Subject: Re: creation of lisp machine/lispOS
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1997/05/01
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erik Naggum
| the market does in fact not lead anything or anywhere.  the market
| _follows_ in the footsteps of designers, creators, producers, and other
| trend setters.

* David Hanley
| I completely disagree.  The point you are missing is that these
| designers, creators, prodocers, etc, build what people want.

this is another common misconception.  what people "want" is a function of
what they learn is available.  e.g., do Americans want three-ring binders,
and Europeans four-ring binders?  or do they want binders and take whatever
number of holes they come with?  or do they want something that can help
them organize their papers and take whatever is available?  or do they
really want a less cluttered office and ease of storage and retrieval of
the information they receive?  so, did people really _want_ three-ring
binders, or is that just what they could buy?

the problem is, what people _want_ is so far removed from the market and so
abstract that it takes designers, creators, producers and trend setters to
_give_ it concrete shape.  they transform your want of a good night's sleep
into a want of a waterbed, for instance.  they transform your combined
wants of status and a means of transportation into a want of a particular
model of a car, and a _renewed_ want of a car every so often to maintain
that "status" thing.

designers, creators, producers, etc, do not build what people want, they
_give_ people something _concrete_ to want, to afford, to buy, that they
wouldn't want, wouldn't fund, wouldn't wish to buy until _after_ it had
been created.  the difference between a producer and a consumer is that the
producer is able to produce what the consumer will consume but is himself
unable to produce, for lack of time, intelligence, fantasy, economic means,

if you wish to sell something, you'd better understand that you can't give
people what they _want_ in the market today, because what they want today
is what they can already _get_.  you have to discover what they _really_
want, and find some way to give that physical shape.

look at Microsoft.  nobody in their right mind would want their buggy shit.
what Microshit users want is something entirely separate from the products.
Microshit is _not_ user-friendly, but it is marketed as user-friendly, and
then other software products, far more user-friendly, are made to look as
if they missed the whole point about what "user-friendly" _is_, namely to
look cool in nice colors while you're crashing and destroying the disk,
importing a virus from a disk, or letting Word destroy your day's work.

it's often been pointed out that consumers don't want quality, they only
want the _immediate_ needs satisfied.  that's why we have other people to
look out for product quality for them, specifically lawyers who are able to
run a company into the ground for not being "responsible" enough towards
people who were perfectly content to buy the crap sight unseen.

| If company 'a' produces one billion coolWidgets, and no one wants them,
| this will not define the market, as you suggest.

that is not what I suggest, David.  and I haven't missed your point at all;
your point is just plain irrelevant.  your examples are so far removed from
reality I can't begin to argue against them.  the very idea that you
actually _believe_ that somebody is suggesting that company A produce a
billion widgets when nobody wants them is so foreign to me that I also
don't know where to _start_ getting you straight.  in fact, it is so
mind-bogglingly irrational to suggest such a thing that I wonder how you
could invent the argument in the first place.

the difference between what people want and what they will buy is what the
salesman can offer.  a good salesman can sell people more than they wanted
when they started.  a good salesman can sell people something _different_
from what they thought they wanted.  the whole purpose of advertising is to
_change_ what you want to buy and when.  if you were right, that producers
make what consumers want, why would you need multi-billion-dollar
industries to create advertisements for products to people who already
wanted them?

however, it's also part of The Big Advertising Lie to give people the
impression that they give the same people what they want.  "no, it's not a
clever ploy to let a fool and his money part", they tell the fools, and
then the fools part with their money even sooner than without the lie.

if you want to succeed in business, _don't_ give people what they want.
give them the impression that they _really_ want what you can offer,
because only the smart, the hip, the cool, the best, the brightest, etc,
want what you can sell.  to win in the market, study advertising, then hire
the cheapest people to produce it that you can find, while you set out a
rumor that you hire only the best.  (I mean, who _doesn't_ hire the best
among whoever applies for their openings?)

| You are still assuming that the suppliers create the market.  In reality,
| most markets are driven by the consumers ( in a capitalist country ).
| This doesn't always happen, which is why governments like the US like to
| break up monoplies and trusts.

interesting view.  when did the U.S. Government break up Microsoft?

if we work harder, will obsolescence be farther ahead or closer?