great the product is, or how much we may want it when we as consumers do that we empower companies like Apple and Nike to treat us any way they chose to with the only consideration being their bottom lines, when it is us, the consumers, who have the power and not the corporations. As rich as Apple is, if consumers suddenly stop buying their products, you would see a tremendous change in their attitudes.

And if Apple is bad in the way it treats consumers with its new releases, then Nike, the world’s largest shoe company, is an even worse offender. Nike the Portland, Ore. shoe giant founded by Phil Knight and his former track coach, has a practice of only releasing a limited number of their most popular new shoes to certain stores around the country that dates back several years.

If you’ve ever watched the Home Shopping Club when they stress that there is only a certain amount of time left to get the great deal you are looking at before it’s gone, then you understand this strategy.

While these limited releases may create a huge marketing buzz for the company, they are counter-productive for the consumer.

A recent release of the Air Jordan II Retro Concords provides a good example. When these $180 tennis, which were nothing more than a rerelease of an older model that had been on the market eleven years earlier, were released earlier this year, Nike used their limited distribution model and only provided each retailer with a certain number of shoes, which was usually under a hundred pair per store and sometimes even less than that.

As a result of this manufactured scarcity, crowds began lining up at some malls as early as midnight and grew in many areas to include more than a thousand people trying to get their hands on these coveted tennis. Predictably chaos ensued.

At Westfield South center mall in Seattle, police used pepper spray on 20 customers who got into a fight while waiting in line to buy the tennis.

Customers trying to get the shoes in Richmond, Calif. were turned away after somebody started shooting.

Another 100 customers trying to be sure they got a pair before they sold out forced their way into a mall in Taylor, Mich.

20 police cars responded and four people were arrested after they broke down a door to a shoe store selling the shoes in Lithonia, GA.

Crowds shoved and pushed in Norther, California to get the shoes and two men got arrested.

Do you think Nike cared about the chaos their limited release strategy caused, or the people who got assaulted and arrested while trying to purchase their product? Of course not.

How do I know they didn’t? A month later, Nike released the $220 Foamposite Galaxy basketball shoe in the same way and the drama began all over again. At one store a House of Hoops by Foot Locker in Cambridge, Mass., the store received only 12 pairs. Sam Poser, an analyst that covers the shoe industry said, “they keep them very limited; they keep them very hot that way.”

Come on, people, this is absurd. The company advertises a new release extensively on social media and with celebrity product endorsements and then send a store only 12 pair. Who does Nike or Apple or any of the other large multinational corporations think they are, that they can just treat consumers this way? It’s time for people to start expressing their displeasure with their hard-earned cash by saying we’re not going to tolerate this nonsense any longer. STOCK THE I-PHONES, I-PODS, SHOES ETC. IN ADEQUATE NUMBERS IN MULTIPLE STORES AND ONLINE OR WE WON’T BUY THEM. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

Because contrary to what many people may believe, it’s the consumer who has the power and not the corporations.

 The people who push and shove to spend their hard earned money to make Phil Knight and Jordan richer.