Do you own what you bought?

in LeoFinancelast year

I was talking with a colleague the other day who intentionally gave me a topic to write about on Steem, knowing what kinds of content I write about. When we talk about the centralization of the media platforms and their control over user content and experience and the value they extract, we think about censorship, demonetization and their ability to manipulate the narrative - among other things. What we do not think that much about however, is the centralization of the products we buy.

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My friend has spent the last 5 years or so slowly building a Sonos speaker system throughout his home and then found out that some of his components are being made obsolete. Speakers that are working perfectly fine will stop as they will no longer be updated and speak to the central hub. In fact, one of the hubs itself is being made obsolete and will no longer talk to speakers - and it is still on sale in stores.

I have a Phillips Hue lighting system in my home and I know people who have spent thousands on their bulbs over time, but with the "flick of a switch", they could all go dark if Phillips decides to do something like change the protocols.

Essentially, once enough people have bought into some kind of system they become much like a captured audience and due to the sunk costs, are very unlikely to change. With something like Sonos speakers, they have been encouraged to integrate them into the home itself, not just sit them on a table top. This creates a very unique situation as while we do buy the products, we are actually quite powerless as to what happens with them and that raises the question, do we actually own what we have bought?

We know that when a phone company releases an OS, the older models start to slow down immediately under the claim that it is hardware related, but is it? With the increasing reliance on code for every thing we own and the drive of the IoT pushing into all factors of our life, at some point we will be so connected and reliant that the only option we have is to keep upgrading, forever. And with the drive of corporations to increase profits, the lifecycle of products are going to get increasingly short.

Take televisions as an example. When I was a kid my family had a TV that was probably 25 or more years old and still going strong, but is this going to be the case with the TVs that we have now? Even if they are physically capable, once the protocols change and are no longer supported, there is not much that can be done. This is part of the reason I stopped gaming as I was unable to keep up with the constant need to upgrade graphics card and the like with each new release of a game.

This is of course fantastic for the manufacturers who can drive consumption, but what happens is that the range of companies will narrow down as more and more people commit to one over another, with eventually only a handful of companies left. We have already seen this with social platforms and that has happened at a very rapid rate considering the industry isn't very old at all.

Once users have committed themselves to a platform, there is very little chance of them changing as they have invested themselves into the content and experience and as we know on Steem, that is also where their friends are. This becomes a very high hurdle for any a competitor to overcome and eventually, it will narrow the field in the same way that up until Tesla launched, there hadn't been a new startup car manufacturer for something like 100 years.

What is interesting is what Tesla had to do was come in with a technology that the others had failed to provide and to offer features that the others were unwilling to include. to drive change in the entire industry. In many ways, blockchain and crypto is going to do the same in a general sense, Steem is well positioned to do it from a social platform and content delivery perspective.

The centralized media delivery platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are very top-heavy models and are terribly expensive to maintain, not to mention what is required to keep their shareholders happy. Because of the way Steem operates and distributes value to a diverse set of decentralized owners, it is far more efficient as an operational model to participate with, build upon and invest in.

When it comes to legacy issues, the nodes are updated based on the decisions of decentralized witnesses, not a centralized organization with the only intent to make profits. Does this then add peace of mind for investors, developers and consumers? Does it mean that while we might not really own our lights, speakers, fridges or cars - does owning Steem protect us from obsolescence?

It is interesting to consider for the future, because while any number of communities and SMTs can come and go, the infrastructure itself provides continual support for all users at the base level. I think that things like Sonos' decision to remove support and force repurchases will make people like my colleague reconsider the meaning of ownership and what his purchase actually got him.

I am looking at buying a house with my wife and know that while I will own it on paper, the government can take it away if they so choose. I know that while I have a little money in the bank, the bank can refuse to give it to me if they decide or the government can do as it pleases with it. I know that while I have a phone connection, the telephone company can disconnect it. Perhaps regardless of all the things we have bought, the only thing we own is the shirt on our back - and the crypto in our wallet.

Taraz
[ a Steem original ]

Onboarding

Posted via Steemleo

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There is nothing more disturbing than to hear the words "Sorry, we have discontinued that range". It is of course a sales driver by reinventing a product in the market and force people into buying it by discontinuing the old one.
Especially if it's a product in general use. I think here of Windows 7, now defunct and all users have to buy into Windows 8 whether they like it or not.
My camera, top of the polls when it was launched, but now discontinued as a new smaller one has been launched. Your friend's problems with the speakers. And your fears about the lighting, on and on we go.

Nothing is finite and companies, governments, social media and everyone else has learned the game how to score.
Any new idea that rocks the bandwagon is fiercely resisted and criticized, even maligned. Look what happens with all of the bad stories and fights about crypto. And in the middle of this malaise is us. The consumers, with no say of course.

You are so right in saying that we own nothing except the shirts on our backs and I am sure that a way will be found to also govern crypto when it really takes off.

Just my own thoughts here in response to your great post my friend.

You are so right in saying that we own nothing except the shirts on our backs and I am sure that a way will be found to also govern crypto when it really takes off.

Definitely. Yet, it will be by our own doing as we desire convenience and a lack of responsibility - Crypto definitely isn't convenient (it could be later) and encourages additional responsibility. We as consumers are the demand that drives supply, the problem is that we listen to actively to the suppliers creating demand.

Thanks for stopping by :)

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Agreed my friend, we as consumers are suckers for being lured into all of these schemes. Big Pharma does exactly the same, as they hold trade registration on a pill, then when the registration is due to expire, they add a different ingredient and register the same pill for another long term period. Everyone has a scheme up their sleeves nowadays and it's called democracy. As usual it's the consumers that are conned!
Let's hope that steemit will not follow the same route!
Blessings and thank you for the kind tokens!



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Good analogy about ownership.
Precisely Apple is doing the same thing with iphone as you update
you may lose access to the phone.
crypto is like a concordance of free will, floating in the realm of many
that decide to act as one.
Keep on postin'

Posted via Steemleo

I think that once people get accustomed to making decisions and taking responsibility in decentralized environments, a lot of the challenges we have here will disappear. We are currently used to relying on others to act for us.

I like that you mentioned Tesla and his car.
Tesla Inc. was incorporated in July 2003, from what I could find it was 5 years later that the first Tesla car was sold in 2008. Steem Block Chain is not quite 5 years old yet. It takes time for an industry once challenged by outsiders to change. Will FB and YT do as some of the old school car companies and adjust or will they simply choose to be absorbed and fade away like so many car companies of the past?

Trust is a hard thing to gain today, will Sonos Speakers lose the trust of it's customers with this action and thus lose sales and then be absorbed by some newer conglomerate, or will they see what they have done before it is to late?

Ownership is a very fleeting thing as you showed. Nice thoughtful post.

Will FB and YT do as some of the old school car companies and adjust or will they simply choose to be absorbed and fade away like so many car companies of the past?

The car manufacturers used to laugh at Tesla, they used to laugh at Toyota for the Prius too. Demand drives supply and we as consumers have the power.

Trust is a hard thing to gain today, will Sonos Speakers lose the trust

I actually think they went public, which has been the cause of the moves they have made as they now have shareholders to please. They used to be a little startup challenging the man--- now they wear ties and drive Lambos. They also have speakers sold by IKEA now, which means that there is an incentive for IKEA to pressure for more sales.

I guess they reached their dream, sold, and now have moved on. To often people are able to be bought and sold, I am happy that the originators of the Idea of Sonos reached their dream, but at what cost? A dream to build the best speaker system, (which it sounds like they did), then a dream of being part of the in-money crowd, I wonder how they will feel in a few years as they see their earlier dream become a nightmare for those that trusted their integrity.
!ENGAGE 25

The system is pretty decent from my experience, but that is limited. The speakers themselves have a lot of competition and in Finland, Genelec are hard to beat.

Trust in integrity of a company is misplaced. Google had the slogan of "do no evil" once upon a time. The corporate model is designed to maximize itself over all else.



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I can honestly say that since I have joined Steemit and started to move about the place, I was drawn to it and even in down times, don't consider looking for a better place. With the promise of Voice coming in February, I'm hoping there isn't the abandon ship attitude that came when Weku arrived. It was a complete ghost town here, but, eventually, they all came back or hung up their pens.

I was thinking about the control the government has over things, as do companies. It is a pretty scary thought they can give and take away just as easy. I have to wonder, that leads me to the question, if the grid ever went down, would we even have crypto?

You always have such tip worthy writes! Thank you!

With the promise of Voice coming in February,

I hear they could appear on steem, since they aren't going to be on EOS directly. Would be interesting.

I found it funny when people went to Weku and the like saying it would be better. Same people.... Kind of like that idea of doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

Thank you for the support :)

More and more, you can’t even repair things that are nominally yours:
https://www.wired.com/story/john-deere-farmers-right-to-repair/amp

I’m guessing that this kind of problem will increase, affecting more and more products.

At some point, a government official will be there to consummate a marriage again...

Damn good point my friend ! The problem is that most people don’t realize this fact until it is too late. I bet the people in Greece have changed their outlooks on banks since the last crisis, but many people are naive enough to think it won’t happen where they live.

I like the part which you say about buying a house. So many people say “I bought a house” “ I own a house” that is not true. You own it when you get rid of your debt.

That is why I decided to go for a house in a much cheaper range than I could have chosen, because that gives me a realistic chance to pay it off early instead of carrying the debt my whole life. Even with the low interest rates these days if you don’t try to speed up the process of paying back the debt you will pay more than half the value of the house just in interest, and during that time you always can end up in a situation where you loose it all

but many people are naive enough to think it won’t happen where they live.

Experience is often the only teacher, and then most people don't listen.

“I bought a house” “ I own a house” that is not true. You own it when you get rid of your debt.

It is not only the debt though. If a government wants to put a highway through where your house currently is - they will.

That is why I decided to go for a house in a much cheaper range than I could have chosen, because that gives me a realistic chance to pay it off early instead of carrying the debt my whole life.

This is the way to go and what we have done with our apartment, but we are also trying to do the same for the coming house by getting something we can renovate the way we want. I am really hoping that crypto moves in the next 5 years and we can pay it off clear.

!ENGAGE 20

Well this is the time to be active and investing. Not that I’m a financial advisor or anything. But it will not surprise me if 1 year from now people will complain that they didn’t buy when Steem was so cheap in the beginning of 2020 .

There have been so many people arguing that The bear market finished only a few months or half a year after the all time high. Just check the charts and you can see the pattern. Bear market take time. The eager ones get burnt and give up. And the patient ones wait and buy when we reach the bottom and then ride the next bull run.
When is it coming ? I don’t care, I just try to make sure to continue building my portfolio so that I will be in the right position when we take off

will not surprise me if 1 year from now people will complain that they didn’t buy when Steem was so cheap in the beginning of 2020

Like when they complained that thy didn't buy when it was so cheap in 2017 :) History tends to repeat.

When is it coming ? I don’t care, I just try to make sure to continue building my portfolio so that I will be in the right position when we take off

Stay active is the key to all of this as it is far from a mature industry and those who are too passive, will not see changes as they happen.

Well this is the time to be active and investing. Not that I’m a financial advisor or anything. But it will not surprise me if 1 year from now people will complain that they didn’t buy when Steem was so cheap in the beginning of 2020 .

There have been so many people arguing that The bear market finished only a few months or half a year after the all time high. Just check the charts and you can see the pattern. Bear market take time. The eager ones get burnt and give up. And the patient ones wait and buy when we reach the bottom and then ride the next bull run.
When is it coming ? I don’t care, I just try to make sure to continue building my portfolio so that I will be in the right position when we take off

Deja vu.



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I think it has been this way for quite a while now, it’s just that ‘obsolescence’ is occurring at a much more rapid pace. At some point, for some things, it might not really matter. If autonomous ride-share becomes ‘affordable’ and ubiquitous, do you really need to ‘own’ a car? For that matter, do you really need sound throughout your house? It’s when the bare essentials are forcibly taken from us with no alternatives that the real revolution will begin.

While we may be externally compelled to upgrade all parts of our lives, we have largely been willing to do so. Not many are moving to remote cabins and living off of the land in response!

This was a very thoughtful piece on that which we need to be reminded of now and then!

If autonomous ride-share becomes ‘affordable’ and ubiquitous, do you really need to ‘own’ a car?

I predict that as soon as legal, car sales will plummet and eventually there will be 70% less cars on the road and a host of other knock-on changes. Can't wait.

It’s when the bare essentials are forcibly taken from us with no alternatives that the real revolution will begin.

It is a process of degrees and it will quicken fast as like you say, it has become more rapid.

Not many are moving to remote cabins and living off of the land in response!

I wonder what a disaster the world would be in if 7 billion people tried to live self-sufficiently. Imagine the billions of minor conflicts over resources when 10 million New Yorkers move into a forest :)

To the question in your title, my Magic 8-Ball says:

Most likely

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I know websites don't work like phones, but on the os slowdown on older phone thing, sometimes that is a thing that needs to be done as newer code can be "interesting" on older things and can cause minor inconveniences like more rapid battery drain or small explosions. When I had my webdev business we only supported major browsers two versions down from the latest which involved writing nice scss for the latest browsers with the nice technology, then detecting for older browsers and in the case of IE which I still hate and am glad it's dead devolving into a horrendous spaghetti mess. And that was just for a stupid website on stupider browsers, would hate to think what they need to do with hardware XD

Anyway yes, trying to maintain really old stuff on top of trying to keep up with/develop for new stuff is seriously exhausting in and of itself and then you have to deal with the people who can't/won't upgrade constantly whining about how it's all a huge conspiracy to force them to spend even more of their hard-earned money and you're a terrible, selfish, greedy person/company for not ensuring they are looked after indefinitely.

I may or may not still secretly harbour somewhat bitter feelings towards a person I don't even remember what they look like never mind their name who was angry about a website not displaying properly in IE5 or something like that well past IE5's expiry date

I think what you've just shown (again) is why critical things shouldn't be centrally controlled even if it is a lot more convenient that way XD

Yep, I understand the design issues associated with old browsers etc.

Room for abuse? -
https://money.cnn.com/2017/12/21/technology/apple-slows-down-old-iphones/index.html

The issue with things like speakers though is that they are physical components that should effectively last until they die. 5 years on a speaker that is not cheap is a very short lifecycle in an industry where people have speakers that are 30 years old. Imagine if B&O did the same or like my friend has in his "home theatre" where there is 300k€ of Genelec speakers and a 100k€ projector.

There is always room for abuse x_x

I'm guessing the speakers and bulbs have wifi components or something inside them that would eventually obsolete as well, I don't know enough about hardware development and cycles to know how long the older ones "should" be supported for.

Only 5 years for speakers is a bit much to ask though >_<

Yeah, there is wifi in them, as well as other communication stuff I guess. IoT allows for them to make anything obsolete when they want. I'd be pretty annoyed if I paid 500€ for a hub and 1000€ for speakers last year that no longer worked.

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