Coping: How “Monetization” Explains EVERYTHING

Everything is a Business Model.

That has been our long-standing primary principle of clear thinking around here.  It is as True today as it was the first time I mentioned it years, and years ago.

My life-long chum from up in the Seattle area is visiting for a while – and as I went to bed last night, I was still turning over a lot of memories from “them good old days.”

One of the thoughts rattling around my head on waking this morning was that I can teach an entire economics course using just one simple model.  The parking lot.

You see, I have always had a slightly twisted way of thinking about things.  Ever since as far back as I can remember, I looked at all kinds of phenomena and asked that incredibly useful question Why is THAT?”

When my buddy and I were young, we could occasionally ride our bikes from Seattle’s north end of Beacon Hill, down to the waterfront.  Often as not, when we did that, it was either to hang out with shirt-tail relatives at station 14 (Cousin Charles) which was down by the grain elevator that used live mid-waterfront.  Or, it was up to Station 5.  That’s when late Uncle Cliff worked.

The main attraction about these rides was that Station 5 was right next door to the fish bar at Ivar’s Acres of Clams.  Mostly, these rides usually had a gastronomic bent to them.  A five-piece fish and chips along with a pint of clam nectar was about as good a meal on a cool, cloudy day of bike riding in 50-degree weather as a pre-teen human could find.

What about the parking lot?

This is where things get interesting:

Station 5 is right next to the Washington State Ferry Terminal.  And across Alaska Way, under (and just behind) the Viaduct, the elevated freeway that runs through the west side of Downtown, there were a number of parking lots.

These always captured my attention.  They were fun to ride, except when the hobos and winos had busted glass on them.

The very first time I ever rode an empty parking lot, they were charging the outlandish sum of 10-cents an hour for parking.

What’s more, by the time I was old enough to get my first job (shelving books in the Seattle Public Library, up the hill from the house) I noticed that the price of parking down by the waterfront had gone first to 25-cents an hour, and then on up to 50-cents an hour for the really prime property. 75-cents an hour and then a dollar followed as the city grew.

What is THAT?”  I constantly asked myself.  What’s more, how did Seattle Parking Magnate Joe Diamond figure out that he could rent or buy empty property, and then get people to pay him for the simple “right to park” on it?

In my oldest memories, some of Diamond’s earliest lots weren’t even paved.  Esepcially the ones up on the Denny Regrade along Third Avenue where the trollies ran.

Yet, here were people that were lining up to give the lot attendant money just for the placement of a vehicle ON Joe Diamond’s lots.  Sheer genius, I concluded.

All Diamond had essentially done, was to recognize an underpriced asset (a vacant lot), put some minimal improvements on it (namely the lot attendant shack) and then market it to all who passed by looking for a place to park.

In about 1973, or so, I was flown down to San Francisco to consider a job doing news on KFRC.  The main non-broadcast feature of that trip?  I discovered that the cost of parking a car in downtown San Francisco, near the radio station (don’t know if it is st5ill at 415 Bush Street…) was a whopping $6-dollars per day. This was back in the time when Enrico’s was the best nearby Italian joint, and Alioto’s at Fisherman’s Terminal was as good as food got.  Not as good as Ivars.  I was a Seattle partisan.

Try to find anything near that rate today!

The point about parking lots is, I hope, not lost on you.

Remember:  Minimal Asset.  Minimal improvements, and Major Marketing.  Then someone gets rich. The economy grows.  Simple as that.

Ever since I first got this sorted out in my head (must have been age 23, or so) it was clear to me that anyone, in any field could get rich using this SIMPLE  approach.

Over time, I saw the huge wisdom of my discovery.  Some time in the mid-70’s, I think it was, a writer for the Seattle Times, (back when “Blethen the Younger” had his first silver 911) reporter Richard Buck, I think it was, came out with his famous “Cost of Nothing Index.”

Basically, what Buck had sighted was similar to my Parking Lot Theory, except HE looked at how new-fangled (at the time) minimal customer charges were making a big play (and still are).

What he did was took the price of nothing (a basic phone line, a simple Seattle City Light account, a Seattle Water Department Account) and then he figured out how much it would cost to own a home. 

Even before you made a single phone call, or before you turned on a single damn light, or before that first glass of water, you would have paid (back then) on the order of $25-$35 a month for the ACCESS right.  Today, it is way higher than that.

Sidebar:  This is why credit card companies are so anxious to figure out a way to hoax us with a “service charge” on the theory that we should pay them “something for nothing” too.  Back to point…

Economics,. and human thinking (such as it is) is pretty straight-forward stuff, as I was going on about in Thursday’s column about my Substitution Method of Learning.

Now I’m telling you that there really is such a thing as the Substitution Method of Business Models.

We arrive now at the heart of this morning’s elucidation.

I will remind you – as I have many times before – that the World has run out of “new things to monetize.” 

That’s why Global Warming is such a great scam.  It follows the principles revealed here:  Take an underperforming asset (the weather), claim providence over it (regulation and crazy attorneys general as liberal henchmen as “enforcers” – they play the role of the parking lot attendants in our comparison), and then charge as much as is feasible in order to make up a new business.

The simple fact is that the world has – as we’ve covered many, many times – too many people and too much manufacturing capacity. 

We live in a world of “physical too much-ness” and that’s why the Storage Unit industry arrived, are you following?

Example:  How many computers do you really need, right?

(Confession: In my office I only have five computers and I feel constrained.  There’s the four-monitor super computer with SSDs.  A Laptop, a Tablet, a Phone, and an old 32-bit Pentium for the ham radio…oh there’s an old Cruise-Reader, too.)

Point is, in terms of physical goods, that build-out is nearly complete and we are running into a real lack of fundamental realization on the physical side.  Which is why Windows-10 is around:  To keep Microsoft going…am I right?  Win 7 was fine.  Maybe 10 is faster…but $150 faster?  Come on…this is Old George you’re talking to.

And that is precisely why the work of a certain Peoplenomics subscriber, who we will simply call Dr. Pete – who is pulling back the covers on Virtual Reality – is so damn important.  Repeat after me:  Virtual Worlds are infinitely expandable and inherently resource low.

And just in case you think I am kidding about this amazing human capacity to simply “Make up shit on the fly in order to make a buck…”  Go try on this morning;s pièce de résistance:

“Gender equality in workplace could add trillions to US economy.”

Long ago, I explained on the Peoplenomics side of this one-loon economics outfit that the whole Climate and then the LBGTQ (and whatever) movements were nothing more than virtualizations in order to keep the economy from imploding.

Moreover, if this BBC story is to be believed, we will really need a tremendous thrust of alternative genderism in order to save the US economy.

That’s because about the time every McDonalds has been strong-armed into a third restroom (which we presume will be labeled “Surprise Us”) the robots will be coming to take the very last of the real jobs out there.

Why next – and don’t laugh – I expect that in an effort to keep the economy of the future alive, even Robots will have to be “assigned a presumptive sex” and treated equally.  Because after we run out of robots, where is the NEXT expansion, beyond that?  Why mandatory human foibles, of course!

So that, my friend, is why the whole world seems like it’s a crazy and out of control place.

Because it really is.  You just need to look at it more clearly.

Write when you break-even,


Coping: How “Monetization” Explains EVERYTHING — 23 Comments

  1. All of the comments seem to assume that there is a LONG TERM business model somewhere. I would suggest that today long term means perhaps 3 years maximum. Last time I involved investors, there were three questions for us: 1) How much do you want? 2) Can you make this business plan bigger? 3) What is your exit strategy?

    The current business model is to find an angle, monetize it and then flip it to a new set of investors or to the “big fish” you have bothered by opening the business in the first place. It is NOT long term growth at all.

    @ MDS – those who understand repeat business figured out long ago that clean and nice restroom facilities draw women and families. Requiring it just makes for worse scenarios – they throw up a crap restroom to comply, and use it as storage the first time the toilet breaks or clogs.

    WRT Gender – this is such a business model, and my wife just left for a “Diversity Camp” for the day, for those who feel they are “differently-abled”, “non-cisgender” and other such baloney. She will be paid $250 for working a half-day at this event. The venue had to accomodate ANYTHING in terms of gender and access – so they had to rent a facility with multiple stalls, bathrooms and wide, ramped access. The original budget was to be $15,000 for the event, but due to these “special needs”, the venue rent alone ballooned to $35,000 and the event cost went to over $50,000.

    Just FYI!

  2. How many computers? Just had a quick check,3, 4 including the wife’s! Why? I really don’t know! plus between us we have 3 kindles. one of them the top of range Fire, and an Ipad. Crazy way to spend money, and all of these items are active.

  3. George, You remind me of a cheaply written paperback story I read then threw out back in the nineties. In it there was a parallel world where corporations ruled. They had a timeline in it where they author mentioned that the government started to mandate that a certain percentage of your gross income had to be spent and not saved. Kinda like a tax. It grew incrementally till all income was to be spent and personal savings no longer existed. Eventually the corporations bailed out the government and the charade ended as the ceo’s simply took over. They were trying to prevent a financial collapse. Like now supersaturation of the world economy occurred. What resulted instead was stagnant economy and finally corporate wars. Private armies were better funded and better equipped and won over the rebelling citizens. Mind you this was the nineties and if you remember mercenaries were denied to exist much like an urban myth and the idea of being forced to spend money that you did not want to spend on things like insurance was impossible and that the corporations could control your money completely like our growing cashless society. It has been years since I read that book and I have kicked my self for not remembering it that well and of all the badly written books that i keep I threw that one out.

  4. “Everything is a Business Model.”

    Not only do I agree, I’ve commented before about the running the world as a business model because it is. Matrix = math. Everything is a numbers/digit/symbols game. We vibrate a specific number; born/die on a number, our age, and the energy(money) that flows through our hands is a number.

    Everything is a repeating pattern of numbers. Even the human body runs like a machine all measured via numbers. How the world turns is predictable as long as most sheeple go with the mind control flow… Though, go figure, people have yet to figure out if you can’t put sugar in a vehicle’s gas tank, imagine what it does to the human body, it gets clogged up, arteries that is, just like fuel lines. Sugar, not only processed but, ya know, via alcohol, and the fake stuff. No wonder people are sicker with cancer (candy LOL) etc, it is to be expected/predicted with sugar as the base fuel.

    I digress.

    So when people hear those cabalers talkin’ ’bout a new world order, they are telling you, they not only run it, it is a business with planning in the making decades in advance. People do not like shocks, so “they” tell you what they are going to do, what is coming, in advance. They make it up, the script that is and it comes to fruition because most people “believe” and thus thy will be done. We do have the power to influence the masses but when we’re up against MSM mind wipe, it’s a tough act to follow. The best case scenario is to do your own thing along side of the institutional box that is a business model.

  5. Yup….the 15$ per hour is working out well for places like Mcd’s…maybe the displaced workers(by robots/kiosks) could work as attendants in the single person potties…

  6. “That’s why Global Warming is such a great scam. ”

    Scam.. or not.. What could happen and what would be more costly.. making some preventative plans or waiting and finding out they are right..
    If I’m not mistaken .I was under the illusion that the epicenter is right over Washington DC.. Maybe if they kept all that hot air moving having a mobile congress of sorts.Quick.. get them over here its getting cold here..NO NO over there.. a little to your left… we could stop global warming..( Excuse me.. that was a very bad attempt at humor )

  7. The one question I have asked corporate America and have never gotten an answer to is who is going to buy your product after you have finished firing most of your customers?
    The fact that they won’t answer means that they have no viable long term plan except dump everything on suckers at the last minute as they make their getaway to whatever enclave they have in mind.
    Infinite growth can not happen forever on a planet of finite resources. Whether the crunch comes next year or in 30 years doesn’t change the fact that it is on the horizon and will be coming sometime.
    Like John Greer says, collapse now and avoid the rush.
    James Johnson, ex-nuke

  8. According to Thompkins and Goode, the next big expansion started fifty some years ago. It’s called the Secrete Space Program, complete with mining asteroids and such. Sadly, this new source of wealth will not be shared with us Earthlings.

  9. George, Again with the ‘Global Warming is such a great scam’ Thing? I wonder as to the underlying cause of your Constant pounding on this thing??
    In general, I have observed in my own level of human relations…most ‘obsessive obsession’ i.e ‘effects’ in a human’s life, usually have a cause originated by the human’s personal experience, in the form of some event experienced either directly by said human, or their immediate Loved Ones.
    Said events have usually materialized into catastrophic outcomes (effects), that in their own minds caused great harm to either themselves or friends or loved ones! To me, a Great Example is the Drug Addition scenario, whereas the primary human or his family had been affected by devastating effects of said additions and will thereafter be a fanatical spokesperson for any and all remedies to save others from the terror!
    For you to go against the Ever Growing community of Scientists and Scholars that have given credence to a Very Real Problem with Earth, you or your loved ones must have had something very unpleasant happen??/

    • Hey at least he is off the road issue…His whopping total 900 per yr ( plus rental income) taxes did not cove smooth as glass roads for ol Georgie..How far his arms must drag behind from patting himself on the back all the time.I don’t get Elaine…she married up? if she had any sense she would include him, his tools and the “ranch” in the sale of his plane, buy a new Lexus and get the hell out. Cant wait till he moves and pays real taxes and put up with neighbors.. boyy I bet thewill love having him aroundr .Just trying to keep keeping your ego in check … Breath…..

    • ALL of the alleged ‘scientific’ arguments about ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ conveniently ignore, overlook, or outright hide one simple fact: The heat energy (or lack of it, for cooling) has to come from SOMEWHERE. All of Earth’s climate energy comes from the SUN. And the Sun’s output energy IS NOT CONSTANT over years, decades, and eons. You want to prevent ‘climate change’? Find a way to regulate the output of the SUN! Simple. The variability of the energy output of our local Sun far outweighs anything mankind can do to alter the climate of the planet.

      • Good Luck with your Idyllic coast line there in Hawaii!! As I interpret your argument being aligned against ‘PRO-Climate Change Scammers’, the melting Ice Caps and Sea Level rise is entirely due to NON Constant energy output from ‘Old Sol’??

        I would be very interested to see the ‘SCIENTIFIC’, ooops sorry—‘Alleged Scientific’, studies about how the Sun has or Is contributing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and Maybe coincidently–Polar Ice Cap melting???

        Again, as in George’s constant insertion into his, in General Very Thoughtful and Informative pieces– about the American Public being Regulated and drained of their Treasure because of some Liberal’s idea of duping them into believing their earth is crumbling underneath them—Just what have these Liberal ‘Thieves of the Night’ taken from you that hasn’t been around for the PAST 100 Years of Political Lies and Schemes???

    • Global warming on the dark side of Venus. They drive too much there? Too.

      • Hard to equate your comment contributing to Anything resembling the subject of Global Warming/Global Warming Scams?

        As it turns out Venus has an Abundance of Heat even during it’s LONG Night: It’s mean surface temperature is 482 degrees C, and a “day” on Venus is 243 earth days!

  10. Spot on, disruptive technologies, the product cycle bell curve, and paying for what was once free. Bottled water anyone?

    • If I would have even thought that selling a bottle of clean water.. what is funny is when we were kids my father always bottled water from home to take on trips he would make..

  11. Is it such a bad thing having a separate, single person bathroom for people who need a bit more privacy for whatever reason? Disability? Gender issues? A mother with a group of kids who ‘need to go?’ That would for me fall under ‘good customer service’ especially in a place like McDonald’s . . .

    Robot rights? Pfft! Only in regard to the unfortunate workers whose jobs were being eliminated, and would now be unemployed, and would need to be retrained . . .

    If they are going to be able to keep buying products (since everything is a business) they must have a marketable skill – Henry Ford had it right when he wanted the people who worked in his factories to be able to buy his vehicles, so he paid them well for the time . . .

    It’s good business for people to be employed.

    • what harm is putting in stalls.. privacy.. doesn’t make a difference what gender you are..

      • Well, for one reason some people get freaked out with only stalls – I don’t care myself, though the space issue can be tricky . . . fat person here!