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Re: [ProgSoc] software and food recipes

On Sat, 12 May 2001, James Wan wrote:

> > price, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, across 6 continents.  If somebody
> > finds out their recipe, no big deal, since it's not the point.
> What about KFC's secret 11 herbs and spices, do you think it would apply
> the same. If you could re-create the taste, would you only go back just to
> sit in a KFC type restaurant?

Fairly easy to answer this:  As much as before, yes.  Because
  (a) I'm already out
  (b) It's quicker
  (c) (b) is more important to me than the relative savings to be made
  (d) Hypothetically if I knew the recipe, I'd have to practice it first,
      and even then, with my skills I might not prefer it (but who knows).

So, you've heard about Product, Price, Position and Placement?  There are
loads of Ps, anyway.  But Product is only one of them.

Okay now then, if somebody opened up Sydney Fried Chicken next to KFC on
George St, then it really wouldn't make a difference going there.  So why
hasn't this happened already?  Well there's only so much greasy-chicken
taste & feel that one area will bear  :-)  So there'd probably be a
pricewar, and one would get pushed out.

Or, more realistically, the hypothetical aspirant "SFC" store owner would
survey the market and decide there's not enough profit margin to justify
the attempt;  versus going and doing something new.  See, there you go,
innovation can happen despite the lack of IP protection.

KFC, meantime, is less reluctant to open new stores because they've got
that whole distribution and method thing worked out from last time, so
it's less trouble for them than it is for SFC.

Of course occasionally it is worthwhile to have a clone compete -- which
is why we have a Burger King as well as a Hungry Jacks sitting on the same
strip of George St.  They're both making profit;  they're bothing using
the same recipe;  and most of the punters don't even realise that they're
not the same ownership.  And it's legal.

Intellectual Property protection is a funny old thing.  It's supported by
conservative stalwarts (to drag out a stereotype for a minute) who claim
that it holds up advanced technological societies like the USA;  the same
people who oppose market regulation and defend free trade.  IP isn't
actually free market philosophy at its roots;  if only these same people
had more faith in their own ideas about the free market, they'd just let
the world go at it and allow innovation to happen on its own.  (The sorts
of restrictions and regulations you do need is for producing and selling
dangerous goods and goods that do not perform as expected, because not
everyone is a genius with the spare time to research the product).

> > Microsoft is a damn fine business, too.  Very smart, very mean.
> So does this mean you predict the software industry to become like the
> fast food industry?

To paraphrase an old mantra, "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft".

I would say they are already like each other, but that's mostly down to
them both being industries already.  Brand loyalty arises out of many
things.  FUD is one popular way with MS.  They have many other ways too.


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