Thursday, August 8, 2013

Free Time Is (Not) Free

There is a quote from The Mittani that has been bouncing around my skull for the last month about how "HS industrialists will clamor and fight over single-percentage-point margins... and null industry will not exist when it's essentially raw cost + shipping to get it to front lines".  I am paraphrasing, but he's essentially right.  Despite the fact that older players eventually learn the lessons, thoughts like "mined minerals are free" or "free time is free" are pervasive.

In my new corp's recent SOTC, the industrial director expressed the desire to have more POS reaction farms, but was unsure how to achieve that goal.  Doing my duty, I proposed a scheme: tax private POS.  Under the plan, I provided a path that the corp would be entitled to basically the margins it is currently receiving, but could expand that revenue for zero corp-level capital costs.  Furthermore, I built up a working prototype tool to help parse API data so it would be easy to track who owed what.  Unfortunately, the plan was shot down because "Paying industrialists is a slippery slope and incentivizes the wrong behavior".  Furthermore, "because you should want your effort to help the corp grow" altruism should make you want to donate your time/talent/treasure for the good of the team.

If your corp business plan for industry is the above: stop right away.  Here's a better plan that involves less effort, and yields EXACTLY the same margin/member: PLEX for membership.  If you're going to bilk people for their time to achieve your personal goals, with no shared wealth down the line, you're better off just charging membership fees and avoiding all that pesky "revenue generating" that takes time away from "elite PVP".  I get that there's a need for shared effort to achieve goals, but this isn't sharing.  This is like working at Walmart: executives gather 13k/employee in profits above wages paid (largely on the back of welfare subsidies).  If there is a big goal, there is room to share the wealth and still rely on pilots "contributing to the greater good"

Frankly, I operate on a policy: If I can't afford to pay people to do it, I can't afford their help.  In my own work, I've strived to prove that you could pay at least 1 PLEX/mo/char and still have more than enough margin to grow the corp.  If I can generate 3-5 PLEX/mo off one character's work, why is it too much to ask for that endeavor to cover my account fees?  Or directly put ships in my hangar?  If you are going to get rich purely by burning human capital until it burns out, AWOXing or straight out theft/scams are a better path.  If you can't share the wealth getting rich, then you aren't getting rich.

"Bottom up income" has been a marching call for CSM and those who believe that moon incomes are game breaking.  The tools exist to build large scale, bottom up incomes with industry, but it also requires OOG tools and some creativity.  Frankly, what directors seem to want is just a "set knob, recieve money", which more and more I am against.