Saturday, February 9, 2013


  • Out of an estimated world population of seven billion, just 10 million people hold offshore accounts containing in total $32 trillion.
  • Half of that amount is owned by just a 100,000 people - the super, super-rich.
  • An estimated half a trillion dollars has left Russia since 1990, meaning the tax on that money has not been invested in the country.
  • If governments in sub-Saharan Africa had been able to tax the many hundreds of billions of dollars sent abroad, they would have been enough to pay off their crippling debts.
  • Despite the criticism it can attract, the process is legal and is used on a daily basis by banks around the world.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How a marketer sees the long tail

Cows, after you've seen them for a while, are boring. They may be well-bred cows, Six Sigma cows, cows lit by a beautiful light, but they are still boring. A Purple Cow, though: Now, that would really stand out. The essence of the Purple Cow -- the reason it would shine among a crowd of perfectly competent, even undeniably excellent cows -- is that it would beremarkable. Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth paying attention to. Boring stuff quickly becomes invisible.

This excerpt is from a "marketing guru" who here is essentially talking about the long tail from within the paradigm of marketing. It interests me because a marketing approach, as distinct from a cultural studies approach, reveals a particular mechanics or intentionality within the information economy.

In the article, the long tail is the creature of the information economy not merely because international market integration allows one to achieve critical mass in more niche areas , rather, it is because unique tastes are more transmissible and mimetic within networked society, and also that the people who have unique tastes (otaku) are more prone to transmission. The long tail is thus equatable with the shift from mass media marketing towards "word of mouth" or "grass roots" campaigns which count on personal relationships as the designated media of transmission. The marketers goal is thus to make a product "remarkable" ie that someone will tell somebody else about / go viral.

In this paradigm, redefinition of market segments  and change in media is materialised by marketing being already built into the product itself:

If the Purple Cow is now one of the Ps of marketing, it has a series of big implications for the enterprise. In fact, it changes the definition of marketing. It used to be that engineering invented, manufacturing built, marketing marketed, sales sold, and the president managed the whole shebang. Marketing, better called "advertising," was about communicating the values of a product after it had been developed and manufactured.

That's clearly not a valid strategy in a world where product attributes (everything from service to design) are now at the heart of what it means to be a marketer. Marketing is the act of inventing the product. The effort of designing it. The craft of producing it. The art of pricing it. The technique of selling it. How can a Purple Cow company not be run by a marketer?