Monday, January 4, 2010


In one sense, sales and marketing is about getting people what they want and need. After all, in order to be a successful businessperson, it's best to be flexible to your client's desires. However, I see psychologically manipulative advertisement as a very bad thing, because for the children watching it, associating toys and accessories with social acceptance, fun, and coolness, we create false needs for pointless material items. Increasing the 'nag factor' is essentially the same thing as making children perceive that they need an item so much that they have to nag their parents for it. The greater the need, the more nagging.

As a society, we tend to spend a lot of times on material items, which can be excessive and unfulfilling, instead of more important matters. We also tend to focus more on destinations and outcomes than processes, even though processes and paths are often a lot more important and enjoyable than the results of things. Processes make up the vast majority of life, not outcomes.

A 'nominalization' is a type of word that is made when turning an adjective or verb in to a noun. This conversion has the effect of simplifying a complex process (like "to educate" or "to become happy") in to a single word (like "education" or "happiness"), and as a result leaves a lot of information out.

This isn't a bad thing for words-- it's just a useful function of language. But I think that when we value destinations, objects, and outcomes-- be it through being manipulated in to thinking we need a product as if it will build our identity, or through evaluating the process of education with arbitrary standardized tests, we "nominalize" entire, important processes in our lives. Happiness is simplified to the outcome of consumption, and education is simplified to arbitrary numerical outcomes that don't evaluate the actual processes of learning, but rather discourage good processes of learning.

And as we've talked about in class, we've increased focus on destinations also in a more literal/physical sense-- the amount of walking we do in a week is shocking because we have to drive to a destination and remain there more than ever. This is a result of increased convenience and changed technology-- you don't have to go far to get what you need. Overall, the shift towards the importance of endpoints is interesting.

What do you do after you reach an endpoint (product, wealth, goal, score)? All of a sudden, you need a new endpoint (more product, more wealth, another goal, next year's round of scores). And if you don't reach an endpoint, how do you feel? How much value do you give endpoint-oriented success/failure? If you give it too much value, you may just end up miserable and less productive.

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