Chris Eastvedt’s Techdirt Profile


About Chris Eastvedt

I am fascinated by human behavior and will happily watch hours upon hours of PBS documentaries in an endless quest to understand the species. How could a man live in his car for six months while he started his own business? Why would that woman agree to go on Jerry Springer? These are questions that need answers! I write to give people a chance to laugh and think about the little things that concern us all.

Chris Eastvedt’s Comments comment rss

  • Oct 26th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    Bricks & Mortar Just Aren't Relevant Anymore

    The only reason I ever use a bricks & mortar (B&M) store is when I need something immediately, because I know I'll likely have to settle. Nine times out of ten I already know what I want going inside, but either they don't have the right size/color/model or it's significantly more expensive than what I could get the product for online. Add in the extra annoyances of crowded aisles, check-out lines and clueless salespeople, more often than not the sum total experience makes me regret bothering in the first place.

    I would love to go into a B&M establishment that is intuitive and thought-provoking and keeps me guessing as to what really cool new thing is going to show up next, but the reality is that commoditization is where most retailers are at. I don't want to reward any business that treats me like sheep, either with my money or my attention, but that's all I'm being offered. More marketing is not the answer (dear God help me, it's not); B&Ms can only compete on personalization, fun, and things that make you go WOW! Getting a price check for all the coffee shops in the area might help me find the cheapest cup of coffee today, but it's not going to make me call up my friend and talk about it. This is just another form of commoditization- a race to the bottom, if you will. How is that going to inspire loyalty?

    If B&Ms really want to bring me back into the fold, they need to give me a reason to care about them. Club cards and weekly sales just aren't going to cut it.
  • Feb 5th, 2011 @ 11:34am


    No one's faulting Crispin Glover for what he's doing to build an audience, they're merely pointing out his flawed thinking where piracy is concerned. If Crispin wasn't as tight-fisted about controlling access to his film, he would have a better chance of expanding his audience in the long term. His fear of potential lost sales in the present is limiting his ability to grow his audience in the future- this was Mike's point.
  • Jan 10th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Re: #1

    I'm not on board with communities forming around shared interests alone either; it takes more than just that for something to thrive and build up a fan base. I think the WWIC question is key because all too often what people do is talk at others, rather than to them, which tends to limit conversation.

    You've got to provide quality content, obviously, but you also need to follow up by giving people reasons to care about what you're doing and inspire them to spread the word.

    Techdirt often calls out stupid behavior and lapses in logic, which both informs and inspires its more rational thinkers to take some sort of action to restore balance- as in Dan Bull's videos, for example. Mike also jumps on the comments board and engages further which helps readers feel like he cares (whether or not this is true is another issue). Then they started CwF + RtB which connected with fans on a whole different level: merchandising and experiences- taking readers' appreciation of Techdirt off the screen and into the real world. Everyone wants to be heard, but if Al doesn't like writing comments, he can wear a Looooooots of T-shirts logo on his chest and start a conversation that way. The goal is to find ways to expand the conversation, not control it.
  • Jan 6th, 2011 @ 12:54am

    Re: Ugh, no thanks

    Having your book in a physical store doesn't mean it will sell- the competition is far too great for a limited amount of space. Unless authors pay for special displays or advertising, most people probably won't even know the book is there.

    Physical stores are over-rated because their prices are often higher and inventory is limited; they're really only good for customers looking for instant gratification. Other drawbacks are that many physical stores won't carry self-published titles and expect the right to return books they don't sell for up to a year after the initial purchase (an accounting nightmare). Online opportunities, however, level the playing field. Bookstores like and the like not only link up readers reviews to each book, they give the author space for book trailers, blogs, and search inside features. Marketing is much more author-friendly in cyber space than in the real world.
  • Jan 6th, 2011 @ 12:37am

    Re: AC #11

    This myth of writers doing nothing more than writing books for a living is a huge load of crap. The amount of money authors are "guaranteed" up front grows smaller and smaller every year ($10,000 is standard; hardly enough to live on if it takes an author a year or more to write a book), while at the same time they're expected to assume more and more responsibility for their own marketing and PR- this is the reality. Unless an author is a sure thing, meaning they have a proven track record of great sales, publishers won't throw any support their way past the bare minimum because they don't want to gamble away their investment.

    When partnering with a publisher, authors sign away their rights as to what can be done with their work and how much is charged for it, and then get only a small percentage of the royalties (15% of what's left after the middlemen take their shares is pretty standard for paper copies). Authors are also expected to help support the publisher's marketing and PR efforts, and invest their own money when the publisher falls short, while at the same time continuing to research/write the next book to fulfill their contracts.

    Even if they do have a publisher, the responsibility for successful sales lies primarily with the author. An author serious about success/making money can't afford to treat their work like an artist; they must approach their careers like businesspeople. Yes, the up-front costs for self-publishing are often greater, especially when you add in freelancing fees for cover art and editing, but if authors have to get involved in the business of writing anyway, they might as well keep the control for themselves, and maximize their profits as well. Self-publishing is the lesser of two evils.
  • Oct 11th, 2010 @ 6:08pm

    Ostriches in the Sand

    Major publishers (not all- O'Reilly gets it, and a few others) refuse to see themselves as anything but monopolistic B2B companies. Readers as customers really don't factor into their mindsets. Publishers are aware that they're pissing readers off with their price games, but feel that if they can just educate readers as to why things like format windows, DRM and the zero-difference output between paper and digital are good for publishers, they'll agree that publishers charging whatever the hell they want is necessary for continued high quality product, and thus good for readers. That's the theory anyway.

    Like all dinosaur companies, publishers are comfortable in their condescension. As long as they can control everyone's behavior, all is well. Until they let go of the delusion that they're the best game in town, nothing will change on their end. At this point, the outsiders and indies have the best chance of restoring sanity to this industry.
  • Oct 4th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Hasn't been a crutch so much as a feather bed.

    "Content creation actually produces 'nothing', certainly nothing necessary..."

    Really? So things like entertainment and culture are meaningless extras? What a sad, colorless box you must live in...

    Yes, industry dinosaurs are completely out of touch with consumers, which is why I, as a content creator, have chosen to take them out of the equation and play my own game. I'm actually happy dinosaurs exist because 1) they piss people off, pushing them towards independents who appreciate them and 2)they teach me what not to do.

    Again as you say, maybe industry dinosaurs rely on selling content in limited ways, but as Mike keeps pointing out, smart innovators can do more. You can sell more than a book, translations, movie rights... why not develop a toy version of the story for collectors, or offer an exclusive, real-life reenactment of a pivotal scene in the story? Anything can be a potential moneymaker, depending on how relevant your offerings are to your audience. The only limitation here is lack of imagination.

    I think the biggest mistake industry players make is treating people as potential one-time customers rather than lifelong fans. Smart creators appreciate the difference and respect their part of that relationship.
  • Aug 24th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

    (untitled comment)

    The Author's Guild got a bunch of flack from the visually impaired community the first time around. They probably got tired of being called douchebags and decided to let this one go.
  • Aug 16th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

    Re: For a while...

    Nina, you are are very smart lady. T-shirts/clothing are a given, of course, and I love the gum idea. I can see a whole subculture spawning around this. Cute and smart- always a winner.
  • Aug 13th, 2010 @ 9:59pm

    Re: AC #10

    For the right creator, the independent route can absolutely be the best way to go. The corporations that be were not always so mighty- they got their start at the bottom like everyone else and had to learn how to build themselves up.

    Anyone with the capacity to learn from mistakes and the passion to persevere has a decent shot at reaching success. That's what's so amazing about this point in time; technology is a great equalizer. It's not about having a bottomless wallet, but how wisely and creatively you apply the resources you do have. That's what grassroots campaigns are all about, and some of them, do make it big. Politics is a prime example.

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