Anyone up for a Game of Hypotheticals?

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” At least, that's what Albert Einstein said, although he wasn't the first to notice the thin line between Genius and Madness.Either Sophocles (pace Plato) or Aristotle is alleged to have said that it’s "the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
At this juncture, you may well ask, “What does this have to do with Type Business?"
Well, that depends on how much skin you have in the Status Quo: further information upon request.
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Comments

  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 587
    ... further information upon request.
    Does this require a private request? If not, please continue.

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 554
    edited July 25
    This seems like an attempt at viral marketing, which is a blatant violation of the rules on this board.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,371
    Yes, Socrates, I agree--or else "WTF you talkin' about, Willis"

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    Of course, we can see that:
    he is proposing a radical change in how the business of typography (presumably in the font creation department) is done...
    one that will seem absurd
    one that will seem threatening to people who like things the way they are because they're finding it profitable.
    I will admit that I find it hard to imagine that there is a "better way" out there. If anything, technology seems to be eroding the ability of font creators to prevent piracy, and it's not as if a font, unlike, say, a database system, is something that needs constant maintenance and support.
    And then there's the whole issue of trees and paper versus webfonts. For web page designers, unlike print publishers, the idea of giving up and only using free fonts is extremely tempting, since then everything is simple - only the largest corporations can afford to spend large amounts on their 'image'.
    So my gut instinct is that any radical new paradigm shift in how fonts are distributed... will only solve the problem of putting bread on the table for a slim minority of font creators, and make life harder for everyone else in the business. The absurd new idea would have to be explained in some detail, I fear, to convince not just me, but a lot of other people, that this is not the case.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    edited July 26
    one that will seem threatening to people who like things the way they are because they're finding it profitable.
    There are many talks about how terrible the existing licensing models are (used by nearly all successful foundries today), but no one seems to have anything to say about (even less so to show) how “reimagining” it can be worth the financial risk.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    Einstein also said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
    Unfortunately, the Process under hypothetical discussion is mammoth and complex, so it takes a number of baby steps to get down to dirt-simple. I understand the skepticism, but it's only a game. As in Game Theory, As in "What if…"
    @John Savard hit several nails squarely on the head, which I find encouraging—the more people who see the problem, the merrier. Pursuant to same, let the Gaming begin!
    Hypothesis #1, Stakeholders, not Stockholders—what say ye?
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 587
    Hypothesis #1, Stakeholders, not Stockholders—what say ye?
    Sounds much like history repeating itself == ATF.

  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    You ain't half wrong. By yourself, you almost got it!


  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    …no one seems to have anything to say about (even less so to show) how “reimagining” it can be worth the financial risk.
    No one has yet; nevertheless, he persisted.

  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    The simple version…
    1. Deconstruction of stockholder-first enterprises.
    2. Reconstruction with stakeholder-and-stockholders enterprises.
    You asked for it; now, let the howling begin.



  • Yves MichelYves Michel Posts: 40
    The simple version…
    1. Deconstruction of stockholder-first enterprises.
    2. Reconstruction with stakeholder-and-stockholders enterprises.
    You asked for it; now, let the howling begin.



    Not howling, even if I understand your meaning.

    But I was searching for a type oriented forum and not a political one.

    I'll leave you to your proselytism.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    @Yves Michel
    I was searching for a type oriented forum and not a political one.
    I'll leave you to your proselytism.
    I'm not talking politics: I'm talking business and how to survive a too-soon-arriving future which could wipe virtually all but the Biggest Players, leaving content producers—read US—without little or no income.

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,371
    there has long been a dream about a cooperative, Village gave it a try, but on a large scale, who wants to handle it?
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    @Nick Curtis what makes you think this is the future?
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
     I'm talking business and how to survive a too-soon-arriving future which could wipe virtually all but the Biggest Players, leaving content producers—read US—without little or no income.

    Except for the fact that bad times for type designers are already here, since font piracy and webfonts are things of the present, the reference to a "too-soon-arriving future" puzzles me.
    I mean, it's not as if quantum computing, Gallium Nitride, or the switch to a 3nm process are going to directly affect type designers. Or the return of video cards to MSRP.
    So if there's a change on the horizon that is threatening to small type designers, I am oblivious to it.

    @Thomas Phinney
    While I'm not really amused by this game either, I put it down to one of two things: his personality, or the fact that his idea, when spread out in the open, could provoke a response of "is that all" unless some crucial point is established clearly first.
    Also, I'm a fast reader. So if I glance here, and there's no important content yet, no harm done. I'll glance again tomorrow.
    Thus, it doesn't really bother me, I don't even have to exert myself unduly to not let it bother me.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    Thanks all for your input.
    • As I suspected, some amongst us (the lovers, the dreamers and me) are intrigued;
    • Others think think that they have me sussed out (the Holmesians); and
    • A few skeptics (the Missourians) are pissed off with my cryptic manner and screwy ideas.
    I hear, I feel and I see you. First, the context—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gutenberg_Galaxy

  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    Content out of context is worthless. As I said, here's the context—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gutenberg_Galaxy
    Still think this thread is totally off-subject?
  • edited July 27
    Ugh. If you want to talk apocalyptic scenarios, I'd much rather discuss how the actions of a few greedy foundries are pulling the rug out from under the rest of us. Apparently they've discovered litigation as a convenient revenue stream, and are coming after their erstwhile customers with all kinds of licensing claims. As a result, there is now a disturbing trend of large customers, particularly in the media production space, who will *only* buy from the Very Large Retailers for fear of being sued by a little player.

    In recent months, I've had to smooth a lot of waves and give all kinds of absurd assurances that I won't be suing my clients. The length and number of release forms I'm asked to sign has easily doubled. 

    I understand that litigation is necessary in certain cases, but using this as an income strategy seems very short-sighted to me, like boys outside in winter peeing their pants to stay warm. It'll work in the short term, but it'll be a lot worse after. 
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 114
    Right, so the "context" is the entire history of type and its relationship with human civilization. Cool cool. That's certainly enough to justify a taxonomy of people's attitudes to an idea they still haven't heard with weird epithets like "Missourians" for people who haven't opened their minds enough to "entertain a thought" before finding out what it is.
  • Nick CurtisNick Curtis Posts: 113
    K Pease
    Right, so the "context" is the entire history of type and its relationship with human civilization. Cool cool. That's certainly enough to justify a taxonomy of people's attitudes to an idea they still haven't heard with weird epithets like "Missourians" for people who haven't opened their minds enough to "entertain a thought" before finding out what it is.
    Right on. I couldn’t have said it — and demonstrably didn't say it — better myself.





  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 234
    Apparently they've discovered litigation as a convenient revenue stream, and are coming after their erstwhile customers with all kinds of licensing claims. As a result, there is now a disturbing trend of large customers, particularly in the media production space, who will *only* buy from the Very Large Retailers for fear of being sued by a little player.
    @Oliver Weiss (Walden Font Co.) It's very concerning, no manager wants to be hit with an unexpected $10k dispute with no room for manoeuvre. How do you phrase that kind of thing to a boss who cares little for fonts? People lose jobs when they hide their costs, and it's often worse if they ignore the dispute until it's too late. The incentive is clear.

    Much better to be safe and stick to a few trusted large retailers.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132
    Ugh. If you want to talk apocalyptic scenarios, I'd much rather discuss how the actions of a few greedy foundries are pulling the rug out from under the rest of us. Apparently they've discovered litigation as a convenient revenue stream, and are coming after their erstwhile customers with all kinds of licensing claims. As a result, there is now a disturbing trend of large customers, particularly in the media production space, who will *only* buy from the Very Large Retailers for fear of being sued by a little player.

    In recent months, I've had to smooth a lot of waves and give all kinds of absurd assurances that I won't be suing my clients. The length and number of release forms I'm asked to sign has easily doubled. 

    I understand that litigation is necessary in certain cases, but using this as an income strategy seems very short-sighted to me, like boys outside in winter peeing their pants to stay warm. It'll work in the short term, but it'll be a lot worse after. 
    That’s an interesting insight. Are you basing it purely on the raising amounts of assurances from the clients or something else? Are you referring to some specific foundries?

    Because it seems like the big players have much bigger chances to sue someone, first because they have more money for lawyers, and second because small foundries are mostly just creatives who want to push curves around, not spend their time at the court. I would think that clients may ask for assurances because their high-end lawyers find a small foundry’s EULA incomplete or something like that. No?
  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 234
    edited July 27
    Alex Visi said:

    Because it seems like the big players have much bigger chances to sue someone, first because they have more money for lawyers, and second because small foundries are mostly just creatives who want to push curves around, not spend their time at the court.
    Big players give clear terms, they keep track and follow up. It gets escalated to legal rapidly because big player disputes are high value. Sometimes it has ramifications on other parts of the business. Hurt relations with the big company are more difficult to manage, e.g. M&A. The bite is quite sharp. I've seen senior leadership fix things within 24 hours after sitting on it for 3 years.

    Small players may have terms that are less clear, and the paper trail is more likely to be forgotten. The disputes are smaller, more nuanced and precise. Nobody wants to deal with extra politics, and that's exactly what pushing curves around entails. A small selection of fonts is often quite easy to substitute.
    Alex Visi said:
    I would think that clients may ask for assurances because their high-end lawyers find a small foundry’s EULA incomplete or something like that. No?
    Yes, assurances are important when using a smaller foundry… but I suspect license disputes are a leading cause in the absurd length and number of release forms. When using multiple foundries, there's a lot of paperwork to wade through. Legal teams didn't used to make time for that, unless it was part of a larger contract.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    Content out of context is worthless. As I said, here's the context—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gutenberg_Galaxy
    Still think this thread is totally off-subject?

    Like Nick Curtis, I think that K. Pease's response is spot on. Instead of placating those who are put off by your approach, this statement is more likely to be the final nail in the coffin for them.
    After all, when I think of Marshall McLuhan in connection with type design...
    Yes, if we all decided to switch from reading books to watching TV - or, in the modern context, looking at web pages to watching YouTube videos - then the next step would be to give up literacy altogether.
    If literacy no longer existed as a skill, because people used pictures and the recorded voice for everything instead, obviously type designers would be out of business.
    If that were going to happen, there is nothing type designers could do about it by adopting a new business model.
    Obviously, though, it won't. Reading text, as opposed to using the recorded voice, to search for the particular video you want... still has undoubted practical advantages. But one could indeed imagine a future where text was nothing more than a tiny wrapper layer around context that was almost all in voice and video forms.
    In that future, there's no real reason why we couldn't use Helvetica for all the few remaining applications of the written word.

    This is me being Holmesian, except that since what you are proposing is a fix for the problems type designers face, obviously your scenario can't be the one for which absolutely no fix is possible.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 132

    If literacy no longer existed as a skill, because people used pictures and the recorded voice for everything instead, obviously type designers would be out of business.

    The data kinda shows that we’re safe:





    In case you worry about the youngsters only watching youtube:


  • k_lk_l Posts: 42
    First, the context—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gutenberg_Galaxy
    Jacques Attali: Noise. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1985.
    (Different style, different angle, along these lines though, poetic too.)
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