Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Imagine walking into a casino – with the usual poor lighting and hypnotic sounds of other people winning – and as you're walking through you see person after person hitting their jackpot, some small, some large. Their machines blink and sing and drop shiny coins. People smile.

You put a couple coins into a nearby machine and play a few spins, but nothing quite plays out and your return is minimal at best.

Not quite discouraged, you move to a different machine (maybe one with a different strategy) and try a few spins. Once again, the payoff is almost nothing.

Down to your last few coins, you try a third machine, one that somehow sticks out now that you're down to your last chance.

You put in your last coins and pull the lever. The spinners whirl around, their symbols a blur of colors. Suddenly, the first one clicks in “Lucky 7.” Then the next, Lucky 7 again. And again.

One by one the little cylinders stop on the Lucky 7, all across the line.




The machine remains silent. No celebratory revelry. No lights. No payout.

You stand there in shock.

Then, Kubler Ross sets in: Denial (this is not happening!), Anger (WHAT THE ACTUAL GODDAMN FUCK!!), Bargaining (“Can someone get over here and fix this?”), Depression (“I'll never be lucky again!”), Acceptance (“Maybe casinos aren't for me.”) and in some cases, Resolution (Burn down the casino.)

There are no factories in Eden.
For children of the suburbs, this metaphor rings deep and true.

Here are the reasons why:

Suburban children have strong social incentives as most of the suburban world is comprised of social interaction. This is because everything is already built in the burbs – there's no community barnraising, so to speak.

By design, the means of production are squirreled away nearer the poorer communities, who's members survive on utilitarian skills: recreational drug production, vehicle maintenance, and sex. The result is a disconnect: those raised in the suburbs may have magical ideas about how the world they live in is actually put together/functions, and may reasonably assume its a result of “who you know” rather than what you've produced for who you know. That's “The Secret” as understood by electrical contractor Benjamin Franklin.

Ask most suburbanites about their life goals and the word “Successful!” crashes forth with all the energy of “Totally gonna do it!” Their success formula goes like this: (Right Connections) + (Right Parties) + (Aspirational Sex Partners) x Positivity = Leisure Income.

They want to walk into that casino, hit a jackpot on the first machine, then retire to what they've always aspired to in the first place: pornography producers.
This is a porn magazine.

And if by “pornography” your brain thinks “sex” you should rethink how you've been marketed to market yourself. Ask anyone what they're going to do with their success money and there's only one response: “Travel.”

In the Facebook Age, this means selfies in other countries, a powerful social totem of class aspiration and imagined income potential. The porn you will produce is for yourself in that it will feature you as the subject doing things you will only do once but represent yourself has “having done.”

You will need to read those sentences ten times to let them sink in.

But what if you miss out on the jackpots and porn? What then? How does the ego cope with steady elimination of possible identities?

The Answer: by eliminating the need for multiple identities in the first place.

How? Learn to build or fix something.

That's all there is to it.

And stay out of the casinos.

Stream THE512EP on Soundcloud

My EP "THE512EP" is now available for free streaming on Soundcloud. Five *fantastic* songs that you've probably not heard.

Thank you for giving this music a chance.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Pepsi Problem: What Political Candidates Can Learn From A Can of Coca-Cola

There can only be one.
There's a marketing concept I'm totally making up right now I call "The Pepsi Problem" or "The Pepsi Mistake" depending on how you want to view it. It goes like this:

Coca-Cola is the #1 brand on the planet. There is almost no human being that does not recognize this symbol. The only 'meme' to be more recognizable is Godzilla.

Coke's 'proposition' to consumers is simple, and it delivers on that promise in a way no other brand has.

Here's is Coke's promise: "You are equal."

Here's how they deliver on that promise: NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO ON THE PLANET, a can of Coca-Cola does not differ in price for the poorest or richest, nor does the product. Rich people cannot buy a different Coca-Cola. Poor people are not sold a lesser-quality product in the same can. It is the most democratically accessible product in the history of humankind.

Always second best.
The Pepsi Challenge

In the late 80's/early 90's, the PEPSI company decided to convert soda drinkers based on the taste of their product and initiated a campaign urging consumers to 'take the challenge!'

In doing so, Pepsi (unknowingly?) brought Coca-Cola into its universe - its "thought space" - and once there, Coca-Cola was constantly on the minds of PEPSI drinkers.

Coca-Cola, by contrast, made no comparable mistake: IN THE UNIVERSE OF COCA-COLA, PEPSI DOES NOT EXIST!

There are no other soft drinks in the Coca-Cola universe. Even soda brands owned by the CC company are advertised as being in the "Coca-Cola Family" and NONE of them are advertised alongside/inside the Coca-Cola logo itself.

Be Coca-Cola and Deliver on Democratic Accessibility

Politicians should stop talking about each other - in HRC's case her campaign needs to stop referencing Trump in any way, shape, or form. Trump (PEPSI) cannot exist in their world. Let HIM propose a Pepsi Challenge and let his constituents forever struggle with two personalities in their heads while the HRC camp MUST deliver on the proposition of democratic access: the nation's destitute need to be able to access the same candidate for their proverbial dollar as a billionaire.

Here are some ideas of pragmatic implementation of this philosophy:

  • End 'closed-door' meetings as a matter of policy
  • 'Radical Openeness' - web streams of meetings with donors, constituents, etc to deliver the message the candidate does not offer a "different can of Coke" to anyone under any circumstances.
  • Accountability: Coca-Cola holds its manufacturers to high standards and is able to do so because it maintains LEVERAGE over its production. The company protects its core principles expressed in the brands proposition (democratic access.) Fire anyone that sells access to your office / campaign. 
  • Wipe clean the "Favor Slate" - publicly. All promises made internally prior to this brand reboot must be burned.
  • Cease references to any other candidates and do not respond to their provocations. 20 Questions for Donald Trump on Twitter was your Pepsi Challenge. Ooops.
  • Ensure surrogate brands (VP, public-facing staff, etc) know that Coca-Cola is THE ONLY ONE, but keep the brand mark barely visible. Make sure they deliver on YOUR promise and not theirs. If they veer off the core philosophy and don't deliver, fire/replace them because everything you've built depends on it.
Comments are open.