Back to the Past

23 06 2019

Your Blogmeister’s German Desk

As you all know, the events of July 19, 2017 put an end to my startup.  Again, as you know, the event I was at that night was a networking supper that I wanted to attend in order to try to talk a couple of guys who I knew would be there into working for me.  They didn’t seem interested, but within maybe an hour and a half of their making it clear via their body language, the whole matter became moot anyway.

Since enough time has passed, and because I read an article today that justified one of my rationales for the idea behind the startup, I can now tell you what it was going to be about.

As my mother got older, it got harder and harder for her to use most modern and newer household appliances and electronics.  It was a function of the fact that new stuff got more difficult and complicated to use, and her declining mental acuity made it hard for her to use even the not quite so new and complicated stuff.  Once March 2016 came around, and she moved into assisted living, (dementia), after her finally accepting the hard reality that she really wasn’t capable to live on her own a few months prior, I talked to some of the other residents in the facility, and to an individual, they all had the same problem.

Light bulbs went off in my head.

The startup was going to be an Underwriters Laboratory style clearinghouse to coordinate between, shall we say, mature consumers of household appliances, electronics and similar wares, and the manufacturers/OEMs, to certify goods as having the elderly seal of approval for ease of use.

Here was my reasoning to why this idea probably would have been successful:

Normally, advertisers love the 25-34 age demographic, because it’s historically the sweet spot between growing disposable incomes and uncemented brand loyalty.  People younger than that have uncemented brand loyalty, but not that much free money.  Upper middle aged people tend to have the most disposable income, but their brand loyalties are pretty much carved in stone.

This is why, for example, the Rural Purge for network TV happened in 1971, where the major broadcast networks, especially CBS, got rid of all their rural and country and western and cornpone shows in one fell swoop and replaced them with shows that would be called “edgy” in today’s parlance.  It’s because the baby boomers started turning 25 years old in 1971, which means they started entering into the advertising wheelhouse.  The rural shows had good ratings, but among the two worst possible advertising demos:  Little boys and old men.

For the same reason, as I surmised when thinking about the idea, and later confirmed via intelligence gathering operations in certain places in Iowa, Michigan and New Jersey early in 2017, appliance manufacturers focus on 25-34, because they believe (falsely, I’ll get to that) that 25-34 is still the disposable-uncemeted nexus.  This is why every damned new appliance is an iPad that just so happens to yadda yadda.

To put it another way, I was often advised to do deep dives into paradoxes and contradictions, marginals and differentials, in order to be the first to find the moral of the story or a lesson of a thing, and on occasion find a good money making idea.

Here’s the problem, as I figured then:

Today’s 25-34 isn’t the kind of advertising mother lode that it used to be, because today’s 25-34 doesn’t have the kind of disposable income that previous generations of 25-34 had.

Let me put it to you another way:  It’s foolhardy for the appliance OEMs to focus on 25-34 year olds who use iPads, when those same iPad-using 25-34 year olds still live in their parents’ basements, and therefore, don’t engage in appliance-buying decisions.  Their parents do.  Their much older parents.  If 25-34s can afford to live on their own, they live in apartments, where the appliance purchasing decisions are done by landlords or property managers.

See where this is going?

The way I figured, there was a grip to be made by helping OEMs tweak their wares to older people, who, thanks to current epoch economic circumstances, are still the age demo where you want to be for such products.

Then July 19, 2017 happened.  I’ll note the grand irony that it was because of a texting-while-driving 30-year old who was still living in his parents’ basement.

As you also know, my lawyer had to sell my ideas and concepts to hustle enough dough to satisfy the creditors who got too anxious while my brain was still in a fog.  The institution they were sold to — I’m hoping just for the sake of an altruistic devotion to humanity that they run with it.

As for me, I had to settle for what I’m doing now and where I’m doing it, and, in spite of everything, I think I came out ahead.  One day much later on, I’ll be able to be open about that, too.

Now, remember what I said about my rationale eventually being justified?  Read it and weep. The advertising industry is finally figuring out what I did more than two years ago, and I don’t even do advertising.


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One response

27 06 2019
dk

Perhaps ita divine provisence that things went about the way they did. look forward to the post in the future, your work and background are completely foreign to me and its interesting to take a peak into that world.

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