My Comment On Comcast’s Net Neutrality Comments

Comcast recently clarified their position on net neutrality (link to Twitter hashtag).

Their comments are in this announcement from their corporate website.

I posted a comment to that discussion, and as of this post, it was still being “approved” by Comcast Voices.  Just in case it doesn’t, I screen captured the comment I left, and placed the image here:

My Comcast Comment

My Comcast Comment

Now, if they do in fact post the comment, then I will update here.  If they don’t, well … there is a back up record.

I also Tweeted…

And The Big 5 Publisher Whining Continues…

Steven Zacharius, a respected CEO for Kensington Publishing, responded to my comment from this post on Hugh Howey’s blog.

Here is what he said:

Readers have not spoken. Amazon has spoken. There job for their shareholders is to build their companies bottom-line. They’re doing this by capturing marketshare by discounting prices and eating the difference when they want to. They can afford to do this because of their size. They can absorb taking a loss to capture readers into their proprietary system because they’re making money from other things like distributing other products and their many service….Amazon Web Services, which hosts websites.

Here was my reply to him on the same blog…

Amazon isn’t saying anything, that influences why I buy from them or not. It’s what they DO that influences why I buy books from them.

They take care of the customer, they provide good shipping options, and they know how to pack a book. Then, there is their selection, I can find any title (just about) that I want from them.

Yes, Steven, the readers “speak” with their dollar.

But let’s address a few of your points, one by one…

1. You said: “There job for their shareholders is to build their companies bottom-line. They’re doing this by capturing marketshare by discounting prices and eating the difference when they want to.”

Okay, and? They are a for-profit business and not a charity, correct?

2. You said: “They can afford to do this because of their size.”

Okay, and? They have built their business to that “size,” which has nothing to do with monopolizing a market (if the market is big enough, and the book market is). Also, I don’t think Hachette is exactly “small,” right Steven?

And, in terms of pricing, which people seem to keep using as a point towards the supposed “Amazon bullying” theme … if pricing is all you can compete on … then Amazon will win the battle, and that’s business plain and simple.

Oh yeah, and low price for a title, all other things being equal in the value equation for a product like a book, is what a customer will pick… IF there is no other value to exchange for their dollar.

3. You said: “They can absorb taking a loss to capture readers into their proprietary system because they’re making money from other things like distributing other products and their many service….Amazon Web Services, which hosts websites.”

Okay, and? So, Amazon built their business by correctly placing business “bets” in various areas, and their results shine. I would have to ask is Hachette competing with Amazon as a whole, or just doing the “book business” better than Amazon (hint: Hachette’s trying to bite the whole elephant)?

Do I want just one company providing me everything in certain categories, like Amazon does? Well, if that’s the best option for my money, the best “value” … then yes.

BUT … the reason Wal-Mart hasn’t killed off every single business in the categories they sell within their stores … and the same theory will apply to Amazon…

… is there are businesses who add unique value where they can differentiate FROM the behemoths like Wal-Mart and Amazon.

I shop them (hint: I don’t go to Wal-Mart, ever, for anything … and it’s because I’ve found the businesses that do it “better” because price isn’t my first consideration).

So let’s get back to this pricing thing…

Hachette wants to sell ebooks at a higher price point, Amazon wants to sell ebooks at a lower price point (remember, this is the digital world).

Do you think that Amazon is trying to keep those prices down “because it can” or perhaps because they’ve recognized that they can sell more units, “turn” more ebooks that way?

Digital provides profit continuously, because of the unlimited shelf space.

Hachette wants to raise prices on ebooks because it wants to maintain the price point (or justify the price point) of their print versions.

There really isn’t another reason to try so hard and keep prices closer to the rest of their product line, when the market (the readers, who speak with their dollars) wants to pay much lower prices for the digital product in the first place.

I’m not saying print will die, or anything like that … but I am saying that print had better find a way to price itself closer to the digital market IF Hachette wants to keep that business running smooth.

Because in the end, you’re right, Amazon is a mighty big company who has a proven track record of successfully placing the right “bets” in business, especially when it comes to online selling.

Does Hachette, even at its size (and profits, they aren’t poor either) want to compete with a giant like Amazon on what has proven to be THEIR battleground (digital business)?

If I were Hachette, I would start by listening to guys like J.A. Konrath, Hugh Howey, and Barry Eisler … and listen to them very closely.

Because time is running out for outdated publishing business practices, and Amazon figured that out a LONG time ago.

Why The Publishing Price “Fight” Is Totally Unnecessary

Too much focus on “the number” here.

$4.99, $15.99, heck $99.99 … so what? The market of readers won’t buy something they do not value in e-format. The traditional publishing companies, if they don’t realize that, and are too hung up on the “price” … will suffer a greater loss as competition “prices” them out of the market.

But this price argument turns these books into commodities if that’s the only argument being made, though. Are books commodities? I hope not.

I hope they have some value beyond price alone.

But the reader (like me) will determine that. I don’t make that decision based on the format of the book, though. I make that decision based on content value in the book. The author themselves doesn’t play much of a role, unless it is an author that has earned my trust and hard earned money.

Do you want your books to become Milk at the grocery store?

But in the end, when we realize the market (readers) has likely already spoken, and that is why Amazon is setting the price at $9.99 or lower (because it understands the digital market better than any company I’ve seen thus far) … we can realize this “fight for prices” has already been “won.”

Traditional publishing companies are in quicksand right now, the more they fight, the more they sink. And I hope Mr. Preston and his friends all realize that THEY do not set the market, the market sets the market.

If they think they are something special, they’re about to get a serious wake up call. There is WAY too much content available, competing for the limited attention of the readers.

The way I see it, content (supply) is high, and reader attention (demand) is low … therefor the price will go down. Basic economics. The platform (Amazon and e-readers etc…) only accelerates the price race to the bottom (IF books are thought of as a commodity).

Left as a comment on this post.

What Life Is And What Life Isn’t

Life is…

  • That funny sign or moment that you and your family talk about for hours in one day.
  • Looking up in the sky and wondering “How small am I?”
  • Getting lost while driving somewhere, and finding something even more exciting.
  • The look on your kid’s face when they realize your wisdom helped them “connect the dots.”
  • The first cup of coffee in the morning, on the back deck, on a crisp Fall morning … in silence.
  • Noticing that someone placed three turtles in the pond you walk by every morning.
  • Noticing three more baby turtles a few months later.
  • Opening your Twitter account and coming to the realization that it’s just a tool, nothing more, so “meh.”
  • Just slowing down for the first time in your life to realize that you’ve already been given all the gifts you need.
  • Your son or daughter’s first sports championship … and the look on their face when they’ve won.
  • Thinking.
  • Reflecting.
  • Thanking.
  • Writing.
  • Drawing.
  • Sharing.
  • Reading.
  • Pursuing a thought-experiment in the attempt to solve a bigger world problem.
  • Writing a book in the attempt to help people improve their lives.
  • Realizing you have too much useless stuff.
  • Realizing why you have so much useless stuff, and the impact it’s had on your life.
  • Getting rid of that useless stuff.
  • Realizing you’re not alone, that other people have the same fears, faults, and pretty much the same life as you do.
  • Realizing that since you’re not alone, you can do whatever you want to improve the situation after reading this post.
  • Realizing that life isn’t handed to you on some silver platter, and you are the only one who can impact your life in any meaningful way.
  • Realizing you’re in fact distracted by the links included in this post.
  • Realizing that some (not all) of our technology is completely useless and only there to pull money out of your wallet.
  • Realizing this list is not complete, but that anyone reading this post can complete their own list of what life is.

What life isn’t…

  • The stuff you own.
  • The competition behind the stuff you own.
  • Beating the “Jones’es”.
  • How successful you are.
  • What you look like.
  • About trying to look like “that model in the magazine” (male OR female).
  • Buying the latest purse.
  • Buying the latest wallet.
  • About having the biggest house.
  • Creating an economic system that benefits only you and a select group of others in your wealth or political class.
  • Your opinion “winning.”
  • Greed.
  • Selfishness.
  • Envy.
  • 80 hour workweeks.
  • 60 hour workweeks.
  • Having your kids being raised at daycare all their lives.
  • “Sacrificing” any part of your limited life in the name of some mega-corporation that really won’t give a shit that you did sacrifice.
  • “Trolling” in the sense of the online world.
  • Spamming.
  • Being insecure about yourself.
  • Policing each other with the intent of catching people doing something wrong (which biases your judgment of their doing).
  • Damage to the environment.
  • The latest “fashion trend” which is designed to get you to spend your money on a schedule (nothing more).
  • Upgrading to the latest gadget for no reason other than to be the “first” with it.
  • Scamming other people out of their hard-earned money.
  • Endless, mindless consumption.
  • Remaining a mindless drone.
  • About continuing to think about the superficial.
  • The endless pursuit of perfection.
  • Money.
  • Only choosing A or B.
  • About being a dick.
  • About failing to make personal changes as a result of reading the 2nd part of this big list.

Well, that covers the stuff I’ve thought about for the last couple years.  Will add more as it comes up.

Please, if you’ve found this post to be helpful, share it with others using the buttons below…

The Enormity Of It All

Life is enormous.

There are trillions of stars, 644 million websites on the Internet, 350 million (or so) people in the United States, 6 (or so) million people in my home State of Washington … and on, and on…

That’s just some numbers.

Have you ever thought about the enormity of your own life?  You come from billions of years of evolution, and LIVE 80 or so years on this pale blue dot.  We can think, empathize, create, suffer, be happy … and die.

We can touch other people emotionally and physically.

Does any of that amaze you?  All of it should.

When you understand all of the cells, atoms, pieces, and processes that make up just one of anything … it should amaze you.

All of it, working in harmony, every day (hopefully we don’t destroy it).

But don’t worry, you don’t have time for any of this … do you?

You’ve got 24 hour shipping, emails, your smartphone, texts, Tweets, and all of the meaningless stuff you have in storage to sort through (again).

You don’t have to worry about the enormity of it all.  But, I hope I had you thinking about it, at least for a little bit.

Actually, I hope you’ll take some time to take the enormity of all of the important stuff in, whatever that means to you.

Then just breath, take 3 more minutes, and watch this:


Now you can go back to your regular life, but I hope you’ll see it differently.