URBAN MYTH?

Once upon a time, there was a company who had a great idea. Create a platform on which all kinds of people could come and do whatever they wanted. They could write, show off their photography or paintings, even show videos and play music.

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They created easy-to-use software and a congenial atmosphere. People flocked to them. They started sites. Talked about their lives, their memories, their hopes, dreams, art, ambitions. They connected with one another. Participated in collective events and formed friendships that circled the globe.

And everything was good.

One day, someone in a high tower in a far distant place said “We need to get with the real world.”

Many people were surprised because they thought they already were part of the real world, but he was the Big Boss, so they listened. He must be wise, because he was in power and we know that powerful people are wise, right?

tablets kindle iPad

He told his employees that small devices were the way of the future, that no one would use real computers — desktops or laptops. Indeed, several years before, many people believed — briefly — something along these lines. Everyone had long since backed off this belief — because it was obviously untrue.

Too many things — in business, art, even entertainment — needed a bigger, more powerful machine. Working people weren’t going to do spreadsheets on telephones or tablets. These things were convenient for checking email, but without room to work and a keyboard, no one was going to write their next novel on it, try to manage finances, or edit photographs.

Ghost Town by Apache Junction

But the Powers-That-Be didn’t want to hear this. They had a vision and were determined to make it true, at any cost. Moreover, they believed they had the power to force their customers march in lock step to their music. They hired a band and played marching music day and night.

Their customers blocked their ears and expressed their dismay, but the corporation couldn’t hear anyone over their own music.

Thus over a period of months and years, they changed everything. They took away the fun, the congeniality, and the software. They sucked the fun out of blogging. And then, people began to drift away.

There were some protests, some angry voices, but most people had been doing it because it was fun and it wasn’t fun any more. So they posted less. With each revision of the platform, more people gave up.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

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There wasn’t any other platform to take its place. There ought to have been, if this were a happier fairy tale. No alternative universe existed into which they could go, so they just quit. They found other media. Maybe not as good as the old one was, before the corporate bosses ruined everything … but it was okay. People got used to it. At least no one was trying to make them do stuff they didn’t want to do.

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Over a period of time, the big corporation noticed they didn’t have so many people using their platform. “No problem,” declared the Big Boss. “We’ll get businesses to take their place. They will pay us for our services.”

Businesses had their own IT departments and servers. They saw no reason to depend on someone else when they had their own resources. And the platform’s reputation for poor customer service while creating a user-hostile environment was all over the Internet. Everyone knew someone who’d been betrayed. No one wanted to risk their business. What if they were next on the corporate hit list?

“No thanks,” they said and moved elsewhere.

sad momProfits fell. First a trickle, and then a mighty waterfall. Customers abandoned the ship. Eventually, the corporation realized it was out of business. Like Wang. DEC. Grumman. IBM. GTE. They thought they were so big and so powerful, they could do whatever they wanted however they wanted.

They were wrong.


The End.


What a Twist! — Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.



Categories: Blogging, Fiction, Humor, Myths and Fables

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

29 replies

  1. Once upon a time there was a powerful company. The company built airplanes and weapons systems for our military branches when they needed upgrading to meet todays demands. The owner and founder of the company was wis, knew people in the government that made decisions on who got the military contracts. he hired the best people to work at his company from the best designers to the best engineers and scientists. Everybody wanted to work for his worldwide company.

    The owner and cofounder of the huge powerful company passed away. The reins were passed to his sons instead of top management to run the company. They didn’t know the politics of military contractors. Their company had the best scientists and engineers and when a new set of military aircraft was requested they put a great design forward with the best price and superior performance.

    The sons made one fatal flaw. Not knowing how to play the game in congress they entered the bidding war assuming the playing field was level, that the best aircraft at best price was all it took. They were wrong. You see up until that last bid the government had always footed the bill for research and development for prototypes by bidding companies. Surely the sons of the deceased company owner never expected politics was afoot and that they never even had a chance at getting that bid from day one. You see the company already had 4-5 major contracts on existing models of aircraft. Politicians on the panel awarding the company with the winning contract agreed the country needed to spread the wealth among other military contractors. The big company never stood a chance with this mentality. It had invested every penny it had putting forth the best planes at the best price. The new requirement to foot the bill for developed aircraft caused them to overextend themselves because they were sure they had it in the bag.

    One year after the new contracts were awarded to a lesser competitor the big company was in bankruptcy and was bought out by a smaller company. 10,000 good workers were laid off in a single day to appease the banks that the big company was restructuring to pay back their debts.

    My career of 13 years ended that day, along with that of 10,000 other loyal, educated and talented workers. They had done nothing wrong. Their plane designs were the best and came in under budget. Their only mistake was that the sons of that company’s founders didn’t know how to play the game.

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    • Grumman and Northrup, too. Has the playing field EVER been even? Really? Because it’s all cronyism, payoffs, and who knows who … and it has been that way since the country became a country. Since any country became a country. It is, to put it simply, business as usual and has been since Egypt became an empire. I have been put out of work by I don’t know how many buyouts, bankruptcies, failure to get the contract. So many times I can’t even remember them all.

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  2. Great story. This has happened again and again. The bigwigs only see money – and make sure they get their bonuses. They don’t live in the real world so they only see the dollar signs. Apple are popular because they have created such a iconic brand and a status symbol that everyone wants – even if it is not what everyone needs – ie smart watch. I prefer working on my computer for my blog. The app on my iPad changes my photos into a square image and cuts off some of it. Not to mention the interface is not good either. But if something works and is great – don’t play with it. How does the saying go – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Simple advice but no one listens.

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  3. Yup, it is always different this time. Hopefully, someone else will step up the the plate. Greed -it will get you every time.
    Leslie

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  4. I assume this post might not show up at “freshly pressed” :-). I love my tablet, I even use my dumb smartphone, but only for playing. When I get real, no matter if it’s reading, writing, researching I will always sit in front of my computer with my printer close by.

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    • Most of us use computers. There’s only so much you can do on a tablet or telephone. You can’t handle graphics at all. You can’t even view them properly. Small devices are useful, but they are not a substitute for a real computer. Actual users seem to know this. Pity the “suits” don’t!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have to print a lot as well. Articles I like, recipes I want to try. Quotes and invoices. That small stuff is fun and helpful on the go, if one thinks they can’t live without the 24/7 connection to the rest of the world. Maybe I am too old for all this nonsense :-).

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        • I don’t think this is a matter of age. I think it’s a matter of what you do with your site. This isn’t Twitter. We don’t write 140 character posts. We post photographs, art, complex pieces of writing. Writers need a keyboard and the ability to control text. Photographers and artists need to be able to post photographs without having them randomly chopped up by the software.

          It’s plain dumb to go head to head with your customers as if they are your enemies. If you win, you lose your customers, so there’s no victory to be had here, for anyone.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish this were just an urban myth, but I’m afraid it’s a portend of the future here on WordPress. The worst thing a technology company can do is to stop listening to its customers and listen only to what the insiders are saying.

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    • They are listening to each other and have lost touch with their customers. It’s been the downfall of many companies, bigger and badder than WordPress. They think they can do the same thing but get a different result. Hard to understand how they could not see how wrong-headed they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A masterpiece, and I would put in a smiley if it would be fictive and less dramatic. Ok, I do it anyway, because it is not only explaining the situation very well in a good style, it probably does also explain the potential outcome 🙂

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    • If they don’t listen to their customers, eventually they won’t have customers. I remember when DEC was king of the computer world, employing more than 25,000 people in Massachusetts alone. Gone. Completely gone. They didn’t listen to anyone but each other.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, that happens again and again everywhere. As someone who loves to play computer games, I did see this happen in the gaming industry as well. Online games with million of players, a few bad updates to the game and the massive community was gone and the online game was literary dying.due to shrinking player base, so that the developers had to shut down all servers as the game was not profitable anymore and the game was gone. I know all kind of examples outside of the gaming industry as well. Some companies don’t learn from the past.

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        • Not only do they not learn from the past, they think they are exempt from the consequences of their behavior, as if doing the same thing is going to have a different result because they are so special. Really stupid. Vain. Greedy. But mostly, I think stupid.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Those who fail history are doomed to repeat it… and have to sit in the back of the class with the burnouts wearing heavy metal T-shirts and smoking in the boys’ room. Do they even call the slackers burnouts these days? Probably not… I’m sure it’s offensive to someone…

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  8. I create all my text in Google Docs then copy it into WP editor for layout and photos. The Docs platform is sturdy and I can get to it via desktop, iPad or iPhone. I avoid actually working in WP but like the old editor for tweaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This could be the story of Multiply, a very successful blogging platform and more or less took over when Yahoo 350 stopped. We all flocked there and we got what we wanted. It was great, Inter action amongst the members, a photo platform, messaging, it had it all, until one day….. The company moved from the States to Indonesia. Indonesia? we were all wondering. They had a sideline of marketing, selling clothing items, electronic items, a privat thing, and decided this was it to the extent they gave out the words that the social part was being cancelled and it would completely be marketing. Not even the marketeers were happy, their customers came from the bloggers. Long story cut short the Indonesian owner, who had dollar signs instead of eyes, had made a mess of things. The company went bankrupt and Multiply disappeared from the face of the virtual world. One of the reasons why I am now in WordPress (will it happen again?). I still have contact with ex colleagues from Multiply, mainly in Facebook, a little in Blogger and Google+. Oh the world of commercial enterprise is sometimes absolutely not enterprising.

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    • I don’t think this story is going to have a happy ending. Because no company has successfully made the change from free to paid clientele. Many have tried. ALL have failed. It isn’t going to work here, either.

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  10. Second Life also has gone out of its way to kill the golden egg laying goose. Facebook.
    On the other hand, I’m really surprised at how many people are writing their blogs via their smart phones. One of my favorite bloggers admits to hiding in the bathroom and using her phone to post. I couldn’t do it, not for anything more than a sentence or two.

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    • I hate tiny little devices. The way I write and edit, I don’t like using a tablet (much less a telephone) — even the iPad. I need a keyboard, a mouse, and a font that’s at least 10 points. Otherwise, I can’t see it and don’t want to try.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bought an iPad, a few years ago without the slightest idea what I was going to use it for. Slowly little uses started to show like storing photos, watching programs/movies on NetFlix and checking my email and weather while traveling. Now the Pro audio industry has embraced it as a control device for digital mixers, for recording and live performance PA mixing. The engineer can now wander around the theater to check his mix in places not accessible from a fixed position. Some folks rely solely on these devices.., but like you, I can’t do without my computers as it takes me forever to type on a touch screen, one finger style. However in defense of the iPad, you can lay it down and use it like a keyboard of sorts. But Yeah it’s true.. they don’t listen, they just create.., and we buy into it. It must be nice to be Gods….?

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        • I’m not against change or progress. I AM against stupid changes that take good stuff and turn it to crap. I enjoy my iPad, as long as I remember it isn’t a computer, to use it within its limitations. If I do that, it’s great. Mostly, I use it for listening to audiobooks, checking email, seeing how my site looks before I turn in. For reading, I prefer the Kindles and if I need to enter information, I REALLY want a keyboard. I’ve been touch typing since I was 11. Poking at the screen … and all the mistakes I make doing it … doesn’t suit me at all. It’s so slow, it makes me crazy. I don’t know any writer who doesn’t want a real keyboard. And you can’t edit pictures on anything so small. You can LOOK at them (not well, but you can sort of see them), but you can’t control Photoshop without a mouse. I’m glad they are finding new appropriate uses for devices. That’s great.

          But. Graphics work will always require a larger screen with more real estate and some kind of precision pointing device — which a FINGER isn’t. Writers need keyboards. Even if voice input worked better than it does, most of us think with our fingers. Designing tools only suitable for devices we can’t use to do our work is stupid. If the software turns blogging into a battle, I’m not going to keep doing it. I don’t get paid for this. It’s supposed to be fun. If they are going to make it hard, I’m going to do something else. It’s plain stupid to turn this into a showdown between users/customers and the company.

          It’s never a good idea to fight your customers. I simply don’t get it. It isn’t going to make them more money; they will LOSE money and many people will walk away. Many of us have already walked away from other platforms. It’s not like we can’t live without them. We can, we will. We won’t be happy about it, but we’ll survive.

          Like

  11. They never learn.

    Like

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