Ignoring the obvious


Look what I found, a very old old press release…

Electricity hailed as ‘great new innovation’ for Whaling Industry

Artist's rendering of a blue whaleThursday, September 19, 1872 — AP, Boston, MA. Whale Oil Industry executives heard rave reviews from industry experts on the use of electricity on board whaling vessels as a way to greatly reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and even potentially revolutionize the industry. According to George Z. Melville, Worldwide Industry of Whale Oil (WIOWO) executive vice president of business development, electricity is the greatest innovation since steam power, and it will restore profits hurt by naysayers screaming about both the price of whale oil and the notion that the oceans are actually running low on whales.

“Electricity,” said Mr. Melville, “reduces costs for us at a time when we’re under attack on two fronts. It provides modernized instrumentation, which will speed location and depth of our prey, and even light our ships cheaper than it does using our own product. There is, frankly, so much potential here that we think we’re ushering in an entire new era in not only the capture of whales but also in the processing of blubber.” The manufacture of Whale Oil is the 5th largest industry in the U.S. and is known for its ability to generate bright and long lasting illumination throughout the world.

Investors who spoke on the condition that they not be identified told us that, at the current rate of growth, the industry was on its way to becoming the top U.S. export, in addition to topping all growth industries in the generation of our entire economy. There were plenty of smiles in Boston at the WIOWO annual conference held at the famous Parker House hotel, and much of it was over the new technology.

The first order of business is to acquire and maintain Hippolyte Pixii dynamos aboard ships, although speakers at the conference demonstrated a new technology called polyphase alternators that will supply currents of multiple differing phases. Lord Kelvin, Sebastian Ferranti, and British electrician J.E.H. Gordon all spoke of what will be known as “alternating current,” a stunning innovation that will bring even greater savings and solutions for the industry. There was even one session during which speakers debated the possible use of electronic weaponry that would exceed the power and capabilities of grenade or explosive harpoonery. This controversial concept was debated in the hallways and outside the corridors of the conference, where attendees gathered to discuss what they’d learned.

Norwegian Svend Foyn, who invented the explosive harpoon, which was prominently staged on the showroom floor, politely dismissed the rave reviews of electricity and noted that his newest invention, an explosive harpoon that injected air into the whale carcass to keep it from sinking, was vastly more significant than anything that was potentially years downstream. “I don’t doubt that these fine people are onto something,” Foyn told the Associated Press, “but I do not believe this is something we must fully jump into right now.”

“What we need now,” he continued, “is more whales.”

Melville declined to discuss alarms from certain naysayers who insist that what was discussed today could actually be a threat to the whale oil industry itself. Finian Gable, the noted Irish electrician, warned one panel that “the shipboard efficiencies of which you speak today could impact all of Boston tomorrow. What will you do then?”

Herr JarvisNever one to mince words, German iconoclast philosopher Gottfried Jarvis, on a panel about cleaner burning oil, warned that “an attitude of arrogance” surrounded the industry, and that it was ripe for what he called “Unterbrechung (disruption)!”

(Translated by AP) “Who knows what will happen if we rid the oceans of these magnificent beasts? The industry is run by idiots, who can’t see that their own actions are bringing about their own ficken demise. What’s the benefit, tell me, of being the last whale oil company? None, and until these ficken morons realize that electricity is the future and not their precious whale oil, we’re going to continue having useless discussions like these.”

Meanwhile, industry watchers noted that 1872 was on path to be the most profitable year in the history of the whale oil industry and that it had yet to even reach its peak. Industry watchers that spoke with the Associated Press in general regarded the advancement as a boon to whaling and that it will lift the industry to record profits in the near future.

Only time will tell.

FOOTNOTE: This is what comes to mind when I read the agendas for annual conferences of the newspaper and television industries today. The Network is a total disruption to the core businesses of mass media, and until that is discussed openly, such events will be dismissive and foolish like what is described in the above. That we’ve found ways to bundle new innovations to our core competency helps us about as much today as those good old boy whalers delighted in how much electricity could help their model in this fictionalized account. It’s insanity for them; it’s likewise insanity for us today.

The problem is I made made up the Whale Oil Conference (and please spare me the history lessons about how I got it wrong and just enjoy it for the parody it is).

What we know today about media disruption today is quite real.

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