PROVIDING STRUCTURE TO THE WORLD
quisition. The downside, of course, is becoming an industry bully by suppressing competitive technologies. Over time, such actions can cause an expensive antitrust case and a publicity nightmare.1 Ruler Marketing In the old economy, Ruler institutions frequently treated customers and clients as their “subjects.” No more. Customers want to be Rulers themselves. A very effective ad for LiveCapital.com (“Business ﬁnancing made easy.”) reﬂects this transition. The ad starts with a picture of a man sitting across a desk, staring at a skeptical-looking banker. The text reads, “Option A: You sit in front of this guy, justifying why the past two years of your life’s work are worthy of a business loan. Option B: You ﬁll out one short, online application and get ﬁnancing offers from multiple lenders.” Of course, appealing to the Ruler, you always want to let the customer have power. And you never want to humiliate the customer. Rulers like control, and they do not like to be told what to do. Microsoft ran a great ad that leaves customers with the decision whether to work on their vacation. You see a small boat out to sea, on a beautiful day. You see just the bottom half of the owner—his laptop, legs, and bare, crossed feet. He looks totally relaxed. Across the page are the words, “Now you have the technology to work during your vacation. Does that mean you’ll be doing more work, or taking more vacation?. . . . The decision is yours.” Either way, the picture shows him relaxed, in control, enjoying his life. In the old days, companies operated for the most part as if they existed in isolation. Sure, they needed suppliers and they were aware of their competition, but on a day-to-day basis, they assumed autonomy. Agnieszka M. Winkler, in Warp Speed Branding, makes a compelling case that those days are really over. In a global economic system, nations have to recognize their interdependence upon one another. Similarly, companies are dependent on all the companies with which they do business. In addition, “it’s the increasingly complex set of interrelationships of all the stakeholders and brands in1. Thaddeus Wawro, Radicals and Visionaries (Irvine, CA: Entrepreneur Press, 2000), pp. 137–139.