"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." -George Orwell

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fix your own business model!

I don't know about you, but occasionally I get annoyed with the unrealistic idealism in which journalists frame their stories. Recently, they reproached Wells Fargo for holding a sales and service conference to reward its top sellers from the previous year, citing the company's acceptance of TARP money as proof that the trip was a "junket" at the taxpayers' expense.

First of all, this is blatantly misleading, as these conferences happen every year for every company that has every sold anything in the history of capitalism. Secondly, the company has a recognition department that has its own existing budget, and I can tell you for a fact that this budget gets absolutely zero windfall from government assistance, especially TARP. Thirdly, the costs of cancelling said conference, which the company did under public scrutiny, costs just about as much as it does to go forward with it. Ask the staff at The Wynn or Encore how they feel about that cancelled trip.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm firmly unapologetic for defending those who are rewarding salespeople right about now. Anyone who's making money (as long as it's being made honestly) in this economy should be rewarded for their hard work, not punished. Their capital-raising is helping lift the rest of us out of the current economic $hit heap we'll all die in if we don't mobilize out of soon. I wouldn't want to be on the front line for sales right now, would you?

And of course, neither would the journalists. Which is why they write for AP, instead of selling its ad space. IT'S EASIER.

And from this big, fat easy chair, journalists continue to criticize media business models, without coming up with any marketable reasons people should pay for their content. Truthfully, they're not sure why either, but they're too proud to tell you that. In fact, if journalists ran the world, these would be the rules:
  1. Any business that makes money must be demonized. Mainly, this is because journalists themselves don't make money, and their publishers are lax in solving the publishing business model in the era of information instantaneousness.
  2. No business can have benefits or a retirement plan. Reason: See number one.
  3. No business can have time off, especially not paid time off, nor paid conferences. Reason: See number one.
  4. No businessman or businesswoman can have a family or a life. Reason: See number one. Plus, journalists themselves are overworked and underpaid. Thus, the field day they have with supposed "junket" stories.
  5. When faced with facts that don't fit your theory, throw the facts aside.

I seriously know of about five things AP could've mentioned in their story to balance the coverage of the supposed "junket" story, including: Wells paying dividends back to Treasury within months of being forced to accept TARP money -- and here's the article about banks being strongarmed into accepting Treasury's TARP money; Wells making more loan commitments to Main Street than mostly any big bank out there, Wells Fargo working with the HOPE Now alliance, which works with homeowners to keep them in their homes and the idea that Americans aren't being rewarded for their productivity.

Instead of criticizing the business model of a company that works (even when the government tries to intervene with forced liquidity), why doesn't the media get back to trying to fix their own business model? After a paltry victory with the writers' strike of 2007-2008 that awarded digital revenue, a metaphorical "
nose in the tent" ceased the discussion? Whatever happened to dwelling in that tent, expanding the tent or, better yet, putting up a brand new tent?


SourDove said...

A Greenwaldian sockdolager. Bravo.

L'Elefont said...

Thanks, SourDove!