Firstly the audience loved the jokes, they laughed at them all. It wasn't like he delivered them to stunned faces and immediate shock. The only thing that brought him down was a newspaper reporter noted it down and newspapers pushed it as an artificial scandal. Everyone buying 5 pound earrings knew they were of very low quality, they just didn't want it being shouted at them in their daily news.
Secondly it wasn't even the first time he had publicly made these sorts of jokes, in fact it wasn't even the first time they had been published in the papers.
This was entirely a newspaper driven downfall, they wanted to see him fail and wanted to sell papers about a scandal, so they did.
The group carried on and became one of the biggest jewelery companies on the planet.
The speech scandal was merely a blip in the history of the company.
> This was entirely a newspaper driven downfall
That first point is good evidence that the jokes weren't very responsible for what happened.
But it seems like it's just as good evidence that newspaper coverage also wasn't very responsible. Why attribute it to the newspapers this time, when they tried and failed before?
Newspapers report on people all the time and then switch when it suits them, it's always trying to move with people. It's also worth noting the reporter, Harry Arnold, worked for The Mirror, a less than reputable rag. Arnold knew ahead of time that Ratner was to make these jokes (heard about it through his assistant I believe) and was there waiting for the moment he could quote him. The scandal was prepared before it had even happened. They didn't force him to say those things, but they sure made an enormous deal out of it.
Luxuries are typically the first thing to go for those close to poverty in a recession.
I would argue that Ratners were uniquely placed to suffer the worst in a recession, and that they hadn't collapsed during the aftermath of Black Monday is the bigger surprise.
It was the tabloid press, targeting their readers, that brought Ratners down. I don't know why they did it though apart from increasing their sales by generating buzz about a subject maybe.
“After losing everything, he toiled in misery for years — but he eventually made an improbable comeback. In 1997, he took out a £155k (US$203k) loan on his house, built up a health club business, and sold it for £3.9m (US$5.1m). He then used the profits to start an online jewelry company. (The Ratners Group rebranded as Signet in 1993; today, it is the largest diamond retailer in the world.)”
Most people reading this will never feel extreme hunger and have all their material needs met forever, but they will probably also go through things that to them, feel like miserable failures.
You might even be forced to leave your cushy jobs and take an annual salary that is what 50 African laborers make in year. And it will possibly take years, maybe well over a decade, to live down how bad you feel about yourself.
Whether you're scrambling around the forest looking for berries and killing things to eat with pointy sticks or working an office job living in a suburb – I don't really think your emotional experience really changes all that much.
I think your misery and delight are driven by the best and worst things in your life and it doesn't really matter all that much what your circumstances are. When things get better you find new things to be miserable about, when things get worse you stop caring about the little things and your misery is driven by the new worst thing.
I don't see standard of living really driving all that much happiness. Maybe some, but much less than I think most people expect.
Happiness is definitely a hockey-stick shaped curve, going from 1M to 10M is not going to make you happier, but someone who is making $100k is going to be far far happier than someone making $20k. The difference between scrabbling to pay your bills and keep the heat on, vs actually having some savings and free money for recreation, is absolutely massive.
To be fair, making $20k was almost always a choice in those cases.
And in fact it isn’t specifically a choice. Sure you can make choices that, over a long term, will boost your income but it’s rarely a choice.
I guess if you're willing to sacrifice some things it could work. You're definitely not raising a family of 3-4 in a nicer neighborhood with that amount.
I don't think there is one correct answer to the question of how much money you have to have to live, because it's mostly about your biggest expense, imo. Everything else you can economize on to an extreme if you have to, if you're healthy and sane and frugal.
Once you start talking about a "nice" neighborhood, you're talking about a competitive zero-sum game where the costs can increase without limit.
That is assuming your status is above subsistence level in your society.
Having an income of 20k/year in US puts you at like 16th percentile.
We're all pretty bad at knowing what will make us happy in advance.
With kids, the cheaper areas have generally worse schools, parks, etc.
The neighborhood they were living in was generally fairly average, everything considered. But only one of them had one kid (also single parent though).
Not in a large city. But I’m fairly sure in that case the main downgrade would be the neighborhood.
A lot of people are happy in college and they're almost all living on less than $24k a year despite working over 40h a week (although schoolwork is a lot more engaging than industry IMHO).
I can say I was very happy with minimal income in my university years, but would not be anymore as my friends are out of the campus and getting forward with their lives.
This is what causes people in the West who earn $35k and $350k alike to feel 'poor' despite the fact that even the former income is already in the global 99th percentile.
On average people making $80k are happier than those making $20k, to a greater degree than when comparing $10M to $1M.
- Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
I think there are a few key things that drive happiness. Secure food and shelter. Short commute. Nature. Being able to walk away from toxic jobs and relationships.
Treating animals fairly lead to happier animals.
Transform your puppy in an spoiled human baby clothed in expensive ribbons or giving vegan food to your cat will not make it happier necessarily (not to mention the neutering clause in the small letter of the contract). Our definitions of better can difer from theirs.
They are dumb fucks for trusting him.
Zuck isn't a terrible person for saying that dumb fucks are dumb fucks. He's a terrible person for building a platform exploiting dumb fucks. He's a terrible person for everything except this particular conversation. Not the other way around.
Problem is in this particular case it seems highly relevant today as well.
The point was that Mark Z had the same attitude about the people who shared their data with FB, and the history is replete with FB abusing that trust in myriad ways. Is Mark Z still a teenager? And furthermore, that other CEO guy reformed. Does that mean the story is pointless?
Here is the real point. Both this CEO and young Mark Z were right. They were selling crap and people were buying it. People really did simply share their info and back then Zuck was a little taken aback. The point is that we all collectively as a society buy De Beers and we have collectively begun thinking it’s totally cool to trust some third party with all our private data just so they can connect us. So this is actually a critique of society and how we do exactly the things that they said were pretty dumb - and we really enjoy doing them!
We have no idea what his real thinking/motivation was behind that comment, but a combination of adolescent bravado and incredulity that this stupid little app he'd hacked together was working so well would suffice, at least as well as casting him as a 19-year-old moustache-twirling super-villain-in-the-making would.
This is the one-and-only such quote of his from that period that gets invoked. If that's the most scandalous piece of dirt anyone could dig up on him from his entire early life, he's not doing too badly.
I sure as hell wouldn't fare so well.
Pedantic doesn’t mean anything relevant to this conversation.
OK, I understand that for a lot of people, it's really important to fixate on this "gotcha" instance, to take the view that the worst possible conceivable motive just has to be the only plausible one, even though there is no possibility of undertaking the kind of forensic or judicial examination that would be required to properly determine such a thing.
But seriously, regardless of what it may or may not reveal about Zuckerberg, fixating on it is just not a healthy or productive way to look at the world.
I invite you to explore the psychology concept of the shadow , and consider that when we fixate on other people's flaws and transgressions like this, there's very likely plenty wrong that we're not seeing in ourselves, but that we could greatly benefit from paying attention to.
That's is why I call out this trope whenever I see it on HN. Not because it upsets me that people are saying mean things about Mark Zuckerberg. It's that in focusing on other people's supposed sins, they're likely avoiding looking at what they could pay attention to in themselves, and thus embrace big opportunities for their own personal growth.
Say what you like about Zuckerberg and Facebook's current/recent conduct. There's plenty there, and there are plenty of valid and important discussions to be had about the role of Facebook etc in the modern world.
But this 15-year-old comment trivialises these present-day issues, and is also just super-boring.
By the way, the Oxford dictionary and Wikipedia both define "teenager" as any age ending in "teen", so nobody is wrong to use it in that way. You can apply a different interpretation, but it would only be for rhetorical purposes, not to correct any errant assertions of fact.
The shadow is not applicable, and just a red herring, not relevant to whether a 19 year old is an adult. I am not even getting into whether his comment indicates a willingness to log into their email without permission. Why excuse this? If you heard an 19 year old joke about walking into someone’s house would you think they were too young and shouldn’t know better?
As far as the Oxford dictionary, I’ll stick with the general legal definition, as it is more relevant a social measure of whether he should have know better based on generally acceptable measures of conduct at that age, and is fairly held responsible.
This 15 year old comment doesn’t trivialize anything, it serves as an anchor over a 15 year period where the underlying intent is established and the intervening conduct makes more sense and is much worse. It’s impossible to argue that disclosure is inadvertent when this intent was present at the very beginning. He was literally selling peoples information for social credibility with a friend. You may think it’s boring, but I am just as pissed as the first day I heard it and have been off of Facebook for the last 10 years as a result. I hope everyone hears this comment over and over, maybe then it would sink in.
- Instead of saying "He wasn’t a teenager" and continuing to double down on this, you could have made the discussion a whole lot more productive by just saying "he was old enough to know better". That's a reasonable position that people can have a productive discussion about. As far as I can find, "teenager" has no official legal definition that's separate from the dictionary definition (as distinct from "major" or "age of responsibility" which are legal terms). Using legal conventions is unhelpful. People under 18 (and thoroughly "teenage" by your description) can be legally culpable for murder, yet people in the U.S. are considered too immature to buy alcohol before age 21. Everyone knows maturity and sound judgement is a spectrum and numerical age is only one factor in it.
- I understand that for the people for whom this matter is significant, it stems from the view that Facebook is a wholly malevolent influence on society, and is responsible for much of what is wrong in the modern world, including recent election outcomes and other major world events, and that Zuckerberg is primarily responsible for most of it. I don't share that position, about Facebook/Zuckerberg, or indeed about anything/anyone, really. I regard Facebook and Zuckerberg's persona as having emerged out of their surrounding culture, and like pretty much all people and companies, have done some good things and some bad things. Where they've done good they should be commended and where they've done wrong they should be condemned and motivated/compelled to reform. I think people should generally be given a pass for stupid things they said/did 15 years ago, as most people change significantly in that time, even if they were already grown adults, but even more so if they were young. And I think that the propensity to cast Facebook as a primary cause of the world's ills, including but not limited to unfavourable election outcomes, is another example of avoiding confronting our own failings (i.e., our "shadow"), and missing opportunities for learning and growth. And I think this mindset is particularly counterproductive for those of us in the startup world, where it's impossible to do anything important and impactful without risking getting things wrong at least some of the time.
I understand that the ideas in that last point are unpalatable for some people, and that's OK. My own take on such matters comes after a solid number of years exploring these ideas through particular self-development practices I've chosen to undertake, but I understand and respect that everyone has their own background to their worldview, and people are entitled to see it differently.
Thanks for the discussion.
This is a stupid meme that always gets posted.
- Lulumon didn't seem to be hurt by Chip Wilson. In fact, the "notoriety" made me aware they they sold men's clothes, too, and I went there and bought some great athletic wear.
- Many customers appreciated Barclays' warning not to "pile up debts." That would give me a favorable opinion of a company that offers lines of credit, not a bad one.
For a time, I could buy jeans that fit. That's now all but impossible. Skinny jeans doing much of that.
Prices and fabric quality have gone, respectively, through the ceiling and floor.
I'm approaching a decade denim-free, having broken in my first pair sometime in the 1970s.
Baggy in the waist, cannot get my thighs in.
Pretty sure that was Nike, Adidas, and Puma.
It’s a fascinating interview and one of the best in the “How I Built This” series.
Your engineer is showing
Nowadays, it only takes one tweet to absolutely tank someone's reputation, let alone lose his or her job.
Didn't seem to bother people though. Maybe the "hooligans or whatever" who shop there don't pay any attention to the news?
Eg Holland has a number of cheap shoe chains. Schoenenreus and Scapino both breathe an air of cheapness, and one went bust and the other is struggling bad. Their direct competitor Van Haren sells exactly equally crappy shoes, and everybody knows it, but they are thriving, simply because the store feels like a proper high quality shoe store.
Or take ALDI, which competes on price and nothing else. In every country I visited has the words "the ALDI principle: low prices, high quality" printed on every storefront and on every page of their paper promo flyers. Granted, little of what they sell is "total crap", but little is of truly high quality either. Their bread goes stale faster and their coffee is bitter. This surprises nobody.
It appears to me that this weird dichotomy is the only way to successfully compete on price. Make it perfectly obvious that you're cheap and of mediocre quality at best, while loudly shouting that the quality is high. Nobody believes you, but nobody wants to buy from you if you're honest about what you're selling.
I find this surprising because blatant lies don't generally work that well in the long term, so why do they here? I generally hate dishonest messaging. Why don't I mind here? I buy ALDI and Van Haren all the time.
Interestingly, I wonder why this would be a metric of lower quality bread rather than higher? I mean, the obvious way to make the bread last longer would be to pump it full of preservatives, and the white stuff you buy pre-sliced in packs lasts for ages though it is not really bread and the quality is obviously low (or is it? The slices are so smooth, the bubbles so even and the crust not hard at all)
When I have been to France and bought a baguette in the morning, obviously it is normally eaten right away because fresh and delicious, but if you leave it until the afternoon it is already stale and chewy. Does that imply low quality?
(I do buy some food from Aldi, though I prefer my bread from the baker across the road :)
The same goes for supermarket bread vs fresh bread from the baker's: supermarket bread is better suited for freezing and thawing later compared to fresh bread from the bakery. The latter tastes much better, but has to be eaten the same day.
You can use sourdough, which is also "pumping it full of preservatives", just ones that are produced naturally right in the dough while it ferments. Sourdough bread takes more time, so it would make sense for it to be more expensive. So it makes sense for cheaper bread to go stale faster.
AFAIR if you go into a French bakery and order a "tradition" instead of a "baguette" you get a baguette made with sourdough.
Same in the US with Target and Walmart. They sell exactly the same discounted products, in giant stores that carry everything, to exactly the same customers, but Target has cultural cachet (both embodied and mocked as "Tar-jay"), while Walmart and its customers are mocked (if you're nice) and denounced (if you're not) incessantly. Somehow, the giant retail chain corporation based in Arkansas is seen as the embodiment of all that is evil with American business—to the point where San Francisco and New York City don't allow any within their borders—while the giant retail chain corporation based in Minnesota is seen as (relatively) hip and culturally/political acceptable enough to have outlets in the downtowns of said cities.
And walmart.com is built to be a marketplace, like amazon.com, so of course it allows resellers.
You can hate what Walmart is and stands for, but to find Target acceptable is inconsistent.
This is less insidious than it sounds. Walmart's strategy is a volume play - they optimize their product mix against selling the highest volume of products, rather than products that may have a higher individual margin but lower sales volume.
They're also intimately familiar with the elasticity of price for everything they sell. If a manufacture comes to them with Product A, Walmart won't purchase Product A if they can't price it at the optimal point for their target market (which encompasses a large cross section of the general population). But their procurement volume is so high that they can commit to absurdly large order quantities. So instead of just walking away, they'll work with the manufacture to comb through the bill of materials and adjust things such that a Variant B of Product A can be produced more efficiently or cheaply, then sold to Walmart at a wholesale rate that allows them to hit their target retail price. This can be as simple an adjustment as reducing a 3 year warranty down to a 1 year warranty. Or swapping out a fragile but sleek looking component with a more robust but worse looking (or heavier) component, thereby reducing expected warranty claims and overall product cost. Or if they feel a particular component is likely to not be used by 90% of their purchasers (i.e. a marketing gimmick the manufacturer threw in for differentiation) they'll ask for it to be removed. Or if a particular component is overbuilt for their audience they'll ask it to be swapped out with a lower quality component (keeping in mind that Walmart has lots of data from returns to understand what does and doesn't work well). Or it could be a feature that is turned off/disabled to give the manufacturer cover for selling (and letting Walmart sell) the product below the equivalent product sold to other retailers.
Keep in mind that returns and warranty claims all cost money, as well. And at the volume of sales Walmart has, even minor increases in these can have very noticeable increases in costs/decreases in profitability and negate the entire benefit of creating a new product variant to hit a specific price point. So in that vein, you can be sure that the new variant will meet the consistent quality expectations of products purchased at Walmart, even if they don't necessarily meet the quality expectations you might have of purchasing that brand elsewhere. It's basically a private label product commissioned by Walmart that still happens to have the manufacturer's brand name attached to it.
Target and other large retailers do the same thing, they just don't necessarily have the volume to have enough leverage to get manufacturers to do it on as many things as Walmart does, nor the internal competencies to do it at such a deep level. They also have different points of price sensitivity for products, based on the particular demographics of their consumers. You're more likely to see fuzzying around with quantities/volumes instead, since the primary manufacturing run is the same and you only require a custom pack during final packaging.
And to that point, manufacturers do the same thing themselves frequently. Consumers are price sensitive and manufacturers for years have been absorbing price increases on raw materials while maintaining price points. They do so by either maintaining the same quality of individual units and just silently shaving off quantity, or else decreasing the quality and maintaining quantity. These changes usually come along with refreshes/redesigns of product packaging, in an attempt to mask them from notice.
Shopping at a local Walmart 20 years ago was an unpleasant experience. Junk in the aisles, which were quite narrow, making it hard to maneuver past other shoppers. Insufficient fluorescent lighting. All kinds of things that spoke "cheap". Just overall bad.
Nowadays, there's little to distinguish Target from Walmart... aside from the red vs. blue color scheme.
I guess the trick only works because it's a safety sensitive business, and the same approach wouldn't work for, say, a supermarket or a jewelry brand.
Granted their current website is fairly decent/usable.
They offer lots of good quality things, so better to say they have the best price/quality ratio.
They sometimes also buy everything you have to get a cheaper price (a friend of mine has a rather large vegetable farm, and they offered to buy literally all the produce to get a lower price.. he doesn't have to deal with sales that year, and they get it cheaper).
I like aldi, and buy a bunch of stuff there (i'm not sponsored by them), but at the same time, you know what you're buying - need a drill? They sell a perfectly ok one for really cheap... for a casual user, who uses a drill once every few months.
What I don't like is some other stores selling the same items (just branded differently) for 2x the price. If you need a good drill for professional use, there are just a few companies that make them good - and you probably know them all. If you need something cheap, you'll get it cheaper at a store like aldi (or lidl, or similar) than at [hardware store] under their brand, or even some reputable brands.
This was sold here for 30eur at aldi.
Gorenje is/was a reputable brand here, and they sell theirs for 50eur:
Just look at the photos and compare.
I'm Dutch and I didn't know that. I don't buy shoes frequently enough to notice such things, so I might be fooled by their looks.
So the looks matter.
Shopping isn't just about the products themselves. It's also about the experience of shopping, wouldn't you say? If I had to choose between cheap + bad shopping experience and cheap + nice shopping experience, the latter would be a no-brainer!
Ratner merely put down the last piece that flipped almost the whole board. Marketing is usually the uphill struggle to persuade anyone looking at the board that "white is winning" when it is really anyone's game.
But eventually one piece is played, often a public failure, and everyone realises the board was destined to be black anyway.
It's much harder to play this marketing game when you are selling costume jewellery or other fashion lead items. And the odds of someone flipping the board are high without you realising it.
But people play it that way anyway.
What made the brand successful wasn't what Ratner thought it was.
The word at hand here is 'hubris'. Successful people slowly lose touch with the rest of the world and eventually make a colossal screw-up.
There's probably a counterfactual universe where he remained in his position, he learned a valuable lesson on keeping his mouth shut in public, and the company re-branded and recovered on a similar trajectory.
It wasn't, the company was going from strength to strength.
And whether "eventually it would flip" is another thing, and is irrelevant to this argument. Sure, every company will go down at some point.
That doesn't validate the idea put forward that this was some kind of "final piece" and the company was ready to flip anyway. There's absolutely no evidence for that. Your argument presupposes what it should prove.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
- The Sun Also Rises
I like to think I’d prefer Apple products over the competition and pay a premium for them even if I didn’t know Jobs or Ive, or watched the marketing videos - but I’m not entirely sure these days. I Tim Cook said Apple products were super cheap to produce, or Ive said he didn’t design any of them and had some intern do it, would sales tank?
A Rolex and a Timex will both tell you the time. An iPhone and a $129 Android will do mostly similar things. A Toyota Camry and a Porsche will both get you to work.
But practical utility and value aren't necessarily the most important thing.
Apple intuitively understood this, at a time when other computer companies didn't. Lots of people look at a Macbook and see an overpriced computer that costs a few hundred dollars more than a similarly equipped PC, albeit in a pretty case. But that's the point - lots of people want their computer to look good!
Apple products are relatively cheap to produce - and they make an enormous margin on their hardware. But it doesn't feel cheap. The boxes are substantial. The finishings are high quality. The user experience is taken care of. Other PC makers might have been much cheaper, but you notice that to do so, they've cut corners in places.
I don't think the lesson here is in what he said, but rather that he made his customers feel like idiots. Only a fool would believe that a ring for £1 has the level of quality and craftsmanship that you'd get with a £100 ring, but you don't want to feel like a dumbass for buying it. You don't go to McDonalds with expectations of buying a Michelin Star meal. You go there for something warm & tasty, that comes out quickly.
That's not the practical utility people want out of a Porsche. They want the practical utility of impressing people (including the other sex), appearing well off and sporty, etc.
Those are also practical considerations - just not the first that come to mind when one thinks of cars (although not very far).
(Practical as in: not aesthetic but with real life impact on real life goals).
>Apple products are relatively cheap to produce
So they say, but e.g. other manufacturers tried for the first 2-3 years years to get a tablet with the specs of the iPad, and still couldn't get theirs at a lower price...
Or how if you add the same SSD/video/memory/CPU/etc options to a PC laptop, you get close to the same prices. I know cause I've tried to build an equivalent Lenovo (and a few other brands) and it gets so close I might as well just get the MBP.
And it's not gonna do that if the CEO shits on his own product. Things that are good because they are good are less vulnerable than things whose value comes from being impressive because of marketing.
If your priorities are telling time, having a smartphone, and commuting to work, I agree with you. But I think the more expensive products you mention offer things the cheaper products don't.
For example, I'd rather have a Camry if I needed a family car with a reasonable total cost of ownership. I'd want a Porsche if I wanted a fast & sporty car.
I think stronger examples would be comparing cheap & quality products that both cater to the same market segment. For example, making a cheap car that cuts corners on expensive parts like emissions controls, safety equipment, and stitching in the seats, but making it look & feel like a Camry. Eventually that a line of cheap cars will develop a reputation for being an overpriced junky deathtraps, and no amount of marketing will hide that.
Also, in many cases, Japanese luxury models under their own nameplate were sold under the parent company name overseas, like in Japan. For instance, the original Acura NSX was the Honda NSX elsewhere.
My takeaway is that between two similar products, once people discover what is really going on, will they feel misled? And can people become informed in the first place?
In the case of Lexus vs Gotta, I'd guess informed consumers won't feel mislead. In the case of quality Camry vs a junky FauxCamry, it's more about being marketing in the FauxCamry that deceptively over promises is on a car that under delivers.
I think I've stretched this analysis about as much as I can.
There are reasons for owning a watch other than "tell the time," which could include "tell the time accurately without ever needing to change batteries," or "tell the time and date," or "tell the time while scuba diving."
Rolex may be overkill but different watches serve different roles, and it's not just brand name alone that makes Rolex cost orders of magnitude more - in many ways, it really is just that much better of a product. Same for Camry vs Porsche.
An Apple product, particularly a Macbook, on the other hand, not so much. It's a nice aluminum chassis over crappy, cheap internals that break so often people throw around words like "class action" to describe the keyboards. It's like cramming a knock-off Timex movement into a Rolex case.
A Casio is going to tell the time better than a Rolex. Quartz watches are much more precise, and they’re powered by batteries, so last much longer without any maintenance. Rolex is simply in the segment of high quality, hand made mechanical watches. A segment people like for reasons other than its precision in keeping time.
I was shopping for a dev laptop about a year or two ago, and it was more like double the price rather than just a few hundred dollars more.
An XPS 15 with 32GB RAM, a decently speedy 1TB SSD, the basic display, dedicated graphics, and a 5.0 GHz 8 core i9 costs like $2.3K .
I couldn't customize the XPS enough to do a direct comparison. But the XPS 15 with the almost the same specs as the MacBook other than having an i7 was about 1.6K.
• 0 https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro/15-inch
• 1 https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/new-xps-15-lapt...
For people interested in reading further, Marx's Capital is excellent at defining these terms very precisely:
But you'll look damn good sitting at the side of the road...
People making these decisions often claim their choices are made on purely rational grounds. But why then do large companies choose to spend so much money marketing things like Kubernetes, React, MongoDB, Red Hat Linux, etc? Surely these high-quality projects would stand their own in a marketplace of open code even without the money...
Some software companies like Oracle tell their stories primarily to corporate buyers, and developers sneer at them, thinking they're too smart to fall for that. Other companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have learned to tell their stories in ways that leave developers oblivious that they're being marketed to.
As a young lady my GF used to sell her handmade costume Jewelry on the street in New York. She said the key to selling was a card with a story. That was the difference between selling a brooch made of glass, brass and random bits held together with glue for $10-20 and not selling at all.
Things are different with utility items. I remember a retailer (my brain won't cough up the name, but every man over 40 would recognize them). He said his brand was, well made spiffy but not too spiffy men's clothes. His profit margin depended an a working age man being able to go in, buy a couple of shirts, pants, and a coat knowing he wouldn't look like a dork when he wore them to work.
I feel like that's Apple products too.
I don't buy Apple products for its story. I buy Apple products because I don't have to spend time doing tech support/dealing with malware for my parents and if something breaks I can go get a replacement at the Apple store immediately.
What story does one of the most expensive paintings of all time, Jackson Pollock #5, tell?
Care to elaborate what your distinction here is? I don't see it.
Comparing a windows laptop with highier specs with a macbook is like to compare a stupid blonde with big tits with a smart, classy and well tempered brunette. The cover is flashier and catch the attention on first sight but it's a burden to live with on a daily basis.
Which means that (i) they'll lookup the price and be upsold a package on Ryanair.com rather than finding the price and a different hotel deal on some other price comparison site and (ii) they'll still buy tickets from Ryanair.com at non-promotional rates when they're actually not the cheapest airline offering a viable route and time. And of course (iii) he can fill his flights without sharing revenues with online travel agents and other affiliates, though other low cost airlines without the reputation for taking things to extreme lengths manage that.
Although part of it's probably just his style. Not sure there was any strategy to his comments that "I don't care if no-one likes me. I'm not a cloud bunny or an aerosexual. I don't like aeroplanes. I never wanted to be a pilot like those other platoons of goons who populate the airline industry..."
I wonder if the aggressive upselling during the booking flow is part of this marketing too. If you really want the cheapest possible flight you will carefully decline all upsells and double-check the final bill for surcharges. This makes you feel you’ve shrewdly whittled the price down as far as possible.
Another way of looking at it is it just wears the customer down. If the booking flow were too smooth and didn’t include many points where the customer is forced to decline added luxuries, then you might be more likely to pause before confirming the transaction, and maybe open EasyJet’s site for a quick price comparison.
When you entrust care of people you love to a company, you tend to expect more than capitalism tuned to the extreme.
And before you ask, yes, that’s exactly what happened to a family member of mine. “Wheelchair assistance” never showed up.
What about the one incident in 2004 when they had to be taken to the High Court, on behalf of hundreds or thousands, to provide the legally required wheelchair transfers? Or the one incident where the disabled lad was left behind a day? Or the many one incidents disabled users have reported of being dropped from Ryanair flights because the airline couldn't be arsed to spend the time? Or the many single incidents of wheelchair users reporting that despite the UK and Irish court rulings Ryanair weren't allowing access to the wheelchair at the destination airports?
I've never heard of the incident you mention btw, but the thousands of reports are plenty to give me a view of Ryanair were I ever to end up disabled.
So, no not worth it for the slight difference of price they offer.
I rode the Pittsburgh to Washington D.C./Baltimore route on May 20th 2019.
One case that comes to mind is Ikea with this DIY approach. Is it the most convenient way to buy furniture? Not really given the work you need to do. Prof Moon argues that this paradoxically creates a stickiness to the brand because you have invested something (time and effort).
Another one is the "In-n-out" burger joint(Forgive me if I have gotten the name wrong). Apparently, it takes a full 15-20 minutes to get a burger here but it is thriving in-spite of this difficulty because people know they're not getting some frozen processed food.
No passenger thinks he’s a lovable scamp or a shrewd businessman. They just buy the fare they can afford and justify, if it happens to be Ryanair then ... grin and bear it.
Ryanair don’t fly to London btw. Or Brussels.
I have wasted too much of my time in delayed trains trying to get into London to believe that.
And based on travel times you could add some other airports to that list of London Airports. Southampton Airport is faster to get to than Stansted or Luton for a lot of Londoners. And with HS2 BHX could probably change its name too.
Ryanair demand subsidies from local governments to fly to far-flung airports. They can hold these governments hostage, as often the airports fail if they stop their service. Of course, this could be seen as simply "bad management" by our local governments.
And to finish, though this is something that applies to all airlines : no VAT or "eco" tax, that the rest of us have to pay.
In a sense, economics is entirely about what people like and dislike.
I’m sure positive externalities are a thing, but direct benefits to one party in a transaction aren’t externalities.
Of course, nobody is twisting the arm of these politicians. But the fact remains that Ryanair is exploiting this weakness to avoid paying themselves.
Type "Ryanair airport subsidies" in google and have a look at the first couple of titles. It's a mess that has been going on for 10 years now and is only now slowly being called a halt to.
Brussels itself is only 1h54 from central London!
And that distance stuff is normal, because on the longer distances you're going on high-speed trains. If you were a Millwall (a London team) fan who lived just south of The Den and by some divine chance you were to play Arsenal (another London team) at The Emirates (god forbid), it'd take you just as long by transit to get there as it would take someone who's commuting from Market Harborough (80 miles North) to St. Pancras (London's big international rail terminus). But it's laughable to claim that Market Harborough is part of London or that either of the Emirates and the Den are not.
That image will keep them going right up until they have a fatal crash, at which point the press, the government, and victims’ attorneys will use every word he has ever said about being cheap to crucify him and the company. Given their volume of flights, a fatal crash is statistically likely to happen at some point. I would be very careful ever making such statements if I were in such an industry.
Southwest has one of the best, if not the best, safety records of all major air carriers.
They are smaller than Southwest on most (not all) metrics, but in the same ballpark.
Their only accident is a bird strike causing 8 minor injuries.
True, but Southwest does not have a CEO that openly flaunts their being cheap either.
They've never had a major crash in almost 35 years.
I once won 15 hands of blackjack in a row, but then I lost a hand. Even the most expensive airlines eventually have fatal incidents, and it would be statistically improbable for Ryanair to not eventually have one as well. They may have an amazing safety record and stellar maintenance program, but the nature of flight is such that it is likely to eventually happen (perhaps through no fault of their own) if they are in business long enough. Whether “cheapness” will actually be a factor in that incident or not, people will take his prior statements and run with them.
All I was saying is that making such statements in a high-risk industry is not a fantastic idea, as those words may come back to bite him.
So your entire argument is people are dumb and they will make unwarranted associations. Brilliant
My argument is that it is idiotic for a CEO in such an industry to make comments about being cheap. It leaves the door open for people to place blame when an accident occurs. It’s like talking to the police if they want to interrogate you. It can’t help, but it can hurt. Why would you risk it?
The guy is doing a cheap airline, not an unsafe one. He’s not a madman. He’s a ruthless business guy, and he knows a crash due to poor maintenance would end his business.
Because they hurl large, heavy, metal objects with people on them into the sky at hundreds of miles per hour, thousands of times per day. Historically, that activity has resulted in some small percentage of those flights not coming down safely. The math says that it is quite likely to happen over the course of enough flights.
I have flown Ryanair a few times, I’d rather not go than take them today though.
Has Ryanair flown more flights than all the domestic and international commercial jet flights in Australian history? Because there has never been a crash of a commercial jet here despite several near misses.
Safety culture and training has more of a bearing than statistics.
Ironically, I was extremely happy with everything after baggage drop-off. The flight itself was no worse than any other airline, in my eyes (I don't consider ads to meaningfully worsen a flight). The airport (Hahn, serving almost only Ryanair back then) was amazing, with super-friendly airport (not airline!) staff and short walking distances.
But their atrocious web site (AFAIK checking in required you to concatenate two random values and enter them in one form field, in the one working flow out of the 3-4 that were offered) and their outright, aggressive rudeness left a much stronger permanent impression than the (probably low) price, the two-hour bus ride to the middle-of-nowhere airport, or the flight itself.