Joseph Ratliff Writer, Researcher, Thinker

Category Archives: Following The Rules

One Reason Why #NetNeutrality Is Important

Net Neutrality is extremely important right now, because we are in a near-monopoly market in the ISP world…

Checks and balances in some form are always necessary for a capitalist market.  Otherwise, if left unchecked, the “profit motive” for companies will lead to them exploiting the market for more profit (which is their primary objective).

And then we find a near-monopoly like Comcast et. al…

Right now Net Neutrality is the only “check” for near-monopoly companies like Comcast (and it’s not a great one).  While the Government isn’t who I would pick to maintain this check, the companies will NOT do it themselves … soooo…

If left unchecked Comcast et. al would try every way possible to extract every single dollar out of their customer’s pockets that they could (beyond what they already do). No additional value would be provided, though value would be “packaged” LIKE it was being added.

These companies sell access to the Internet, and that is all it should ever be.  But the profit motive has led to these ISP’s attempting to package “usage” as the “fair” way to sell services.

And that is complete bullshit.  They sell access, and speed of access … that’s it.  One price, one access point, and that is all.

With a LOT more competition and consumer choice in the ISP market, perhaps regulations wouldn’t be as necessary as the market would regulate itself to “some” degree.

But regulations will always be necessary to some degree (whatever that is) when it comes to ubiquitous services like Internet access.  Because as we’re finding out now, companies like Comcast / Xfinity are getting set to exploit their market for dollars again.

Folks, Comcast doesn’t care … they just want to reach as deep into your wallet as you’ll let them … period.

Why You Need to Forget About the “Elevator Pitch”

An edited version of an older article I wrote that was deleted by accident.

Forget the elevator pitch.

In fact, forget the idea entirely … don’t practice one … don’t even say the words ever again.

Here’s why I think so, what you should do instead, and why that will work.

Let’s start with the obvious, we’re human beings.

Not an earth-shattering concept right?

So, if you think about/form an “elevator pitch” in the traditional sense, we are basically saying it’s a numbers game.

We’re going to say the same thing or a variation of the same thing to every potential customer, client, or vendor so they can get a clear idea of what our business is about in a short period of time.

Some will get it, some won’t, but forget the rest… or try to explain your business to those folks if you have to.



We are human beings … and there are so many variables at play when attempting to do this, we cannot possibly account for them all … so I have a better idea…

Just start a natural, meaningful, and dare I say it, human conversation … and where it’s natural and appropriate, talk about your business and what it offers.

Just let the conversation flow.

Because you’re not a billboard for your business, you’re a human being for crying out loud!

And so is the person you’re talking to.

Now, you might be thinking…

“Joe, you’re a moron, an elevator pitch is something short and pithy designed to express ‘what you do’ in a short period of time… like an elevator ride.”

To which I ask you a question… dear reader…

Which is more valuable to the person you’re talking to:

1. A concise billboard ad about your business, or…

2. A conversation that is interesting, adds value, and naturally leads to a deeper discussion about your business and what it offers the potential customer, client, or vendor (and perhaps, a discussion of the value they might have for you).

Which leads to the next natural question…

How do you start that conversation?

And this is the most important part of this article…

Why on earth would you start (or continue) a natural conversation with a walking billboard ad?

Or, even if you have well-developed “elevator pitch” that is interesting to the other person … how deeply effective is that really?

That’s why I wrote this, because I’m going to develop this thought further.

I know I’m NOT the smartest person in the massive room of life, so I will learn a lot while I explore this important topic.

I hope you will too.

Gun Toting Health Enforcers

By Bill Bonner – Chairman of Bonner and Partners

(reprinted here with permission)

When we left Baltimore on Friday, the Dow was still going up. Gold was still going down.

The Fed was still hinting it would begin tapering its bond-buying program (QE) soon… or maybe not.

The economy was still recovering… or maybe it wasn’t.

And the Red Sox were still favored to win the World Series.

We woke up Sunday morning in New York with a copy of the New York Times at our door. What caught our eye in the paper was the sad saga of “Obamacare.”

The Affordable Care Act, to give it its official name, seems to set off emotional outbursts. Conservatives are agin’ it. Liberals are for it. And the New York Times, journal of record for the liberal intelligentsia, is so livid at Republicans and conservatives for opposing it, the Old Gray Lady can’t think straight.

On Saturday night, we had a conversation with a Yankees fan:

“What’s the matter with Republicans, anyway?” she asked, as if we might have an insight. “They look like idiots trying to shut down the government over Obamacare. The health-care system in this country is terrible. At least Obama is trying to come up with a better system.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Republicans, in general,” we replied. “But they’re not necessarily wrong to oppose Obamacare. And shutting down the government is not necessarily a bad thing.”

We began to explain our why. But it was hopeless. Our interlocutor was convinced that the public’s health could be improved by earnest politicians and policymakers… and that anyone who tried to stop them was just a mossbacked troublemaker.

Ripping Off the Young

The Times’ editorial on Sunday took the same position.

Yes, some private companies were forced to cancel their insurance programs. But the voluntary arrangements made between buyers and sellers of insurance were of little interest. Because the insurance policies now prohibited by Obamacare were “not worth keeping.”

How did it know?

“Some had deductibles as high as $10,000,” the Times reported.

What’s wrong with a high deductible? It is just the plan most people should have, in our opinion. Because it protects against health calamities, but leaves most of the purchasing power (and decision making) in your own hands.

It also discourages you from going to the doctor too often or taking too many drugs. Health care is like everything else. A little of it is probably a good thing. A lot of it is disastrous… expensive… and sometimes deadly.

The Times goes on to tell us that old people will come out ahead under Obamacare, but that health insurance premiums “will likely go up for younger, healthier patients.”

Right. Rip off young people!

But who cares what we think? Not the Times or the Obama administration! They know best about what kind of health care we need – and everything else. And since they have the NSA, the FBI, the IRS, the CIA, the SEC the TSA… and the whole panoply of gun-toting enforcers behind them… what THEY want is what WE get.

Bully Tactics

Can you really improve people’s health by bullying them around?

Funny how one thought leads to another, whether you want it to or not.

We have been wondering about the use of force and violence in the modern world. Does it pay? we ask, even when it is used to “fight terrorism?”

Our answer: Maybe not.

As we all know, terrorism is such a threat to Western civilization and our way of life that we’re willing to spend at least a trillion dollars a year (including the Pentagon budget) to protect ourselves.

We send out unmanned aircraft to kill people we’ve never met… or even heard of. And we give the spooks at the NSA and elsewhere billions of dollars (they won’t tell us how much) and let them hire thousands of employees (they won’t tell us how many) and let them do pretty much whatever they damn well please (they won’t tell us what).

But guess what. It doesn’t work. Why not?

Stay tuned…