5 thoughts on “If your customer base is aging”

  1. The world is full of successful companies that target a particular demographic, and not necessarily the largest one.

    Now, if you want to be God Emperor, it behooves you to keep picking up your captives as soon as their fingers can touch a keyboard and imprison them there until their fingers no longer twitch, but not all of us find that necessary as a business model or (especially) a creative goal. And, thankfully, there’s nothing more certain than the temporary nature of fads (for various values of “temporary”) or the constant march of ever-better-tech to leave the complacent/delusional behind.

    Forever young/forever in control is a megalomaniac wish, and not a very worthy one. “I want to be famous” and “I want to be in charge” are understandable desires, but a bit… silly as ultimate goals. Even the most admirable and accomplished of people will, as Homer puts it, “take the dust between their teeth”, and if their motive is nothing but “undying fame”, well, it ain’t enough — it can never be enough. Even Achilles admits as much to Odysseus, in the underworld:

    “Nay, seek not to speak soothingly to me of death, glorious Odysseus. I should choose, so I might live on earth, to serve as the hireling of another, of some portionless man whose livelihood was but small, rather than to be lord over all the dead that have perished.”

    And even to this must Jeff Bezos come, grapple with his fate as he may.

    I have no problem with the “captains of industry” who better both themselves and the rest of us. Many of them have advanced the welfare of humanity, and retired in dignity, and many were not particularly immoral in their competition. But some of our modern tech lords, not satisfied with having created wildly successful businesses, who in their hubris seek general praise for their wisdom and power, are confusing commercial success with virtue and assuming a control over contingent circumstances and the ambitions of others that is not theirs to claim. Let them assert that power in the face of Hades and discover its worth.

    • Very nicely expressed, K. Thank you.

      I also agree that Bezos has wandered off into the weeds, but, prior to that, he did great things for authors, among others, and I think he still deserves gratitude for doing that and for challenging the coterie of big publishers when they tried to strangle Amazon in the crib by cutting off the company’s access to their books.

      • Oh, I quite agree. I was a great fan of Bezos for many, many years, from the very beginning. But he has, as you say, wandered off into the weeds. Alas. Mid-life crisis on steroids…

        Now, someone like Larry Ellison has been pond scum from the start. I met him for the first time long, long ago in a very early tech presentation — he was an obvious snake-oil salesman then, and nothing has changed in his long career (which I briefly intersected a few times) except that he got wealthy and more shameless about it. [When you looked at a potential tech/manager hire’s credentials on LinkedIn, the presence of an Oracle background was often considered a bad sign… In their defense, many were fleeing a situation they couldn’t change.]

        There’s nothing like spending some time in Silicon Valley, as I did, and seeing many of the famous tech names in public-social situations to remove the media gloss from most (but not all) of them. Many did not seem to pass the “worthwhile human being” test any longer. It’s an eye-opener. Even (some of) the VCs seemed less hubristic and delusional (and more cold-blooded) than their portfolio companies’ overlords.

    • Targeting a particular demographic is fine but, even if that demographic is not eliminated by social changes, customers will still disappear (unmarried to married, working to retired, active retirees to care homes, death, career change or whatever) so you do still need to recruit new customers, even if they are limited to your target demographic.

      You of course know this perfectly well, so I guess that your concern is with the expressed desire to “stay forever young”, and your evaluation of this as megalomania. I may be wrong, but I don’t think this should be taken so seriously – I don’t see it as anything more than confirmation that Jeff is a well known Bob Dylan fan.

      • FWIW: I took forever young as a customer acquisition policy, making sure you are as relevant to todays young consumers as you were to the older ones when they were young.
        The context being that with PRIME Amazon is very good at customer retention so as long as they remain useful to younger demographics tbey’ll keep on growing.

        For contrast, there is the meme that younger folks wouldn’t be caught dead on facebook and prefer instagram, tik tok, etc. Don’t think it is literally true but it is a trap any mass market player needs to avoid.l

        It is a trap Sony just walked into yesterday, in the form of taking the customers for granted.

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