In an essay called Business Model Buyers I wrote, “early adopters buy the solution and the business model behind it.”
Because like investors, early adopters are there to buy in. Not just with money but with attention and community camaraderie.
Young startup founders overlook this. So when they talk to investors or their proxies, they talk product. When they say, “it’s like Uber crossed with Ikea”, they mean it’s like Uber products crossed with the IKEA products, not those brands’ respective business models.
In their minds, the product (plus maybe founder bios.. ugh) is all that an investor needs to know. Or an early adopter. Or a would-be community member.
Now I’m not saying the product is unimportant; it’s crucial. But not as crucial as present and future profitability.
And because that future part is tricky, I want to know the business model that accounts for it.
So selling the product isn’t enough, selling the features isn’t enough, not even selling the benefits is enough– because that’s just another way of selling the product.
There are a few more considerations on the pristine world of business models (and the NBA) over there.
Now it’s time to get dirty and talk politics.
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But first, let me segue from entrepreneurship to politics by landing on Bioland for a moment. That’s a nice name, right? Well here’s the setup, from a politico.eu exposé-style article:
Vegetarianism, veganism and other forms of “clean” eating and organic farming are often associated with leftist, progressive movements. These food practices often combine a desire for bodily health with moral and social concerns.
Buuut… what if a Neo-Nazi Germany purity cults also produced pure organic food on pure organic soil? That’s the storyline behind “Bio-Nazis”.
The product is organic vegetables. The business model is to make Neo-Nazism sustainable. Still want to buy the product, let alone evangelize it or invest in it?
BCorp certifies conscientious business models, as expressed in company articles of incorporation. Not conscientious products.
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So let’s go even further afield from selling the business model vs selling the product.
Let’s talk about selling the sizzle, not the steak in US politics. When you sell the sizzle, you not only cloak the business model, you cloak the product.
Here we are in a culture of light-speed shifts, especially since about 2015, where all of a sudden, for example, every single asset on planet earth can have a crypto-asset twin the form of NFT. This was beyond our collective comprehension 5 years ago, even though cryptocurrency was already common knowledge.
Yet in politics, we are stuck in a time warp where electoral-politics and public policy marketing still means selling the sizzle.
Which is very closely related to selling lies systematically. Not like politicians have always lied, since the Roman era. No, different than that — instead we’re talking about Orwellian counter-truth as a way of life. This began with Reagan and has been vastly accelerated by leaders of both political parties, most of all by Trump.
As it will next year and the year after. Why?
Because the Reagan-Trump GOP is so good at systematically lying about why it’s happening. In their hilarious opposite-world logic, it’s “socialism” that’s responsible for the death of the Texas power grid.
Trump told 30,000 lies during his administration. What’s that, an average of 10 preventable death per one Trump lie?
- Most treasonously, he retold the Big Lie about election fraud, the same one George W Bush told, which led to his multimillion-dollar, two-year investigation, extravagantly marshaling 200 federal DAs. This political dragnet found — wait for it — zero instances of deliberate voter fraud.
- Trump also told the Orwellian counter-truth lie that he won the 2020 election by a landslide, rather than lost it by 7 million votes. Which also caused death.
- Speaking of preventable death, Trump told the lie that COVID was the flu. Among others.
Ah, but Reagan-Trump Fascism sells the sizzle.
The sizzle is to feel good about who you are even though you’re dirt poor, compared to your parents and grandparents.
Even though you’re sucking carbon monoxide in a Texas bungalow garage, in a donkey-brained attempt to stay warm, because the GOP is a death machine of lies. And because it defunded your education.
Meanwhile, this other tiny group of people, under the loose leadership of Seth Godin, is figuring out how to talk transparently about the entire business model. How to reject marketing as manipulation and re-envision it as listening to what people want, making it, then explaining how and why it is made.
What if the major US political parties did that? Started talking about the political party business model?
By the way, the Democrats are just as tight-lipped about how their political machine works as the GOP is.
The crucial difference, though, is that the Democrats' product isn’t neo-Fascism. It’s not ending democracy. That is the Reagan-Trump GOP product, at least as long as the Trump faction upends the McConnel faction of the Republican party.
By the way, the extraordinary disparity between the de facto business models of the GOP and the DNC is conveniently overlooked by the “Intellectual” Dark Web and other extreme right-wing libertarians. Not to mention Antifas, Boogaloos, and other mindless “both parties are the same” simplification fetishists. As if they both lied in the same way, or to the same extent.
And why does that matter?
It matters because we want to use the Internet, its Medium, its YouTube, its Reddit, its email newsletters, websites, et al, to liberate ourselves from the orthodoxy of mainstream media. To tell the truth about, in this case, the horrifying nature of the GOP business model and the product it’s pushing.
Yet here comes the far-right propaganda IDW artists, like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson, pushing the Fox New agenda — to hide the GOP business model (Systematic Lying) and its product (Fake-Democratic Fascism) and instead obsess about identity politics and political correctness, whether for or against.
Their playbook is simple: say they’re all the same. Say both political parties have equal goals and are equally corrupt. And keep saying it until the next Trump (or the same one) gets the ultimate revenge on Twitter and the rest of us with this message: “This democracy has been suspended”.