Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 1, 2009

Business Models Galore

On game business websites, we read the following:

“However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary.”

I hate piracy, but I did admire the Pirate Bay’s  ‘legal page’ where they thumbed their noses at lawyers and politicians. There is one thing the political class cannot handle and that is being mocked.

But what type of previous business model are they referring to? Why is it that when people want to sound ‘business orientated’ they throw ‘business model’ phrase in front of everything? (as well as words like “demographics”)

To show how absurd this is, let me re-write it:

“However, in order to live on, The Bank Robber requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, banks, police, savers, and the judiciary.”

At first, you might laugh at my above sentence. But then I realized how true it was. Only in the twentieth century do bank robbers wear a mask and hold a bank at gunpoint. In the twenty first century, bank robbers wear a nice suit and run for Congress. Alas.

“However, in order to live on, The Rapist requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, women, police, men, and the judiciary.”

OK, now we have a really absurd illustration. All I am doing is just replacing the word ‘Pirate’ with any other criminal and adapting the ‘needs’ that the criminal touches.

“However, in order to live on, The Counterfeiter requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, banks, police, Federal Reserve, and the judiciary.”

This is fun.

“However, in order to live on, The Arsonist requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, architects, police, renters, and the owners.”

Have you figured out what is absurd in all this?

CRIMINALS DON’T HAVE BUSINESS MODELS! Businesses are what have business models. Non-businesses do not have business models. Is it that hard to understand?

If you are walking down the street, and you see a nickel and pick it up, is that a business model? NO! If you have a machine that prints money, is that a business model? NO! Is the change in your couch a business model? NO! Is bank robbery a business model? NO! Is taxation a business model? NO! Is piracy a business model? NO!

The Pirate Bay has its faults, but one thing it did aptly was naming itself appropriately. If there is no piracy, is it really a ‘pirate bay’? I feel like I’ve fallen into Ultima 7′s Buccanner’s Den where all the pirates become merchants and sell games and prizes.

Why has there been a trend of applying ‘business models’ to things that it does not and cannot apply? If this is the way things are going, I am going to call the tree outside my window a ‘business model’ as well as my billion dollar cat (who has generated billions of dollars more than the net-loss Xbox Game Division) a business model.

Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it.

But if we adopt, according to the person who said that sentence, the ‘Pirate Business Model’ (which, curiously, I have been unable to find in any business textbook), then who needs to be paid for anything?

With all this crazy business model talk, perhaps I should start selling ‘air’. It is said that ‘air’ cannot be sold because there is no scarcity to it. It is ‘everywhere’. Perhaps we should adopt the ‘business model’ of ‘birds’ or ‘whales’ and then we can start selling air.

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