Casinos as Creative Adversaries

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This post is tangentially related the subject of the article but maybe not directly related.

Are there steps entreprenuers can take to ensure that they’re offering objective value and win/win solutions with their products and services without having to engage is rational discussion with their customers?

I’m kinda anti-consumerism, so I don’t see the value in a lot of stuff that people buy. People like a lot of decorations and household knick knacks. I guess that there is value in a certain amount of decorations but I think some people take it too far and go against their own interests. There are companies like QVC that do manipulative paid programming TV ads and now Youtube infomercials. It seems like they sell some legitimate products, though I haven’t researched them, but they advertise in ways to take advantage of those who consume legitimate commodities against their own interests. I think they’re a clear example of taking it too far. However, I wonder what is the right way to advertise and sell products in a world full of irrational people. You don’t know as a seller whether someone is furnishing their new home with lots of new ammenities or recklessly going into credit card debt to satisfy some psychological need. It seems kinda similar to PUA stuff where there aren’t great alternatives to “the game”. To what extent are entrepreneurs forced to choose between shrugging (in the Atlas Shrugged sense) and being at least somewhat complicit with a corrupt system?

If someone first has something really unique, innovative and important to share with the world (which doesn’t require a ton of educating consumers for people to see the value in), and second becomes an entrepreneur in order to provide it to people, then things can realistically go well. This avoids the approximately zero-sum game of trying to fight for market share against competitors when your business isn’t really better or unique.

If someone first wants to be an entrepreneur, and second tries to figure out what to sell, then that’s concerning. This is common and Silicon Valley encourages it in many ways including by normalizing pivoting a company. Elizabeth Holmes (of Theranos) admitted doing this and I haven’t seen people criticize her for that, just for the fraud.

“Earn to give” is also problematic when mixed with entrepreneurship because it normalizes business that don’t constitute “giving” just by existing (it also normalizes money-losing charities, which I’m not against but I think they’re overrated) (and it also normalizes putting a bunch of money into something you have limited involvement in, which is problematic). Giving the world the iPhone was better than any additional philanthropy that may have been done with the profits later. Whereas FTX never seriously tried to make anything great that many other people couldn’t make about equally well (or better, considering how incompetent Bankman-Fried turned out to be).

Doing things backwards is common. For example, many people first want to be an author so then second they try to figure out what book to write. They don’t actually have anything important or particularly good to write. They’re inspired by their dream of having the author social role, not by the contents of the book they’re writing. Or people want to be a startup founder so they try to brainstorm startup ideas. Or people want to be a philosopher so they try to overcome their dislike of studying philosophy.