It’s quite a world we live in these days, is it not? Over the last twenty years, the entire scope of nearly every industry has had to change to keep up with the Internet, in one way or many ways.
Part of me feels like this is a bad time to try and do anything ‘outside the box,’ as in anything that might be somewhat creative or inventive. Why? Because it seems like every time something occurs to me as a good idea, I find out that someone else has already done it. Not only did someone else do it, they did it better than I could ever hope to match.
I suspect that this is largely due to the recent population boom we have experienced in the last century on dear old planet Earth. (I also blame this for the change in dynamic between employers and employees. At least in the U.S., it looks like the supply and demand ratio has shifted from companies needing talented workers to talented workers needing a company to hire them. U.S. companies have the pick of the litter and may opt to select the most convenient candidate.)
Another enormous factor, of course, is the Internet. No more need be said on its impact, because without it, you would not be reading this unless I hand write it into a letter and mailed it to you. Honestly, not likely to happen.
My problem with ingenuity arises when I get online shortly after having what I think is a pretty good idea. Before convenient access to the intarwebz, the only way I might find out that my idea was derivative is from friends, family, or a chance encounter with the derived concept in the library or on television. Now, though, I may type a few keywords related to my idea into my handy dandy search engine and feel the doors shut on my creative aspirations.
This feeling is, without question, tied into my depression. Perhaps what I ought to feel when seeing these similar (and superiorly executed) concepts is: well, sure, they had an idea like mine, but I can do it better for these reasons.
My brain does not default to such optimistic trains of thought. Usually, it just goes: ugh, I will never have an original thought ever in my life.
(And, clever brain that it is, it then realizes that there is no way I am the first person who thought that to himself. Then it goes on to figure that realization is in no way original, nor is the realization of said lack of originality, nor is…)
(And so it goes on.)
I’m not entirely are how I got onto this subject, which is only tangentially related to what I meant to discuss. I was wanting to talk about the later controversy regarding Amazon and its apparent abuse of power. In seeking a balanced, non-hostile summary of the debacle, I came across this article about three different 800 pound gorillas misbehaving this week.
Is Amazon bad for books? I don’t know. I buy stuff from that company, even books.
Is Google bad for free information? I don’t know. I use their services pretty regularly and generally find them useful for my purposes.
Is Facebook bad for… Actually, I’m not even sure what it is that Facebook is supposed to be doing wrong. I use the service, but not to any great degree. I don’t count on it to find out anything that much matters.
Any company making profits in the billions of dollars is probably bad in one way or another. Nice guys finish last and all that. The individuals involved are not necessarily bad, and the people who use their products or arrives are not necessarily bad.
The article I linked to is probably not particularly fair or balanced about this issue. With each monster corporation’s foul play listed, they posit the question: what can you do about it?
The fact of the matter is you can’t do a single thing. One person, even a particularly famous or popular person, cannot change the flow if this raging river. It would take something on the order of millions of people acting in a coordinate movement to change any of these companies.
But people will, overall, stick the the convenient and the cheap. Heck, that’s what I will do. I have to, if I want to have these services and products, because I do not have a lot of money to throw around right now. Facebook is the most convenient way for technologically limited family members to stay in touch with me. Google offers enough services that I use that it makes sense to stick with the platform that more or less unifies them. Amazon offers books and other products at prices I can afford.
Something probably needs to change, I do not deny this.
I just don’t know where we could possibly think to start.