Gaming the System to be at the top, relying on dumber behavior

The data center industry is complex and difficult to figure out. Listening to many insider conversations where discussion of reality and smart decisions are discussed, I sometimes feel sad that others can't figure out how the system can be gamed against those who build their first data center.

Two examples of games played are illustrated in two blog posts by Seth Godin; one, payola in the system, and two betting on dumber

First the Payola post.

Payola

For twenty years, the Billboard charts were easy to manipulate. By paying radio stations and some retailers, record labels could push an act to the top 40, which would increase sales. People liked buying what they heard on the radio, and the radio played what they thought people were buying.

Billboard changed their methods about twenty years ago, and overnight the acts on the list changed. Suddenly, it became clear that what we were listening to wasn't what we thought it was, and as a result, the marketing of music changed forever.

What gets read on the web can be manipulated as well.

Manipulating social networks is easier still. There are firms that manipulate which stories are posted and which blogs are linked to, and for years there are firms that have worked to manipulate which links come up higher on the search results as well. As these signposts become more, not less, important, there's a significant market opportunity for someone who can, as Billboard did, clean up the charts and make the payola worthless or at least more transparent. In the meantime, be skeptical.

I get exposure to the web eco system as I research and write this blog, interviewing people and getting contacted by the public relations companies.  The ones who get the most exposure are many times the ones with the biggest marketing budgets.  A good example is the data center analyst community.  Those vendors with the biggest budgets get the most time allocated by the analysts.  The more time and money spent allows more opportunity to differentiate the vendors vs. the competitors.  If you don't pay, then an analyst won't spend much time with your companies technology.  The analyst will try to be objective, but their time is allocated based on who has paid for research.

Betting on dumber behavior is another problem.

And most benefit when they work to make their customers dumber. The less they know about options, the easier they are to manipulate, the more helpless they are, the better they do.

The post wants to point how one marketer can change the system by focusing making customers smarter. But...

The vast majority of marketers, though, take the opposite tack. Ask them for advice about their competitors, they turn away and say "I really wouldn''t know." Ask them for details about their suppliers, and they don't want to tell you. Ask them to show you a recipe for how to make what they make on your own, and "it's a trade secret." Their perfect customer is someone in a hurry, with plenty of money and not a lot of knowledge about their options.

What is a solution to this problem.

You've already guessed the punchline--if just one player enters the field and works to make people smarter, the competition has a hard time responding with a dumbness offensive. They can obfuscate and run confusing ads, but sooner or later, the inevitability of information spreading works in favor of those that bet on it.

Look for smarter companies.

A few benefit when they make their customers smarter. The more the people they sell to know, the more informed, inquisitive, free-thinking and alert they are, the better they do.

But first question you need to ask is do you want to be smarter? And, wiling to go through the pains of learning and making mistakes.  You can't be smart without realizing when you are dumb.

or are you in a hurry?

Their perfect customer is someone in a hurry, with plenty of money and not a lot of knowledge about their options.