Tuesday, November 07, 2006

RIAA Terrorists!

A terrorist doesn't exist to kill people or destroy property. They may not be concerned with the death and destruction they cause, but these, to a terrorist, are merely collateral. If they target specific people or properties, we can easily call them assasins or arsonists.

A terrorist lives to keep others in fear.

The 9/11 terrorists didn't care one way or another about the lives they took, families they ruined, or buildings and planes they destroyed. They cared that they believed that they had been wronged. And they cared that Americans would live from then on with the fear that death and destruction could happen to them at any time.

The RIAA and MPAA aren't killing anybody. But they are making a significant percentage of the population live in fear, simply because these people are listening to songs or watching movies.

These lobbying organizations have gamed the system. They have, through acts like the DMCA, distorted the intent of the framers of the US Constitution regarding Copyright. Copyright infringment is a federal offense, but the RIAA has not been able to show cause for the federal government to take a single person to task for trading a file on the internet.

Those of us who derive revenue from intellectual property want to continue to derive revenue - show us the money. The recent history of the music and movie industries has been to deprive the creative sources that provide the actual work of proper compensation, all the while directing revenue up up up the food chain, making these industries more and more dependent on blockbuster hits and less able to support the broad creative impluse that feeds this commerce.

The consumer has grown up seeing that music and movies are seemingly free - radio and TV, for example, have provided entertainment at only the cost of the hardware to receive and display it and at the cost of increased consumer-good prices. Most people don't understand this any more than they understand the fine points of intellectual property law or performance rights society royalty distribution, they just know the stuff keeps flowing toward them.

The entertainment industry, instead of understanding and embracing the opportunites presented by new technology, has run from the internet like their ancestors ran from the giant beast that was eating the sun, which we now calmly understand is simply an eclipse.

The entertainment industry, much like our current administration in Washington, has forgotten, rejected or ignored the simple use of law enforcement to stop crimes against their industry. Instead, they rely on civil suits and a massive PR machine (lawyers and marketers paid-for by you and me by ever-increasing entertainment-product costs) to terrorize people into supporting the current regime, a culture of greed that is a top-heavy and failed business model. A certain percentage of the population will be cowed into obeying. A few executives will be able to afford a nicer car for their spoiled kid or a longer fall vacation on a warm sea, but our culture will suffer.

These industries are releasing fewer and fewer works, yet more and more works are being created. As they release fewer works, they complain that they are not selling as much as they used to! Incredible on their part, but probably not incredible that some people will fall for it.

Instead of fear, RIAA, why not let your member companies sell music?

Vote today!


If you don't vote, you can't complain!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bush Signs Military Trial Law As 'Vital Tool' Against Terrorism - Preview

Bush Signs Military Trial Law As 'Vital Tool' Against Terrorism - Preview

Way to go!

For every detainee treated in this fashion, we make ten more terrorists dedicated to destroying America.

For every detainee treated in this fashion, we will have ten of our own soldiers treated in this fashion.

This bill is just plain evil, handing down terror to our children and their children.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

If Illegal Downloading Ended Today, Would the Record Biz Still Be In Trouble?

Yes, the biz would still be in trouble.

(As Bob Lefsetz says every other day) When Napster was at its peak, so was the music industry.

After this peak, the music industry cut their artist rosters by 20% or more and release 20% fewer titles per year than during their peak. More indie titles are being released, but the good filter that used to exist in the music industry is gone, and the indie titles don't have appropriate marketing muscle to be brought to the next level of sales.

They seemingly target those within their organization with any knowledge of music. I agree that the quality of releases has rapidly deteriorated. The live concert business shows what music can sell, and the record industry hasn't responded.

The music industry sues its best customers! Their own intelligence tells them that (and this has been true since the days of cassette taping) the people who buy the most blank media and download the most (traded or paid-for) buy the most music. You may use apocryphal stories of your nephew in college to deny this, but the record companies know this.

Yes, people do buy what they can get for free! Air, water, dirt, bibles...arguments that a marketer can not compete against free are wrong, and self-hating.

Slowly, the technology, availability, and pricing structure for music downloads is righting itself. With the introduction of the CD, we basically killed the singles market that generated the album market, but downloads are the cornerstone of a new singles market. Terrestrial radio has gone back to limited playlists of the golden era of '60s Top 40 radio (tight playlists didn't spontaneously germinate in the '00s), but with the Internet, satellite radio, etc., we have more opportunity than ever to hear new music - it's just a media and a market in transition.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day, a Day Late, Still Relevant

This is for my dad.

He grew up in the midwest during the Great Depression, to factory-worker parents. He joined the US Navy at the tail-end of WWII, training in the Pacific Northwest and being shipped-out to Guam to support the training for the invasion of Tokyo (as mindful as we all need to be about the use of nuclear weapons, I'm glad that invasion never happened). After the war, he trained in Electronics at the Great Lakes school under the GI Bill, got a job near his parents, met my mom and got married, and worked for Ma Bell for forty years until his retirement.

All the while, he was a member of the Communications Workers of America. He was able to afford a small house in a decent neighborhood in a small Indiana city. We never wanted for food or shelter. We took occasional driving vacations. We saw our dad home for dinner most every night. We had free phone service! The local family doctor took care of our needs - we could afford him, and medical insurance covered the big things.

Now, at 78, he has had a stroke. He has lost some mobility because his hearing and sight have been impaired, but he is still all there. He is past his time for vacations, but he is home for evey meal. He has a $30 copay for medical care, but the big things are still taken care of by the same medical insurance he has always had. He still gets a discount on phone service! He retired with a modest lump-sum pension, which is largely intact after 20 years (after appreciating greatly during the '90s).

My mom survives by taking care of him and putting up with him - I'm not sure of the ratio here. She worked out of the home when I and my brother got to high school, not because she had to but because she liked the work and the extra money, and she continued to work until a few years ago.

This is a world I don't really know. Despite my dedication and perseverence, I haven't known stability from my employers. My medical insurance gets stinkier and stinkier with each year, and (I don't blame them) my current employer may drop this. I haven't received a Cost of Living raise since I started this job, despite successful performance. I can't afford to buy the cheapest home in the city where I live (granted, it's a pretty expensive city). With two teenage boys, I can see that I won't be able to afford to pay directly for their college educations.

We are in the midst of a vast social experiment. Most families need two working parents to have the income, adjusted for inflation, that our parents had, yet the currently politically correct view is that current political policy is family friendly. Unions, like liberals, have been demonized, and a gullible minority of Americans have bought into this enough to move an Electoral College majority, plainly against the self-interest of these voters. My father is alive today and enjoying his life as best he can largely because the union was there to support him while he worked. Can you remember a time when your phone service was a better value and more reliable than the '50s and '60s? Of course not. You can say the same thing about American-made cars, appliances, etc.

Toyota is opening a factory soon in San Antonio, TX; as the US Big Three are closing plants and destroying workers' lives (while fattening shareholders, board members, and C-level execs), Toyota has apparently figured-out which cars Americans want to buy and how to make them here without a unionized labor force. If we stop demonizing unions and just fix what's wrong with management and investment, the high cost of US labor will lessen as a factor in our global economy.

We just want to be able to afford to pay our doctor, our dentist, and our college. We want to be able to afford an appropriate house in a relatively safe, clean, quiet neighborhood, close to our work. We don't need a fancy single-payer medical care system, as we do not need luxury medical care 100% paid by our employer. We just want some security, so that we can afford our piece of the pie and don't lose the chance because our boss or the board of directors needs a second European vacation or German car this year.

No matter how we spin the current economy, for most of us it is a weak recovery from a recession. Two things stand out: real estate, where indeed some people have been lifted from rent-to-own but most growth has been in second and third homes, and consumer spending, which will certainly end as more people slip off the unemployment edge or get Wal-Marted into a part time job with no benefits. When this is gone, this weak recovery combined with welfare for the wealty and this hideous war in Iraq might combine to give us the Bush Depression.

We can fix this by ending this war on the middle class. Make taxes fair - close all loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, and then everyone can get a break. Remove the middlemen from business! HMOs suck money from consumers and doctors with no added benefit to us - removing this blight alone could right the course of the staggering increases in healthcare costs.

My Day-after-Labor-Day toast is to unions, and what they have done to make our country strong, prosperous, and safe.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click | Film piracy: Is it theft?

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click | Film piracy: Is it theft?

A wonderful two-headed interview (not a debate, since the interviewees are in different places) about art, technology and business today. The video feed can be watched at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/help/3681938.stm.

Dan Glickman of the MPAA sticks to the ignorant caveman definitions and uses of the words "theft" and "piracy" as commonly applied to intellectual property rights and technology today. He seems to be ignorant of the entertainment industry's own successful processes that compete with "free."

John Perry Barlow smartly and soberly (hmmm, he wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead) provides clear examples of how he has prospered from "free" (his example of the Dead's blanket permission for their fans to tape and distribute concerts). His scathing point that the entertainment industry is peopled by men who are older, less flexible, and less smart that the average young consumer today, and the industry must adapt.

The industry should have adapted ten years ago, yet they collectively cry like babies and misdirect attention to make up for the fact that their share of the entertainment pie does not continue to grow exponentially, all while consumers and artists are not being served.

The music industry, from the rise of Rock 'n Roll and the LP record, and the movie industry, from the birth of the summer blockbuster and the home video market, have prospered and found brilliant ways to provide less value to consumers and less compensation to artists. The entertainment industry, and perhaps more importantly our artistic culture, will never truly prosper until this gets turned around, with consumers receiving far greater quality and value and artists (in both broad and deep ways) receiving far more support and compensation for their work.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tower files Chapter 11, seeks buyer

Tower files Chapter 11, seeks buyer

Simply no surprise. Simply an example of a top-heavy public company that hasn't managed to figure out how to turn a growing-profit in a changing market. Not necessarily a sign of impending doom for the music industry.

I don't think that a packaged music format, something that people can pick up, feel, and pay-for at a cash 'n wrap, will at some point cease to exist. I do believe that we have seen the last successful disc-based format (at least I hope so). SA-CD and DVD-A (including its cousin DualDisc) were tremendous improvements over CD, sounding better, providing high-resolution and surround music capabilities, having limited video capability (for DVD-A), containing backwards compatibility, etc., yet in a non-rush to market these properly, the music industry let them become a failed experiment. New formats Blue Ray and HD-DVD can be described with the same advantages over CD, yet unless the music and video industries can quickly come to their senses, both formats will go down in flames.

There are other ways to distribute content. I hope that the physical medium will have no moving parts. Flash memory is getting denser, more robust, and cheaper every day, but it probably has limitations that will prevent it from getting as cheap per storage-unit as current magneto-optical systems. Spinning discs were from day-one an anachronism, designed from hearts raised with the romantic notion of spinning vinyl, and even in the late-'70s not the only choice for dense data storage. The Sony/Philips hegemony of patent rights, replication facilities, and constant hardware upgrade and replacement cycles has been very effective to them but it has held-back media technology by decades. Whatever way the planet spins toward for physical content distribution, I hope that we see the light before a spinning disc or (hard drive) platter is chosen.

The People have spoken (and have been speaking for a decade) - they download and trade files of audio and video content. It's just plain natural for us to have a (currently) open communications system like the internet and share what we can. Certainly a one-to-many hobbled system like iTunes is one way to generate revenue for copyright holders (hopefully to creative artists), albeit a limited hierarchical one. The browsing process at the iTunes store can be replicated in a retail brick 'n mortar environment, possibly with technology that lets us listen to anything in the store beyond the primitive listening stations, relatively unchanged since the 1950s; browsing through a stack of CDs at Tower, we see something we like (the visual will continue to be very important) and pick it up. What if the music on this music-carrier immediately started playing in our earpiece tethered to our cellphone, and we could add this to a playlist for download, add the physical album to our shopping cart at the cash 'n wrap (perhaps to be replicated, printed, and shrink-wrapped on-the-spot!), or to a save-for-later list? This could satisfy both our urges for immediate-download-gratification and hunter-gatherer instinct directing us to take home a trophy (the shopping gene, common to men and women!).

Why isn't Tower at every live performance? Set up a small shop selling the artist's (and related artists') CDs, offering on-the-spot downloads to phones and iPods, selling instant CD-Rs of tonight's shows, sharing profits 50/50 with the artist? This works at every level of the music industry, from opening acts at local clubs to sold-out U2 arena shows.

Some say iTunes etc. is pushing us toward a singles-market instead of an album market, but in the century of music distribution, we have seen this cycle a few times - after the height of the 78 RPM album in the '30s, and again in the album-oriented '70s and '80s. These cycles should be looked-upon as a refresher for the industry, not as a coffin-nail in an industry.

Some say Tower's biggest challenge comes from Wal-Mart, Target and Circuit City. This may be so currently, but again people forget recent history. Most people, through Rock 'n Roll era, the Hi Fi boom, and the rise of the LP record and CD, bought most of their discs at Sears or J. C. Penney, at rackjobbed sections of the store. These sections carried only the hits, but they replaced what was sold, and could be depended-upon to have popular stuff at a reasonable price, close-to-home whether you lived in Manhattan KS or Manhattan, New York, NY. A specialty retailer like Tower will always sell the hits, but what differentiates them from the mass-marketers would be depth of catalog. Unfortunately since mass-marketers (including internet-based retailers) often look at music and video products as loss-leaders, drawing people to their stores to ultimately purchase more-profitable items, Tower has had to increasingly charge higher prices than mass-marketers and is looked-on as a high-priced alternative. The record labels should have recognized Tower's worth and found a way for them and other specialty retailers to prosper in the face of mass-market competition.

And don't get me started on independent record stores. The major labels had essentially booted the indies by the early '80s by refusing to sell direct to them. A linear decline in independent store success continues to this day. Successful indies, I guess Amoeba would be the poster child, could concentrate on depth, scale, and vibe, while using tools like live performances, trade in used product (at-best a wash for the music industry, trading actual sales for marketing value), etc. And Starbucks would have to qualify as a successful indie record store chain, exploiting their captive, homogeneous audience with very focused custom product.

Tower has a lot going for it if it wants to survive as an independent entertainment retailer - a known name, refined distribution mechanism (if they haven't fatally poisoned this stream by not paying their suppliers), physical locations probably still with good locations and affordable leases, etc. If they can show that they can adapt, and in-fact lead, they can choose to prosper.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

US Democrats compress presidential calendar | US News | Reuters.com

US Democrats compress presidential calendar | US News | Reuters.com

I'm not a member of a political party.

I have never been a member of a political party, I probably never will be, but I kind a wish that there was a party to which I would like to be invited. Am I missing out of some fun?

Belonging to the Republican or Democratic party these days is sort of like being a fan of a Major League Baseball team. You might get interested by one or two players or strategies, but these things by their nature will change every few years. You then stick through the winnings and losings because you're comfortable, because you know where the cleanest restrooms are, because, well, they're still in the game, aren't they?

It's particularly present in the Republican party these days - a Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, or even a Goldwater Republican wouldn't recognize the party today. The majority of the tiny minority that keeps the barely-conservative current administration in power hardly understands what the elite plans for these what's-the-matter-with-Kansas crowd. The current Rove-army is very smart at getting their people elected largely against the self-interest of many of the people who vote for them.

If the Democrats wantopinioninon, they should not take subtle strategic moves like these movements of primaries. They should require a primary, with common rules, in each of the fifty states, on the same day. Let's pick May 15.

That gives six months for their nominees to campaign - well enough. It gives the national party less influence on any one state, but I'm sure they will allocate engery, time, money, money, money, to the states where their efforts will produce candidates that will influence the national election, (did I say money?).

Let's say the Republicans do this too. In 2008. A six month presidential election. Let's say they agree that the six months will be spent with at least one joint appearance in each of the 50 states, in a large public facility, with full media coverage (every radio and TV outlet will carry this in the local area). Two presidential candidates talking to each other - discussing, debating, maybe estrategiczing, in front of a non-cherry-picked audience that would be seeing the same show, without filters.

I must say that a candidate with the obvious lack of appropriate knowledge communicationsions skills as our current president would never have made it through this process. Wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Recall Ahnold? Maybe, but at Least Vote in Your Own Best Interest

Once again, California is a laughing stock because we elected an actor as governor. History isn't kind to our previous experience with this, and look at the squirmy leftovers from the Reagan administration currently working in the GWB administration, how well their policies have treated you, and how popular they are. Many of us may have felt a certain need to get Gray Davis out of office, but what is the price we are paying for the recall frenzy?

If you still are of the belief that Davis deregulated the energy industry in California and caused rolling blackouts, or that he tripled our car tax, do a little more research. These things were put into place by Republican Governor Pete Wilson, a meaner and grayer Gray. Wilson is not a stupid man, but deregulation and tax cuts as an ideological tactic were all the rage, and apparently the majority of us bought into this despite the fact that most of us would never benefit - short term or long - from these ideas as implemented to buy the votes of the wealthy and powerful.

A great source for information might be the book and movie "The Smartest Men in the Room" about the rise and fall of Enron. The traders at Enron and other companies had found ways to game the power distribution system in California to their financial advantage. As long as a resource or utility is being traded, someone will find a way to profit - these guys just used their corporate influence (including a long-standing relationship with the Bush family and those currently in-power in the White House) to take this profitability to a new level, without regard to the effect on the California energy market and Californians in-general.

In 2001 the state suffered rolling blackouts January 17-18, during the time of year when California typically used the least electricity. Davis bought power at highly unfavorable terms on the open market, since the California power companies were technically bankrupt and had no buying power. The "Smartest..." writers report their conclusion that, while he stood his ground for a while, Davis eventually capitulated to the terms set forth by the bankers controlling energy interests so he could secure his financial position for a possible presidential run in 2004; I can't see this, since his political support and popular poll number was at this time very low.

In April of 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with Bush political advisers to discuss whether the actor should run for Governor of California in 2002. Karl Rove says "That would be really nice. That would be really, really nice."

On May 17 2001, Schwarzenegger met with Enron CEO Ken Lay, Michael Milken, and 12 other California Republicans at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. There they share (according to Enron emails) "an insider's conversation of what's going on with the energy situation." Later, during his campaign for governor, Schwarzenegger claims he is unable to remember anything about the meeting, including whether he even met Ken Lay.

In early 2003 an effort to recall the unpopular Davis, funded largely by the black-hearted and covetous Darrell Issa, began. When Schwarzenegger threw his hat in the ring, the Republican party (not yet suffering from record-low poll numbers nationally themselves) knew they had a chance and threw their support behind him. Schwarzenegger blamed Davis for the energy crisis, for the end of the VLF Offset signed - with a sunset clause - by Pete Wilson, and for spending too much time in office raising political funds. Thus, Davis was replaced in this recall, based on this pack of lies.

Davis may not have led effectively in the energy area, but no reasonable person can disagree that the game was rigged against him on international, national, and statewide levels. What's funny is that the pricing that Gov. Davis agreed to with his back in a corner in 2001 actually is saving Californians today, since energy prices have since skyrocketed. One of the largest interests supporting the Schwarzenegger campaign was car dealerships, funding the spread of lies about the VLF Offset, and Schwarzenegger paid them back by holding a political rally at a car dealership in the San Fernando valley at taxpayers' expense, signing bills taking away existing consumer rights in automobile transactions. And since his election, Schwarzenegger has spent a record amount of time raising a record amount of political money, far exceeding Davis' best efforts.

Aren't Arnold's actions in that recall effort enough to convince any California resident that he was the wrong choice? Our constitutional recall provision is not bad in-itself, but shouldn't we save it for truly criminal actors and punish ineffective leaders in elections? Gov. Shwartzenegger's ineffectiveness as governor, his misguided and costly special election effort, and low current popular support should speak for themselves.

Let's vote for our own interest in November, and put this Experiment in Arnold back where it belongs.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Estate Tax on Minimum Wage Bill? It's a tax on the Death of Common Sense!

Other than in some bizarre world of state-supported class warfare, the recent (and recently defeated) bill teaming a Minimum Wage hike with cutting the Estate Tax was politics at its lowest.

We're all suffering because of the disparity between poor and rich. None of us are benefitting from the fact that the lowest paid worker in the US earns less that he or she has, adjusted for inflation, since the introduction of the Federal Minimum Wage. I'm not suggesting a Minimum Wage beyond that as a safety net (although a Living Wage, adjusted for local cost of living, would be a tremendous boon for all), but it is just plain wrong for the best and wealthiest country in the world to ensure that our lowest-paid workers can not sustain a family of four above the poverty line.

In this great country, we do not create royalty. The Estate Tax (go directy to jail, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars if you call it the Death Tax...) is not an either/or proposition - the bulk of this un-earned income should be passed to heirs, but it is reasonable to expect some of this to be redistributed, as our founding fathers would have suported. And please, no hysterical stories of farms or small businesses going under - if the founder of a business is wealthy enough to be affected by the Estate Tax, he or she can afford a lawyer and a financial planner to keep this from happening.

In this great country, we value hard work and families. Minimum Wage earners are actually working for something (unlike trust-fund kids in most cases) and deserve respectful treatment and a place at the table. If employers won't do this, simply because they can, the safety net of the Minimum Wage is a reasonable way to direct these business owners to contribute to their brothers, their neighborhood, and their society.

After all, the GAO's own studies show some interesting things: most new jobs are created by small business owners. Most Minimum Wage-earning employees are employed by small business owners. Small Business owners in the states with the highest Minimum Wage are also the most prosperous, even adjusted for increased cost-of-living in these states. These same small business owners benefit most from more stable employees, safer neighborhoods, increased local spending, etc., that the increased Minimum Wage delivers.

A spending cut (instead of a tax cut/welfare for the wealthy) would be appropriate to balance a Minimum Wage hike. Maybe even a federal tax break to the business owner for each new employee hired at the Minimum Wage or higher after the Minimum Wage is increased.

I can already hear the Republican congressional candidates already practicing their speeches: "We tried to increase the Minimum Wage in congress, but the Democrats voted it down!" When will people stop believing this crap?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Gas Prices High? Gas the Rich!

Oil approaches record high prices - the Saudis game the system to inflate prices
arbitrarily, the Bush administration has strong ties to the Saudi royal family, we were
supposed to pay for this imperialistic war with Iraqi oil...

Multi-national oil companies are making record profits!

US refineries are making record profits!

Oil and refining company C-level executives are receiving record compensation!

What's difficult to understand about this? While not one company, these organizations
operate monopolistically. We all suffer some direct loss of money from higher prices at the
pump; we can choose to drive less to some extent, but commutes are generally
non-discretionary. We will soon start to suffer regressively from higher
consumer-good/service costs, fewer new jobs, layoffs, etc. The already-wealthy will continue
to be wealthy through this, but the middle and lower classes will be increasingly harmed.

The Gods of growth and short-term economic (and political) profits must not be honored! The very essence of the United States depends on a diverse, free, and prosperous middle class. The religious right, in particular, has been gamed by one flavor of politician - the politicians have pampered this minority and pandered to them by convincing them that they are the majority, when in-fact they have more in common with the other political party in terms of self-interest and economic survival. How can a rust belt resident whose hard-won middle class job has been tossed away by a government working only for the interests of big-money, big-medicine, and big-oil?

Oil and gasoline get sold as a commodity, but in fact this market is gamed like a Vegas sports board. No surprise that consumer pricing rises and falls nationally. It's time to regulate this industry as a utility, for the good of us all, not the good of a few.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Viral Marketing - cure or cause...

Viral marketing - buzz word of the dot-com and genX era. It's still thrown around as fresh, new, hip.

The trouble is that viral marketing is truly the only way any passion gets spread from one person to many people. Anyone in advertising who thinks that their major TV commercial with one showing will persuade one person to buy one product is delusional. Apple couldn't, in 1984 or today, honestly claim that their product would help any one person escape from the shackles of conformity, but their ads certainly did create a centrally accessible and memorable image for those who chose to convert to the cult. This membership mentality led people to use the products in a way that showed others that they, too should use the product.

A biological virus does not get spread if the virus is know to the host (unless the host is pathological). I will willingly "Tell a Friend" about a product or service if they ask, and if I truly believe in that product or service. But, I will not share the love about anything (sorry about the evangelical religious implications, but this is fundamentally true) without a reason. I choose not to wear designer clothes that highlight the designer's name; I might if the designer paid me to do it, but instead, we seem to pathologically love to pay more of our hard earned money to be walking commercials for overpriced sweatshop clothes. You might find me wearing a shirt with a Gibson or Fender guitar, not to sell the shirt but to evoke a feeling and share the image.

To instill this feeling in consumers so they pass along the love and desire for a product of ours, we must follow simple rules. Make better products, make products people want (are you listening, Ford and Chevrolet?), price them accordingly, and create a common, desirable, attractive image that makes people want to join the club. This truly is Viral Marketing in a way a "Tell a Friend" affinity or reward program can never be.