Plus Marketing

How to get really rich

Image: blog_plus_marketing

I was telling a friend about how aromatherapy is bullshit, and she asked me how it is I could be skeptical about so many things. Wouldn't I have to know the details of each and every claim in order to be able to dismiss them?

I wouldn't say it's a good idea to dismiss ideas without having learned at least a little about it.

Bullshit, however, doesn't necessarily come in too many different flavours. Once you look into something like aromatherapy even just a little, you quickly see that it's just another example of a common scam.

People have sold things like incense and perfume since forever, because people like nice smells. But anyone who can get their hands on the raw materials can sell it, which makes for a more or less even marketplace in which profits will be constrained.

The way to rise above that problem is as old as civilization. If you can add in something else, something intangible amount of "knowledge" that you claim others don't have, then you can mark it up far beyond the margins set by production costs and competition.

Problem is, though, that there is nothing else to smells other than that they smell nice. An enterprising person doesn't let that stop them, though. Whatever is missing from the reality can simply be made up.

Instead of just selling smells, you sell the idea that smells do more than just smell nice. Since you've figured this out, you also get to set the terms on how to sort out which ones do what and how to best use them.

It's not a huge leap, and it might not even start out dishonestly. Obviously, I'll be a little happier smelling green apples and a little less happy smelling dog shit. Doesn't take any special biology or spiritualism to explain that.

Starting from a simple premise like that, all you have to do is push the boundaries on finer gradients of pleasant and unpleasant moods created by a wider array of smells. In no time you'll be telling people how their health is affected by their mood, which is affected by what they smell, and if they want to get the best information, then they can buy it from you.

See that? You just became an aromatherapist. Print yourself a certificate and start making yourself some cash.

Basically, information, especially made up information, is infinite in supply. It's a bottomless source of value added service that you can attach to any action or substance and charge for.

It's tempting to try to wrap this equation around other bullshit ideas, like reiki, NLP, channeling spirits, and other things. They fall into a category of things that wouldn't exist in this universe at all were it not for the gullibility of some and the marketing of others. The equation for all of them would be "bullshit idea - marketing = 0."

There are also things that are not as easy to separate. For example, some wine is genuinely better than other wine and worth paying extra for. But a lot of expensive wine is hyper inflated by marketing. Ditto for fashion, celebrity, perfume, and many other things. You can't squeeze everything into the same demystifying equation.

Still, there are plenty of products and services that can be brought under the "+ marketing" equation. Once identified, one can develop a healthy scepticism without having to quibble over particulars.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't so skeptical, because I wonder if I could be rich if only I could sell myself on some bullshit idea I pulled out of my ass.

Instead, I'll probably remain poor, but at least I won't be wasting money by buying stuff without paying for the mark up created by total bullshit.