Pioneers, Revolutionaries, Contrarians and Consumers

I had a couple pretty bad days this week — one day was especially bad (I was crushed), and the the rest of the week was a very gradual improvement… to the point that I almost feel like I am OK again. :)

It was pretty much a bad scene to be anywhere near me for most of the week (and on the worst day I basically had to lock myself in a closet in order not to get burnt at the stake).

I don’t remember at what point in this I decided to get in touch with a couple of my friends — the type who basically tell you the truth (no matter how bad that might seem), but they told me some things that I think I needed to hear.

No one on earth (besides myself, and maybe my father) considers me a pioneer. “Pioneer” is a positive word, and most people prefer to somehow ever-so gently break it to me that I am simply a wack-o. :P

One friend refers to me as a revolutionary (not this week in particular, more generally) — maybe like Rousseau or Karl Marx. Most revolutionaries are wack-o, and few are successful in any way. They struggle against an establishment regime that is focused on maintaining the status quo (cf. “Establishment Apologists Acknowledge that the Status Quo Is Unfair — and They Want to Keep it that Way for Their Own Benefit“).

Another friend this week referred to me as a contrarian. I guess that’s similar to being a revolutionary — except that the revolt is not against an establishment regime, but rather against “mainstream” ideas. I don’t know which of these is better or worse (I think they’re both bad, actually). I think being a revolutionary is more acutely dangerous, but being contrarian is perhaps more damaging to your social reputation (i.e., being sort of “out of touch” with the social environment, abnormal or even weird).

I think I am neither — like I said, I view myself as a pioneer (sort of like Columbus, Martin Luther, Galileo, or Da Vinci — all role models, except that it helps to have wealthy, strong, or simply very supportive backers, like some/all of these guys did). If you want to be a pioneer, then doing that without any backers is a lonely undertaking (at best). If such trailblazing (see e.g. “From Newspapers to Pay Per Info“) is unconventional, then that may lead to problems.

Another friend said to me (as I was ranting on the phone): “well, maybe people don’t want that”. True, but after thinking about it for a couple of days now, I have come to the conclusion that maybe it doesn’t matter whether consumers want or like something… — i.e., it doesn’t matter whether people want the world to be round or not; the world simply is the way it is. Yet I also think everything is relative — or at least it can be: There is probably no reason why you couldn’t pretend that the Earth is the center of the universe… — then you simply have to come up with more complex formulas to explain why other parts of the universe simply don’t actually seem to  revolve around the Earth (at least not obviously, or exactly, or precisely or whatever).

Michael Jackson was very popular. If you ask “who was the best musician in the late 20th Century” and you let the market decide, then that would probably be Michael Jackson. Consumers don’t usually pick pioneers, revolutionaries or contrarians. Likewise, they are not very good at predicting stock market crashes.

Maybe people who maintain that the market price is “always right” should be burned at the stake. (just kidding ;) )

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