Ramblings & ephemera

These are their brilliant plans to save magazines?

From Jeremy W. Peters’ “In Magazine World, a New Crop of Chiefs” (The New York Times: 28 November 2010): “This is the changing of the guard from an older school to a newer school,” said Justin B. Smith, president of the Atlantic Media Company. The changes, he added, were part of an inevitable evolution in […]

Cloned trucks used to commit crimes

From Brian Ross’ “Fake FedEx Trucks; When the Drugs Absolutely Have to Get There” (ABC News: 18 January 2008): Savvy criminals are using some of the country’s most credible logos, including FedEx, Wal-Mart, DirecTV and the U.S. Border Patrol, to create fake trucks to smuggle drugs, money and illegal aliens across the border, according to […]

If concerts bring money in for the music biz, what happens when concerts get smaller?

From Jillian Cohen’s “The Show Must Go On” (The American: March/April 2008): You can’t steal a concert. You can’t download the band—or the sweaty fans in the front row, or the merch guy, or the sound tech—to your laptop to take with you. Concerts are not like albums—easy to burn, copy, and give to your […]

What Dell learned from Wal-Mart

From Fake Steve Jobs’ “Why Dell will not bounce back” (11 May 2008): On the manufacturing side, Dell figured out faster than the others in its space how to squeeze component suppliers and play them off each other. They brought in loads of former Wal-Mart people to refine this practice. One example: If you want […]

Wal-Mart’s monopsony power damages its vendors

From Barry C. Lynn’s “The Case for Breaking Up Wal-Mart” (Harper’s: 24 July 2006): Instead, the firm is also one of the world’s most intrusive, jealous, fastidious micromanagers, and its aim is nothing less than to remake entirely how its suppliers do business, not least so that it can shift many of its own costs […]

The mirror of monopoly: monopsony … which may be worse

From Barry C. Lynn’s “The Case for Breaking Up Wal-Mart” (Harper’s: 24 July 2006): Popular notions of oligopoly and monopoly tend to focus on the danger that firms, having gained control over a marketplace, will then be able to dictate an unfairly high price, extracting a sort of tax from society as a whole. But […]