Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 8th, 2011

Selling nuts to squirrels: What can we sell for the highest in the food chain?

Squirrels eat nuts: All kinds of nuts? Would they eat anything else if offered other food alternative not found in their environment?

What can we sell for the highest in the food chain?

Mankind kill anything alive, even if he is not hungry and feeling sick.

Mankind bought pieces of Real Estates in the moon.  Mankind bought a Star in the sky and gave it his name.

Mankind eat anything:  Rich people in the desert eat caviar, while they should be serving refreshing condiments.  But, how can we change world-view on human rights issues?

Seth Godin wrote:

“In All Marketers Tell Stories, I argued that most organizations shouldn’t try to change the worldview of the audience they’re marketing to.

Worldview is a term popularized by George Lakoff. It’s the set of expectations and biases that color the way each of us see the world (before the marketer ever arrives on the scene).

The worldview of a 45 year old wine-loving investment banker is very different from that of a fraternity brother. One might see a $100 bottle of burgundy as both a bargain and a must-have, while the other might see the very same bottle of wine as an insane waste of money.

Worldview changes three things: attention, bias and vernacular. Attention, because we choose to pay attention to those things that we’ve decided do matter. Bias, because our worldview alters the way we filter and interpret what we hear. And vernacular, because words and images resonate with people differently based on their worldview.

It’s extremely expensive, time consuming and difficult to change someone’s worldview. The guys at Opus One shouldn’t spend a lot of time marketing expensive wine to fraternities because it’s not efficient. Sell nuts to squirrels, don’t try to persuade dolphins that nuts are delicious.

There’s an exception to this rule, and that’s the necessity of changing worldviews if you want to become a giant brand, a world changer, a marketer for the ages. Starbucks changed the way a significant part of the world thought about spending $4 for a cup of coffee.

Or consider Facebook. It started by selling nuts to squirrels. At first, Facebook was social crack for lonely (all college students are lonely) college students. Over time, the social pressure it created snuck up on and surrounded those with a different inclination, those that would never have signed up on their own.

These folks had a worldview that privacy was valuable and that time was better spent elsewhere.

But once a sufficient number of their friends and colleagues were online, they felt they had little choice. Converting those people (often against their short term wishes) is where Facebook’s most recent 300 million users came from.

The interesting truth in both the Starbucks and Facebook example is that a different worldview was at work. The latecomers to each company were sold a very different story–the story of, “you need to be here because all your friends are.” That worked because it matched the latecomers’ worldview, the one that includes an imperative, “don’t be left out.” Different nut, same squirrel.” (End of quote)

Squirrels eat nuts: All kinds of nuts?  What can we sell for the highest in the food chain? Selling nuts to squirrels is a pretty candid catchy title, but not on target and misrepresenting what mankind want.

Attention, bias and vernacular are certainly good factors in enticing man to buying particular products and services.  Mankind is ready to buy when prompted with either attention, bias or vernacular:  Mankind might not be satisfied with all the above incentives, including the “don’t be left out”.

Common people have to do with what their environment offers:  Most of us survive on a few condiments:  the varieties and nutritional qualities of the few daily staples are even worse than many animal species eat.  The rich classes are not satisfied with anything, but nothing stop them from envying everything and everybody.

Do you know that multinational financial institutions are already exploiting Earth potable water?  Every cup of water you drink, you are paying for it and revenues are reverting to the coffers of the multinational financial investors. 

Do you know that multinational financial investors are lobbying to exploit the air you breath?  They want to have the right to selling you the air you breath:  Yes, the are running out of venues for fresh exploitation of mankind!

Selling nuts to squirrels; but, how can we change world-view on human rights issues, on giving priority to people survival, on eliminating enfantile mortality, on focusing on the human development indicators, on a sustainable environment, on clear water and clean air?

Can mankind wishes and wants for a cleaner and sustainable future be marketed as products and services are marketed?  If yes, lets get on with it:  Almost every specialty and job are related to marketing.  The expertise in marketing is abundant:  Let us work on the most important check list of human conditions, wants, wishes, and dreams.

Updates on Yemen: What may change after President Saleh?

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been grievously injured and underwent surgery in Saudi Arabia.  The Presidential Palace was shelled by the troops allied to the tribal leader of Al Ahmar.  Many high ranking officials died.  The US is claiming that the serious injuries of “Preisdent” Saleh were due to a planted bomb in the Palace. 

I read pieces of information by the Lebanese journalist Amine Kamourieh that Saudi monarchy has been paying monthly stipend to 7,000 tribal and clan leaders in Yemen, for over 40 years.

The tribal leader Cheick Sanan Abu Luhoum devulged these information in his diary.  In the 60’s Egyptian troops of Gamal Abdel Nasser were in South Yemen fighting the religious Imam in Sanaa, who was supported by the Saudi monarchy.  The Republican Yemenite tribal leaders met in Saudi Arabia for negotiation:  They didn’t want to lose the monthly stipends, but had to insist on a Republican State in Yemen.  They got what they wanted.

The Yemenite tribe of Hashed was in charge of distributing the stipends to the other leaders and their clans.  For example, no President in Yemen can be elected without the explicit approval of the Saudi monarchy.

The interesting story is that the Republican Yemeni tribal leaders in the 60’s had a single condition to receiving the monthly stipend:  That Saudi Arabia forgets to have a religious leader or Imam ruling Yemen.  Most other Saudi constraints would be negotiable.  That is how Yemen survived as a “Republic” and south and north Yemen States got united in the mid 80’s under the leadership of President Saleh.

President Saleh committed the unforgivable blunder and ultimate political mistake of militarily attacking the most powerful tribe (in this case the Al Ahmar tribal leader) that distributed the stipends to the other tribal leaders.

It is not probable that President Saleh is to return to Yemen, but what kind of transitional government can Yemen expect?  What may change after President Saleh?

The way money are distributed, if the youth movement for change in Yemen is not able to generate liquidity from sources of States (other than Saudi Arabia) to bribe the tribal leaders to siding with a true Republican regime, the trend would be to continue as it functioned for 30 years.  Mainly, the next president will be from the Tribe of Hashed and the same entourage of oligarchy maintained in place.

President Saleh tried in the last two weeks to ignite a civil war: He delivered the city of Zanzibar in south Yemen to Al Qaeda followers, and committed massacres in the city of Taez.  One think is obvious:  The people in South Yemen will demand a self-autonomous governance with substantial budget allocated, while the tribal leaders in North Yemen will continue to receive their monthly stipend from Saudi Arabia.  The transition government has the task of not driving Yemen to another Somalia-type anarchy:  Mind you that Yemen is the closest to the pirates of Somalia, blackmailing cargo ship on the high sea.

Can the more than 4-month mass uprising in Yemen, which harvested so many people and injured thousands, allow the same political game to be replayed? The upheaval has reached every city and town.

The people do not care was this President wishes or wants. Today, the people have said: “Enough is enough”.  Ministers and ambassadors are resigning in protests.

On November 6, 2009, I published a post “There is a devastating civil war in Yemen: Is it of any concern to the UN?”.

The UN did it again!  Civil wars in non oil-producing Arab States are left to run its natural steam until the State is bankrupt and ready to be picked up at salvage price. The UN tends to get busy for years in collateral world problems when civil wars strike Arab States.

Occasionally, the UN demonstrates lukewarm attempts for a resolution in oil-producing States as long as it is under control.  Lebanon experienced 17 years of civil war.  Morocco still has a civil war in south Sahara for three decades.  Sudan has been suffering of a rampant civil war for four decades.  Algeria is experiencing a resurgence of a devastating civil war that started in 1990 because Europe refused to accept a democratically elected Islamic majority in the parliament.  Iraq was totally neglected while Saddam Hussein was decimating the Shiaas and Kurds in Iraq for three decades.

Even after the US coalition forced the Iraqi troops out of Kuwait, the UN instituted an embargo that killed 2 million Iraqi babies for lack of milk and needed medicines.  Somalia never got out of its miseries for four decades so far.  Mauritania is rope jumping from one military coup to another. The other Arab States are in constant low-level civil wars overshadowed by dictators, one party, oligarchic, and absolute monarchic regimes.

A week ago, a few trucks were allowed to cross Saudi borders carrying tents and necessary medicines to stem generalized diseases where hundred thousands of Yemeni refugees huddled in refugee camps on the high plateau of North-West Yemen, by the borders with Saudi Arabia, which closed its borders and chased out any “infiltration” of refugees.

The most disheartening feeling is that you don’t see field reporting of this civil war by the western media.  The written accounts are from second-hand sources and decades old. They abridge the problem by stating it is a tribal matter. They feel comfortable blaming Iran; and you wonder: “how this land-locked region in North-West Yemen can be supplied by Iran?”  Blaming Iran for every social uprising in the Gulf States needs to be clarified.

The western media is easily convinced that Al Qaeda moved from Saudi Arabia and was ordered to infiltrate the Somali refugee camps in South Yemen.  Question: How Sunni Moslem Al Qaeda members got to be located in a region of North West Yemen with Shiaa Yazdi population?   Is that question totally irrelevant?

The population of North-West Yemen forms the third of the total; the “citizens” are of the Yezdi Shiia sect that agrees to seven Imams and not 12 as in Iran; the Yazdi sect does not care that much about the coming of a “hidden” Mahdi to unite and save Islam.  The western media want you to believe that this war, which effectively started in 2004, is a power succession problem to prevent the son of current President Abdallah Saleh from inheriting the power. Actually Saleh’s son is the head of the Presidential Guard which has been recently involved in the war after the regular army failed to bring a clear-cut victory in this “civil war”.

Yemen was a backward States even in the 60′s.  South Yemen had a Marxist regime backed by the Egyptian troops of Jamal Abdel Nasser; it was against North Yemen ruled by an ancient Yazdi Imam; a hereditary regime labeled the “Royalists” and backed by Saudi Arabia.

After the Soviet Union disintegrated, Yemen unified in 1990.  Since then, South Yemen and North West Yemen were deprived of the central State financial and economic distribution of wealth.  President Saleh could present the image of a “progressist” leader as long as Yemen was out of the screen and nobody cared about this bankrupt State.

Yemen is on the verge of being divided into three separate autonomous States, the South, North West, and Sanaa the Capital.  The problems in the Horn of Africa have migrated its endemic instability into Yemen: refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan have been flocking into the southern shores of Yemen.  Heavy influx of contraband products are keeping the people of these two regions precariously afloat.

The deal between Hillary Clinton and Israel foreign affairs Levny to patrol the Indian Ocean was not just meant for Gaza, but mainly to supporting President Saleh for his 2009 military campaign against the rebels in North Yemen by monitoring contraband arms shipments.

Saudi Arabia, during the duo power brokers of Prince Sultan and Neyef (respectively Ministers of Defense and the Interior) did their best to destabilize Yemen on account of fighting the spread of the Shiaa sect in the Arabic Peninsula. Yemen has no natural resources to count on and the population is addicted to “Qat” that they chew on, at lunch time for hours.

Yemen was the most prosperous region in the Arabic Peninsula for millennia; land caravans started from Taez and then passed by Maareb from which town the caravans split to either Mecca (then to Aqaba and Syria) or took the direction to Persia and Iraq.  All kinds of perfume, seasoning, and textile landed by sea from India and South East Asia; incense was produced from a special tree grown in Yemen and Hadramout.

The British colonial Empire didn’t care about this region; all that it wanted to secure were sea ports for commerce and to defend the entrances of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea to Egypt.

The UN is inheriting the same lax attitude of the British Empire; as long as the US bases are secured in this region then the hell with the people. Qatar arranged for reconciliation in 2007 and Saudi Arabia interfered to fail it.  The disseminated propaganda is of “Archaic tribes fighting one another wearing daggers as symbol of manhood are all that there is in Yemen”.

Saudi Arabia is involved in this war and using its airforce to stem the “rebel hawthees”; it blocked the satellites in the Arab world that cover this civil war.  Is CNN willing to come to the rescue for the world communities to get coverage of the mass massacres going on in this poor country?

This post sounds so current in its content that I cannot but wonder:  Have the western nations understood anything about the current “Arab” mass upheavals?  Is Libya to be implicitly redivided among the previous colonial powers?  Are the absolute monarchs in Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and the Arab Gulf States to retain their powers?  Hell no; not this time around.  Enough indignity and humiliation!




June 2011

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