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Bruce Davis
Interests: I live in sw london, near the thames, where I divide my time between deep hanging out with consumers, working in coffee shops, a busy family life, running (when the weather is rubbish and time is short) and sculling (when the sun's out and time is plentiful).
Recent Activity
You might also argue that brands were a response to the growth of copycat products (and ironically then copycat brands) which made it difficult for buyers to trust that what they were buying was the "real thing" (sic). The real market for 'real' things wasn't always what it seemed. It would also be interesting to think about Groupon as an experience of markets, where buyers are given the real or imagined impression of having the power in the buyer/seller relationship by asserting their collective 'demand' to reduce the price. Although there is no guarantee you really needed the thing that everyone else wants.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2011 on when did you last see a real market? at potlatch
I'm quite surprised that no-one has pitched a sitcom in the style of the current 2012 - surely "Bankers" has potential? I have now used this 'fast track' experience - oddly the woman on the desk was quite chatty so it became slow track... I was expecting ruthless neo-liberal efficiency.
This post should be used at the start of any university or MBA course on 'marketing'. The idea that people might 'think' about what they consume and produce their own meaning is still light years from the conception of the consumer from which most marketers operate. The world would be a better place if we could somehow unthink unthinking marketing thinking.
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2010 on the destruction of mourning at potlatch
Would be interested in your views on the Future of Money (I) - James Alexander from Zopa is in there talking about Carlotta Perez and the individual revolution. I think you are right that we blame the banks for making money 'wrong' when in reality they no more control what money is than organised religion controls what ethics are or politicians define what "society" is (big or small!). Although your image of a microsoft world of warcraft had me chuckling - a paper clip appears "you appear to be having problems decapitating that troll queen, would you like some help with that?"
Toggle Commented Oct 7, 2010 on Why now? at Digital Money
Bizarrely, I have just been watching old videos of Camberwick Green with my kids to fill a wet Easter afternoon in which Windy Miller's 'happy (this is 1966 - organic is still to be invented!)eggs' are chosen over Jonathan Miller's 'the modern mechanised farmer' (sic) mass produced eggs by the residents of the Green. JM cannot compete because he couldn't engineer the collection of the eggs in a free range way and cover his costs. He is forced to sell his eggs at the railway junction 'where one egg is much like another as long as they make the grade'. Both are happy (or at least Windy Miller decides not to rub it in too much even though the 'modern farmer' had ridiculed his little egg operation at the beginning of the episode. Optimisation is not only winning in the local economy, it is also morally superior! Cbeebies eat your post modern heart out.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2010 on still against maximisation at potlatch
I await the chance to buy lingerie derivatives on the Meet Market and treat cosmetic surgery as a non-chargeable capital gain in an easy to operate SIPP wrapper. Why didn't Darling include that easy give away today? Britain could be a "world leader" in the creation, accumulation and export of erotic capital. Is that a bubble in your pocket? .... no let's not go there.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2010 on "everything in history happens twice... at potlatch
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Mar 15, 2010
I stand corrected - wish I could say it was a mispent youth of drink and drugs which left the millenium hazy - more likely to have been toddler induced sleep deprivation. My recollection of 2003 - observing people and their money was that was when tax became a more visible component amongst the two groups you mention (more in terms of council tax - which is visible due to its position as a Direct debit on a bank statement rather than relatively invisible and in code on your pay slip. Whether it is a causal relationship or just a correlation - I have seen visibility have big effects where customers can 'compare a meerkat' and get out of Dodge when things get "visible" as a cost i.e. energy - perhaps the loss of trust affected the cloak of invisibility on the stealth tactics?
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2010 on 'Not in my name' at potlatch
I should re-read my posts more - anyhow I have posted an amended conclusion here:
Or perhaps this is when a weakened Blair gave way to Brown's grip on the treasury and we shifted from the politics of opportunity to the politics of envy once more. I am pretty sure that those answering the survey were not voting to increase their own taxes, personally speaking, but rather 're-distribution' of the cake overall (wasn't the term 'stealth tax' invented about this time?). Would it be more interesting if the question was directed at the individual rather than the general?
Toggle Commented Feb 4, 2010 on 'Not in my name' at potlatch
Fair point - quick precis below: Deme (demos) was the basic unit of political participation in ancient athens. It was brought in to replace the aristo dominated tribal groups and formed the basis of 'democracy' - i.e. the myth that the word demos = common people is a later mis-translation; demos merely refers to the organisation of power through districts rather than family ties. A deme provided citizens for government office by lottery - and you tended to stand with your 'deme' on the Pnyx while voting at the Assembly. Parish council doesn't quite do it as a translation - it is a community which is yours from birth and formed the basis of who you were linked to and the people you would fight with. And lend to/from.
Thanks Chris, definitely food for thought and very relevant to the concepts I am trying to get off the ground currently in terms of finding new forms of investment for individuals. Arguably money constantly has to adapt and re-invent itself for new social contexts. It is perhaps not a new version of money that we need but a new philosophical perspective on what money is that frees us from the current institutional mindsets that constrain current beliefs about the possible.
It seems that Merv King agrees with you - his seems to be calling for reform of the banks not more regulatory meddling. Perhaps we can continue this conversation at the CSFI event on the 29th!?
I can see that competition can provide incentives (especially the fear of being overtaken by an octogenarian olympian) but the success of sites like Nike Plus and Concept 2's online rankings shift the competition into a more collective sense of effort. It is perhaps why you get hotspots of physical activity in certain localities, it not just the environment (or lack of it) but also the nudging of examples of real people getting out there and doing it? Also this obsession with sport being linked to 'getting thin' seems counter productive - leave that to the lightweights! (Motto Train more, eat less).
A similar effect can be observed in the ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian 'peace' process. Generally, it is the hardliners who have the political capital to have 'talks' without being 'soft', while the doves end up sending in the tanks and planes (sweeping generalization but unfortunately close to the reality of politics in that part of the world).
Great report, Will, sparking lots of thoughts. One of which is that it is not only a question of nature of the institution itself but the way in which that institution utilises the capabilities of the individuals within it. To paraphrase Amartya Sen, rather than questioning 'what company ought we create' it is to look at 'what companies we can create'. This shift requires a different approach to knowledge and its value within the company. Is it too much to ask us all (companies and individuals) to stop trying to use knowledge as power?
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2009 on Reinventing the Firm published today at potlatch
Thanks for the comment, Thomas. I agree that Zopa doesn't create money as classical economics would describe it, however as you say it is only one convention and definition of money creation. Simmel saw that 'neutrality' and ability to transfer to different fields of value being an ideal it was building towards rather than a statement of its essential reality. Now that we (i.e. politicians) are starting to ask what are the socially useful usages and forms of money (although not in a very mature way : ) ) then we can also ask whether it is better for money to be fluid and constantly moving or more solid and fixed?
I must have missed something somewhere about the google business model being about free. Surely the consumers of google's product are (ironically) the 'producers' - essentially brands and businesses that are too lame/lazy or undifferentiated/unoriginal to get hits on their site by crawling up the search list the old fashioned way so they pay google MONEY (lots of money) to 'consume' prospective customers. As a user of google I am expected to come up with my own search (google doesn't really help with its 'i feel lucky option') in which 'value equation' google is just my trusted agent who doesn't try to spin my search too obviously into the lap of some paying guest. I feel 'enabled' by this and google attracts me further by 'selling' more free stuff to keep me interested in their particular form of dialogue [box]. As an aside (and perhaps the follow up 'blockbuster') there is now some evidence of 'anti-price' in some markets. Quite a few retailers would go bust if it wasn't for the slotting fees they charge to be on their shelves as they spend most of their time loss leading products to get shoppers in the door in the first place. Such activity would be uneconomic if it wasn't for the supplier subsidies. One of such fees referred to it as like 'crack cocaine' for retailers. But maybe I too exaggerate? : )
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2009 on review of Free at potlatch
oops - second 'art' should be 'at least it wasn't money'. it wasn't necessarily art either but I know what I like
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2009 on wedding lists: a socio-economic solution at potlatch
We tried a different strategy because we were merging two houses into one and already had 2 of everything "housey". We started a gift account at an art gallery local to where we got married and people bought vouchers which we could then go in and choose. the good thing was that it showcased local artists so had a constantly changing inventory. in fact I think we are still in credit 2 years later. The reasoning was that noone would try to buy art for someone else but they felt that at least it wasn't art. Mauss would have been proud as it worked a treat and we didn't get any dodgy looking crystal or bath towels.
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2009 on wedding lists: a socio-economic solution at potlatch
We can rant some more on this next week but I am starting to get some interest in a similar line of argument (even got a laugh out of some bankers on Tuesday when saying that oikonomics was what we did before economists got hold of it) from some cross party lobbyists/politicos. The question I guess is whether we end up moving backwards to a pre-nietzschean conservative morality or whether a call for real transparency (in the face of the ubiquitous 'black box' approach to information plastered across all newspapers today) might prompt the emergence of new models of morality that avoids such a retreat and allows us to react to events/situations (and stay free).
Toggle Commented Jun 19, 2009 on for a better version of economic freedom at potlatch
Congratulations - nice binding! Any book signings planned before you head to the "other place"!
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2009 on my news... at potlatch
Agree that brands can be accused of offering a superficial moral wrapper (although even innocent is finding that the world is a bit too transparent for it to be only a story and not part of the DNA). Zopa seems to be holding up well because its 'tone' (carefully designed) is perceived as trustworthy and authentic in a world of Financial services which are perceived as anything but. On Facebook, Mccraken is musing about the difference between 'fan' and 'friend' (and the need for a virtual middle category). My Mad Men example I think gets to the heart of the sometimes inconvenient truth that sits at the heart of a marketing message (in its creation rather than during its communication / commercialisation). A sociology of brands as moral value not just representations of values (marques) would go a long way to understanding how brands can help create better social 'outcomes'.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2009 on what's politically worthwhile? at potlatch
Having been, as you called it, “unfriended” by my ex-wife (ironically over the problems of managing a family /relationship ‘virtually’) I would suggest that my place on Facebook carries moral as well as cultural meaning – literally being ex-communicated(?) The difference with politicians is that they are obsessed with what you might call the macro moral economy (played out on the stage of the mass media) which in Labour’s terms provides little room for any individual moral liberty or self expression (hence the exodus of individualists like Purnell etc). You always know when they want to do something unpopular when you told that ‘it is the right thing to do’ (cue nervous pasted on smile and another top down initiative that misses the point). Perhaps I am an over optimistic micro moral economist(? ethnography is so last year : )), but I am always surprised by the level to which ‘who’ and ‘why’ intersect in consumer behavior. Perhaps Facebook et al provide the public space in which we will start to create and evaluate moral as well as cultural value as individuals, perhaps not on our profile page but in our comments to and about the world. Socrates goaded people in the Agora and avoided talking on the Pnyx (and ultimately paid the price in the law courts) perhaps for that reason? He was interested in how individuals were living the good life not how politicians were spinning it? what would Deleuze make of these micro acts of creation I wonder?
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2009 on what's politically worthwhile? at potlatch
We used Perez in the creation of zopa - perhaps why it has benefited from the crunch as it was built for an age that was yet to come rather than to address the status quo?