Saturday, December 10, 2005

Warcraft and Purses

So, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts, which are awesome. One of the main things I've been listening to via podcast is new reports from National Public Radio (NPR). It's a great way to stay up on current news while I'm driving to work or doing some mundane task at work. I've heard a lot of interesting things, which I thought I'd share. So I present here my favorite NPR stories of the week.

First off, there was a very interesting video game report. The genre of massively multiplayer online games has increased dramatically in the past few years with games such as Everquest and World of Warcraft, in which people immerse themselves in a vast online community role-playing game. Now, I'm sure many of you have heard reports of people losing their jobs, killing themselves, and generally ruining their lives over these games. Also, some of you may be aware that there are people who sell items (swords, armor, etc.) and the games version of currency over ebay and other auction sites. However, I recently heard that their are a number of people who have gone to third-world countries and hired a sweat shop factory's worth of workers to play the game online (for like 25 cents an hour) and then they go and sell what these people have earned on eBay to thousands of nerds across the world. To think that rather than making clothes like the workers pictured to the right, they're sitting at a computer game basically playing this game. Lucky bastards.

Another story that I found interesting is that a few companies have started to expand the Netflix business model beyond movies and video games. A few companies have started the same business model with purses. In case you aren't familiar witht he netflix business model, basically you pay a monthly fee to have movies shipped to your house. You can have 1-3 movies at a time and you can keep them for as long as you want. When you want the next movie on your list, you send the one you have back and they'll ship out the next one when they receive it. Now, rather than buying a new purse every month like many (irrational) women do, they can have a purse ordered from this website, and when they want to change their style they can send that back for a new one. While I'm not exactly intersted in the purse aspect of the idea, from a business standpoint I think this is a great demand. As long as the company gets proper attention (I think they're getting a lot of word of mouth publicity) they're sure to have customers. Women could save tons of money, because rather than spending 100-300 dollars every month for a new purse, they can be paying 50 dollars a month and have a new purse every month. Plus, they won't have old purses that they'll never use again cluttering up their closets. The only problem I see with this business plan is that bags go out of style very quickly and I don't know that the company will earn enough on each bag before it is out of style and noone will ever want to "rent" it again and they'll have to go out and buy more bags in order to keep women interested in the site, but I'm sure they have some answer to that, which I am completly unaware of.

And when the veil of dreams has lifted
And the fairy tales have all been told
There's a kiss at the end of the rainbow
More precious than a pot of gold.

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