Monday, January 09, 2017

1744 Sloan's Big Idea

When Alfred Sloan of GM invented planned obsolescence, he understood that "upgrades" were a crap shoot.  The public would decide whether it was worth trading in their 1947 Pontiacs for the "new, improved" 1948 Pontiacs.  Sloan bet they would want to and he was right for the most part.

In this age, crap shoots are reserved for casinos including the various financial markets.  But planned obsolescence was no longer adequate and enforced obsolescence took its place.

The shine of newness has dulled.  But the need to sell stuff has not diminished.  So now rather than entice you, companies force you to buy new stuff.  

Hence a perfectly good computer operating system like Windows XP was costing Microsoft multi millions of dollars each year as people decided there was no reason to "upgrade."

Plausible deniability.  New systems added actual improvements to some computer functions. And always with forced marched you to buy new gizmos to because your old ones no longer worked with the new software.

You “upgraded” to Vista which should have been called “Dizasta” and then to WIN7 which actually was better.  So much so that when WIN8 appeared you could still specify the much better “7” and you had to pay extra for the “downgrade.”  Eight was worse than “Dizasta” to the point where Microsoft distanced itself by skipping 9 and going directly to ten, which everyone says is “7” in a better dress.

It’s not just cars and computer operating systems. Almost everything is subject to planned obsolescence.

The makers of Gibson guitars were in love with the word “advanced.”  Basically, here’s what happened:  they came out with a new model.  When sales slowed, they made a slightly bigger version and called it “advanced.”  They had more “advanced” stuff than a Monopoly game.  That extra inch?  Not much of an advancement.  But they sold a lot of wood that way.

What is the difference between an MP3 and an MP4?  One. And not much else.

Can you see the “improvement” of a Blu Ray disc over a DVD?  Do you get better care than you used to from Northwell Health than you did when it was merely North Shore Hospital?

And finally, would Alfred P. Sloan have gotten a better education at MIT/Sloan than he did at Brooklyn Poly?

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