Imagine there’s a company called Feminist Corp (NYSE:FC). FC is large and powerful, has been around for more than 130 years, and has many employees and customers, including most people in the government and the media.
For quite some time, FC has actively disparaged and alienated one half of their customer base while favoring the other half. Their main GenderEquity (GE) product not only fails to serve the needs of this alienated half, but it also actively harms them. When the customers complain about it, FC blames the alienated customers for all the problems with the product (user error) and brings out flawed statistics to support their claims. Many customers become disgruntled but they have no choice because FC is a government-supported monopoly with no alternatives.
Suddenly a new startup called MensRightsInc (NYSE: MRI) appears, offering a new GE2 product. The product is much more fair than the old GE product, and while it doesn’t benefit the non-alienated half as much as the old GE product does, it does wonders for the alienated half.
It turns out that MRI has been around for quite some time, almost as long as FC. However, due to the arrogance and monopolistic abuses of FC, MRI’s GE2 product starts to gain traction. MRI is not as well-funded or established as FC, and MRI’s advertising budget is but a tiny fraction of FC’s, but word starts to spread and customers start to abandon FC’s product and start buying MRI’s product. MRI’s customer base and number of employees slowly start to grow.
The alienated customer base finally sees what a truly beneficial product looks like. They are understandably very angry at FC and its employees for years of abuse and also angry at all the consumers that support FC and believe their flawed statistics. Many angry words are exchanged, and FC claims libel/defamation.
FC sees MRI as a small but growing threat to their market share and starts launching attacks against MRI, mostly baseless. They claim that MRI is evil and that all their evil customers are now using MRI’s GE2 product, so GE2 must be bad. FC organizes a dismissive media backlash against MRI, and also organizes protests against MRI’s user groups which backfire as the general public sees how FC is trying to stifle competition and free enterprise.
Employees of FC begin to debate employees of MRI but lose badly as their arrogance and flawed statistics are exposed so they stop the debates so that they won’t “legitimize” MRI. The general public also takes note of this.
Some countries (which have made FC an integral part of the government-industrial complex) actually try to outlaw MRI’s products and also try to make criticism of FC illegal. Alienated customers in those countries sometimes have to import GE2 from other countries to get around the laws.
At this point FC is still powerful and their GE product is the default choice for most consumers, but MRI starts winning more and more mindshare for their GE2 product. FC finally acknowledges the concerns of the alienated customers and says that their GE product can be tweaked to serve their needs. Some alienated customers are won over, but most remember how FC behaved when there was no choice, and they also note that FC is just as arrogant as before. FC’s monopoly resulted in entitled and abusive behavior and none of the alienated customers want to support the monopoly that belittled them in the past.
In the present, FC is still huge and continues to get favorable legislation passed, but the tide is slowly turning. Major publications are starting to expose FC’s flawed statistics and the problems with the GE product. Some elected officials are starting to warm to MRI’s product.
One employee of FC who works for the media suddenly writes an opinion piece about how the alienated customers were right all along and FC was wrong to drive them away. He says that MRI is evil and ineffective (due to their relatively small size) and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to truly serve the needs of the alienated customers. He also says that a new and more inclusive FC should be the one to create the new MRI, with input from the alienated customers. Some of the alienated customers are surprised at the concessions being made by an FC employee, but most smell a trap. FC lost their trust long ago and may never be able to win it back.
Perhaps it is FC that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, and not MRI.