I thought it was pretty stupid to fight YouTube. Indeed, I do not support stealing and have the highest respect for intellectual property but when consumers like something that much, fighting them is a waste of time. In that context there are two great developments. First, Google now allows embedding YouTube video in a way that publishers make money. Now NBC is doing something similar and better. I took a look at the new offering with the rather ridiculous name Hulu.
I guess the only ridiculous thing is the name. Apart from that I love the large screen size and excellent quality of the video. And in all fairness to them, of course, there are ads that you cannot fast forward, but to me that is a small price to pay.
When I wrote How to screw poor people, I was trying to highlight the business practices companies often use on vulnerable customers. It is not easy to screw corporations or smart customers but it is very easy to mislead and manipulate poor or ill-informed or vulnerable customers. I can understand why crooks at Countrywide Financial would do it, but when Merrill Lynch does that, it is a sad day for corporate America. ML is an old company with long tradition of being only the best at what it does – I have friends who work there and I have heard great stories about the culture.
Everything was thrown out the window when the management (and Stan O’Neal has to take the blame) put a big bet on sub-prime mortgages. O’Neal was a great CEO as the stock performance chart above shows, he created enormous shareholder value, but I hope other business leaders will learn the lesson that the company did not have the noble goal of putting poor people in their own homes – the whole strategy was driven by greed and lust for short-term profits. I am glad it is all over for O’Neal.