My column last Friday was about why I think Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is bad at his job. It’s one of the longest columns I’ve run, and I could probably say a lot more if I thought it was worthwhile. The company is filled with dysfunction that can be easily observed simply by reading headlines. Which means things most likely look a lot worse inside.
Of course, you can’t mention the man’s name without having people yell the word “greed”. Greed in this case being internet shorthand for “wants to make more money”. I cringe whenever I see this line of thinking, because it misses the point entirely.
There are two fast food restaurants in town: Valve Pizza and Activison Burgers. Valve keeps their place immaculate. The cashiers are all smiles. They’re always giving out coupons.
Right across the street, Activision Burgers offers about the same quality food for the same price. Inside, they have a beat-up dining area where half the tables are missing salt & pepper shakers. There’s a lone surly cashier at the front counter. They charge for individual ketchup packets, the bathroom door is coin-operated, the drinks are mostly ice, and they don’t have free refills on soft drinks.
Now, is the problem with Activision Burgers “greed”? I don’t think so. Sure, they cut costs and nickel & dime you in an attempt to make money. But Valve is trying to make money too. The just understand that spending a little extra on trivial stuff like salt shakers and sweeping the floor can make more money down the road. Both of these stores are “greedy”. One of them is just one-dimensional and short sighted.
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