Expert has an interesting perspective
Doug Rushkoff has been referred to as a kind of Media Theorist. He spends much of his time studying the human condition as it applies to our digital lives and dreams of how we can use cyberspace to maintain and create a spirit of empowerment.
Podcast host Jodi Avrigan recently spoke to Doug Rushkoff and they riffed on a number of topics including why companies should concentrate on doing what they do best and stop succumbing to boardroom and investor pressure to keep growing.
Stop growing and start living
An early advocate of the internet, Doug Rushkoff could confidently say he’s seen it all or close to it. What he sees as the current [and destructive trend] of companies that are told to expand rather than do what it is they do best.
Says Rushkoff, “We need to optimize the digital economy. Not for its extraction value or its conversion into capital but for the circulation of money [in the right directions].” In other words, in a perfect world Rushkoff envisions companies making their millions or billions and putting that money back into the company or at the very least putting those profits back into the hands of the people that are doing the work. At least some of it.
Growth, growth, growth
In terms of growth Rushkoff cites Walmart as an excellent example of abuse: they rushed to open so many stores that ultimately there are no longer enough people to sell to. And now Walmart is closing stores.
The website Edhltd.com postulates this even further when author Edward D. Hess (Distinguished Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Management at Emory University) states, “Most companies can tolerate incremental growth or growth to replace unprofitable customers fairly easily over time. But successive years of high growth challenge the competencies and risk tolerances of most companies.”
So the issue of growth is really two issues: The first is to ask at what pace or rate should you grow and secondly what is your capacity and risk tolerance for growth?
Another way of thinking is that if you make a good living painting and selling 5 paintings a year why stretch and paint eight a year and risk the quality suffer at the expense of making a profit?”
Platforms that extract more from their platform than they facilitate was another topic-in-real-time and Rushkoff cited Uber as a good example. Rushkoff feels the Uber driver/operator is just a resource with no plan in place to protect them or incentive for long-term career growth.
Rushkoff refers to it as looking for ways to optimize one’s business (especially if it’s smaller). Part of it has to do with what he calls “boundary-investment.” Which is simply investing in way that the money comes back to you.
Real vs. virtual communities
New technology will create a lot of growth. Internet economy in particular has the ability to make money in many different ways. What has happened though is that Wall Street noticed how much was to be made with the internet and suddenly THAT is the priority.
Twitter is an example say Rushkoff. Twitter can no longer just be a platform that is able to send 140 characters from one phone to another. After making billions of dollars Twitter must concentrate on making [even more] money. All at the expense of a great app. Why? Because extraction is now the focal point.
Says Rushkoff in the interview, “The original internet was not created to make a whole lot of money just so the founders have nothing to do. It was created with the intention to make money doing what you love and turning it back into the community.”
Another twist on this concept again comes from Edward Hess, who points out, “By growing at high rates for several years – yes, you will capture market share but also you rise on the business food chain and come into the sights of very big, well-capitalized, highly-efficient and well-managed competitors.”
The key point: As you grow, your competition changes. As you grow, you become both a threat and a target.
All in all a great interview. Check it out. Ol’ Gar’ gives it 5 stars. And the read the book by Doug Rushkoff as well (Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus).
Scammers are out to prey on MLM victims and small businesses
(ENTREPRENEUR) MLM pyramid schemes are already predatory enough, but for victims trying to get out of the cycle, scammers are waiting on the sidelines.
Predatory, scam, rip-off, shady, trap… all of these may be words that rightfully come to mind when I mention pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing campaigns, or “MLM.”
It probably conjures images of annoying messages from the one gullible high school friend you haven’t quite had the heart to unfriend on Facebook. Perhaps you know someone who got put through the wringer themselves. The one thing victims of these predatory marketing schemes have in common is being in the hole of a lot of money. Usually money the victims can’t afford, since these scams prey on the economically vulnerable. Truly, there are few things more universally detestable than MLM pyramid schemes… but I found one.
Did you know there is an entire secondary scammer market to recycle victims of MLMs?
A new spin on the idea of ambulance chasers, there is an entire demographic of scammers out there that trawl social media such as Facebook and Reddit to find recently victimized people looking for a way out of the pyramid-shaped hole they’ve found themselves in, offer services to these victims to “assist” them in recovering lost investments or liquidating their almost valueless inventory, and then ghosting the victims – taking them for their non-existent money a second time. They often pose as legal representation or consumer relief of one flavor or another.
Here is an example posted on the subreddit r/antiMLM:
That website doesn’t exist. That is not a real law firm. The premise is a scam looking to make a sucker twice out of the same victim. One commenter using the user name ‘lemontest’ shared the following account:
After my relative got scammed by a company that promised to help her set up a drop-shipping business, another business magically appeared that promised to get her money back. She gave them money and never heard from them again. I’m sure there’s a lot of money to be made selling contact lists of people who fall for get rich quick schemes.
How incredibly filthy toxic is that? Be vigilant out there, the scammers are creative.
If you (asking for a friend of course) or anyone else you know has fallen victim to any online scam, I recommend this light-hearted, and a little bit cheeky, recovery guide found on the Federal Trade Commission website and authored by Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D. of the Consumer Awareness Institute.
Any stories to share about MLMs or other comments? I’d love to hear from you.
The BEST report to gain perspective on all sides of the media (bye bias!)
(ENTREPRENEUR) We all want to stay informed, but American media has both obvious bias and hidden agendas. Sign up for these reports to see all sides.
Especially near elections, politically-charged business decisions, and on highly controversial topics, it’s hard to find non-bias media nowadays. Every news site or TV show seems to have a hidden agenda, but this new report aims to show all sides.
Ground News aims to give readers an opportunity to reduce their own media bias by aggregating news from many different sources in a way to showcase stories across the political spectrum. The Blindspot Report identifies news stories from both sides of the arena, helping readers see how bias is impacting the information they receive. This newsletter can give you a different perspective to understand both sides of the issue.
Is media bias even a thing?
Technology may have revolutionized the way we share information, but it has also exacerbated the divide between different views. Americans seem to be more polarized than ever before. It feels as if there isn’t any common ground for civil discourse. Although most Americans are getting better at identifying fake news, media bias often gives us a slanted perspective on the news. Media bias occurs when journalists or producers allow their own opinions to impact the way they report the news. A study out of UCLA found that media bias is real. When you get all your news from one source, you may not be getting the entire picture.
Sign up for the Blindspot Report
We’re all biased, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum. We want information that supports our morals and ethics. We want someone to confirm what we believe. It’s human nature to want to listen to people who agree with us. Reading alternate sources to get your news isn’t about changing your own point of view. It’s about helping you compare different perspectives to let you think more clearly.
Ground News has three newsletters that help you stay informed. Sign up for the Blindspot Report to see what you’re missing.
Small businesses angry at depletion of COVID-19 relief funds without warning
(ENTREPRENEUR) Small businesses are in shock when they find out COVID-19 relief funds are no longer available, with an email update from the SBA.
In May, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sent out an update to borrowers of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 relief. The EIDL program is now out of funds, according to an email sent to borrowers.
The loan program formally closed back in December 2021, but there was a period when small businesses who had already received funding could request additional money. That period is now officially over, and the $345 billion that was allotted for COVID-19 relief is gone.
The impact of EIDL
Many owners and entrepreneurs are outraged and frustrated with the lack of transparency from the SBA. There was no warning that the funds were almost depleted and many businesses were relying on that loan money to keep their businesses afloat as the economy rebounds. However, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman praised the program,
“The SBA has delivered historic economic relief to millions of America’s small businesses through the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program…”
According to an SBA press release, over $390 billion in aid was distributed to nearly 4 million businesses.
Small businesses still need help
In May, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), told health ministers that COVID-19 and its effects are not over. Here in the United States, life seems to be getting back to normal, if you discount the horrific inflation and gas prices, which are further impacting the recovery of small businesses.
Congress has been wrangling with legislation (H.R. 3807) that would offer more funding for those that were hit hard due to covid. Getting the House and Senate to agree on this legislation is expected to be difficult. So, no guarantees that more help is coming.
The SBA recommends that businesses who need more resources contact their local SBA office. Virtual appointments can be made for those who wish to avoid contact.
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