Thursday, October 31, 2013

Let's Make a Deal

Since industry is mostly about market PVP and making ISK, there is a lot of wheeling and dealing.  Sometimes those deals are bad (and they should feel bad), sometimes those deals are great, and sometimes things shake out generally neutral.  In general, I avoid direct/bulk sales, but I do try to be helpful to friends when I get a chance.

I recently left Paxton Industries and came back to Aideron Robotics.  Half of the reasons are for business/play, the other half is a rant about nullsec that I'll have to indulge later.  I am returning to Aideron Robotics because I know the people, the density of code/tool oriented people is the highest I've ever found, and Marcel Deveroux extended a deal I couldn't refuse: help the corp generate income through a POS reaction farm.  Also, FW is more my pace for ops, even if the ships are smaller than I usually like flying.

Any negotiator will tell you the secret to successful bargaining is to make sure both parties feel like they walk away from the table with a win.  Though there's a small segment of scams that prey on this rule by fooling the victim, you can't fool all the people all the time.  For the vast majority of business, you have to strike a bargain for both parties; very rarely do you get the fortunate position of being a dictator.

Making Corp/Alliance/Coalition Programs

The big pet peeve I had against Paxton was every one of their "deals" was looking to screw the other party.  Their capital program for allies was far more expensive than the open market or any other internal service, their industry and POS programs were all designed to take 100% of proceeds with only a "service guarantees citizenship" nod in return.  Frankly, these practices are not sustainable, and will cripple growth.  Your volumes will be difficult to maintain if you're expecting nearly scam-level returns.  Your personnel churn will be high without rewarding the staff directly.  Worst of all, it leads to complacency among the management and membership because "why do better?"

The truly great programs benefit everyone.  You provide a service that customers need, and you treat your employees well.  The GSOL presentation at EVE Vegas (the best presentation of the convention IMO) showcased the backbone of GSF/CFC's military might: their ability to deliver the hardware where it's needed when it's needed.  GSOL membership is paid, often in PLEX, for their efforts.  They are constantly itterating their tools and practices.  They have a focus on getting the right staff, and doing their damnedest to mitigate burnout.  The CFC can absolutely turn the tide of battle before the first shot is fired, all because GSOL is ready to deliver.



The proposal I brought to Aideron Robotics was "I will manage x towers for 1/3rd of the profits".  In the proposal, I outlined a means to expand and include more members, and the expected limits of our reach.  I'm even fronting half of the set up cost (even though I probably shouldn't) as a means to support my friends.  In this deal, all parties get a win out.  I probably would have been more cut throat if I didn't already have a prototype tool made, but things fell into place pretty easily considering.  These are my friends, both in and out of game, and I want to be a force multiplier for them to achieve their goals.

People in Glass Houses

I am not innocent of being a dick when it comes to deals.  I actively run away from direct deals, I dissuade people from selling directly to corp if we don't have a significant need.  So much of this is because Jita represents a gold standard for prices.  I center my projects around Jita, so it would require less-than-Jita prices to make it worth making a substitution.  Either way, one party ends up screwed in the relationship.

I would rather see my friends get full price for their work than prey on their generosity.  The only time it makes sense to me is when someone is already chasing Jita prices locally, so we both avoid a shipping step.  If we are not BOTH making money, I am effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.  By lowering line-member income, I am causing them to demand more from the corp... and programs may not be strong enough to allow that relationship.

The one position I'm missing here is the communist/socialist WH corp.  This relationship is different, since many of your members will live and die by the corp's stream of goods and equipment in and out of the WH, and the logistics of keeping proceeds individual are just too painful.  Also, it helps that in WH, your wallet balance does you a fat lot of good without access to a market.  But still, this relationship is a win-win on both parties: members get the equipment they need to live and thrive in WH, while the corp gets what it needs to enable that.  Without a feed down to line-members, the WH operation shrivels and dies.