• Category: Latest News
  • Written by Rick Ellis

Pick Three: Today's Media Stories Worth Reading - 08/08/2016



Every day, we pick three media-related stories we think you should read. These are generally not "hot takes", but instead lesser-covered topics that deserve some extra love.

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1) There's A Reason For That Bad Customer Service From Cable Companies

Not even the cable companies will argue that their customer service experience is generally pretty horrific. Terrible in that way that makes you almost wish you were dealing with the I.R.S. or the DMV. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Lee Schafer has a good explanation for why their customer service scores are so bad. They've realized that they can ignore customer service problems and it won't cost them any business (or money):

The key to understanding why is a concept called switching costs. Like it sounds, these are the costs in time and money it takes to find a new provider. There are some markets where switching really does cost a lot; broadband is one of them.

One classic cost is overcoming a compatibility problem. To pick an absurd example, it might be that only a Ford pickup fits snugly in the garage, and the new Toyota and Chevy models don’t. There are also transaction costs, like the fee the wireless phone service providers charge for ending a contract early.

The other common switching costs are harder to quantify, like putting a dollar value on the fear of the unknown that causes a 20-year user of Windows computers to balk at switching to an Apple MacBook. If the consumer plunges ahead and buys an Apple, there are the costs of learning how to use it.

2) The Work/Life Balance According To Marissa Mayer

There are a number of reasons why Marissa Mayer's stint at Yahoo was a failure. One part of the puzzle might be her short-sighted approach to a work/life balance which isn't a great match for today's workplace. As Daniel Kim writes on Medium, her attitude meant that Yahoo's workforce was less flexible and responsive, when the struggling company needed just the opposite approach:

I read my fair share about the tech world. I haven’t encountered statements this utterly arrogant and silly in a while.

Let’s break down that quote. She’s saying…

    Weekend work is a leading indicator of being a successful company
    She can predict success based on the people who are physically in the office on a weekend
    She can predict success without knowing anything about a company’s business

What in the actual fuck?

3) Music Industry Films Need A Dose Of Reality?

Why are most movies (and TV shows) about the movie industry so terrible? The 405's Zachary Evans argues that the movies haven't reflected the changes that have hit the music industry in recent years:

For music industry films to be more relevant to our world today, a few things need to happen. Firstly, the scope of these films needs to be broadened rather immensely. No matter how interesting they are, biopics of famous musicians can only get the genre so far. We've seen every conceivable iteration of these films already, so whenever a new one comes out, it's hard to not imagine them as more than what This is Spinal Tap or Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story were making fun of.

To take the next step past this, we need to start seeing films that tell interesting and creative stories through the lens of the current state of musicians and the music industry. Instead of feel-good success stories, show us the struggles and triumphs of living on the road, and how that contrasts with trying to hold down day jobs back at home. Show the new challenges musicians now face to make their dreams a reality when people don't buy music like they used to.

Basically, film needs to stop either treating the music industry like it hasn't changed since the rise of the internet, or ignoring stories since this happened. There's a wealth of stories to draw from, and movie fans deserve to see them brought to life.

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