A Thought About Ecology

The environment we live in matters to us.  We want air that’s clean enough to breathe.  We want water that’s clean enough to drink.  We want land that’s clean enough to stand on.  We don’t want to be surrounded by poisons and toxins and wastes.  We don’t want to be surrounded by pests or dangerous predators.  We don’t want to be subject to a natural disaster.  So, we make an effort to exercise reasonable control over our environment.  To some degree it works, to some degree it doesn’t, but the point is that most of us try.

As writers, most of us realize that our writing environment matters, too.  We want a space to write that meets our needs.  For me, that means quiet and enough room to spread out.  It means having cork boards I can pin things up on.  It means a desk, a computer, and a chair that I can sit on comfortably while sitting lotus-style.  It means a computer, Internet access, and sufficient electricity to keep my computer going.  Unfortunately, it also means a space that I can smoke, which defeats the whole point of air clean enough to breathe—but, what can I say, addiction’s a bitch to kick.  Anyway, the point is to produce our best quality work, we need to exercise some control over the environment in which we write.

Now, what does this have to do with marketing?

Isn’t it obvious?!?  As a self-marketer, you need to understand that your marketing environment matters, too.  An economy is basically a financial ecosystem*.  You write and sell in an economy that’s bigger than yourself—just as your personal and your writing environments are part of ecologies that are bigger than you can actually control.  But you can control some of the things that you require to have a healthy marketing environment that works for you.

(*One thing that you learn if you study micro and macroeconomics, or by paying attention to the financial news, is that we now live in a global economy that is, despite our best efforts, outside the control of even the biggest, most powerful of government cooperatives.  We can influence our financial ecology, but it is subject to natural forces outside of our control, including booms and busts and the occasional recession and depression.  These are natural corrective forces that we cannot control or avoid.  In many ways, our shared economy is very much like our shared ecosystem.  If we had more respect for the global economy and the global ecology, then we’d all be in a lot better shape.  But, hey, we’re human and too many of us are greedy and wasteful and destructive.  Go figure that we tend to muck things up.)

The point of all of this is that there are things that are within your control within your marketing environment.  The better you understand what you can’t control and the better control you exercise over what you can, the healthier your marketing environment will be and the better it will serve you.

Or to put it another way…  Apply the Serenity Prayer to your marketing environment.

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About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces ComeSootheYourAchingSoul.com in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of www.StephanieAllenCrist.com and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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21 Responses to A Thought About Ecology

  1. acflory says:

    This post really appeals to the biologist wannabe in me. 🙂

    • lol Me too! Though, for me, it’s marine biology. The oceans of the world are fabulous places and still very much a mystery. So, we don’t even really understand the consequences of the reckless damage we do.

      The economy seems very similar to me. The more I learn about how economy works, the more it seems to me were waxing on a veneer of control over something we barely understand and cannot possibly control. Economic forces are more natural than we humans like to believe, and yet not natural enough to work as well as the natural environment, which continues to exist and function despite all our mucking about.

      • acflory says:

        I don’t know much about marine biology but even I’ve heard about that spot in the Pacific that has become the default rubbish bin of the seas. 😦

        I think the global economy is as unstable as it is precisely because we keep trying to ‘manage’ it. The natural environment obeys the laws of physics in one way or another. There are no such fundamental laws governing economics. Or perhaps there are but we don’t know what they are and keep fumbling around in the dark.

      • But that’s just it. There ARE natural laws governing economics and we know many of them. But, just like ecology, we insist on knowing “better,” so we try to manipulate it. Sometimes for individual good (greed), sometimes for national good (pride), and sometimes out of genuine concern to make things better (philanthropy). And it almost always backfires over time.

        What’s worse, especially in democracies, is how people demand our leaders manipulate the economy, because they don’t realize how much damage that does in the long-run.

      • acflory says:

        I agree with you to an extent, but in the world of economics the natural predators seem to outnumber the herbivores, hence the demands for the government/whoever to manipulate the economy. For me this is part of the too-hard-basket. 😦

      • Except that our system creates predators out of well-meaning people. That’s part of the problem.

        Think of it this way: Business is about making a profit, sure. Privately owned companies can balance the need to make a profit with having a positive impact. It’s a choice. Publicly owned companies, at least in the U.S., are legally obligated to do everything (legally) possible to make profit for their shareholders.

        That pressure creates a lot of unethical activity; yet, raising sufficient funds to start or expand a business can be difficult without going public.

        So, what you get is a lot of people who just want to do their job well and do good while doing their job, but they’re stuck in situations where they’re jobs aren’t stable unless they can maximize profit. Doing good falls to the wayside.

        Our global economy is full of little known laws like that that “fix” the economy away from natural forces and they become the structural force behind the economic flow between companies and between nations.

        In essence, there are more herbivores, but the predators have “bought out” the governments and get the legislation they want–and the rest of us just keep voting in people who keep getting bought away from us.

      • acflory says:

        Wow, I had no idea public companies were bound by an actual law. That puts things into a slightly different perspective, for both the companies and us. I wonder what wold happen if that law were amended, or if unethical practices carried a far heavier penalty… :/

      • It’s hard too say. Too much regulation stifles business, because regulations are basically more and more layers of bureaucracy. It’s just raises the bar higher, which makes it even harder for small and medium sized businesses to compete.

        On the other hand, too little regulation leaves too many people, including stockholders, vulnerable.

        Part of the solution, which has worked well historically, is to give employees stock in the company. Then, not only do they work there, but they’re also part owners. It’s in their personal interest to do the right thing, and it’s in their financial self-interest to do it well enough to profit.

        But there are no easy solutions. If there were, we’d have the problem licked.

      • acflory says:

        I’ve always liked the idea of Company XX and Staff, but as you say, there are no easy solutions.

      • I prefer private companies myself. Let them rise or fall on their own merits, instead of overregulation followed by bail outs.

      • acflory says:

        lol – that’s a paradox! What happened on Wall Street was because of lack of regulation! The bail out? I don’t know.

      • Not really. There was plenty of regulation. It simply wasn’t effective. Making rules for the sake of making rules doesn’t really work. And if people who want things controlled make the rules without sufficient consultation from the people who have to follow them, what you get is loopholes the makers never imagined.

        Remember, the people making regulations are generalists who specialize in politics; whereas the people in business are often specialists in an industry.

        If you don’t bring in the stakeholders, then you get bad regulation. If you only bring in the lobbyists, you get regulation that favors those with the deepest pockets and the most adamant special interests.

      • acflory says:

        Hmm… you have a point, but here in Australia we do have regulations that stopped most of the same thing happening here. Maybe we were just lucky.

      • Or maybe your government is less corrupt or differently corrupt. I don’t know. All I know is that lobbyists can buy almost any kind of legislation they want if they’ve got deep enough pockets.

      • acflory says:

        We have some of that here too, unfortunately, but I think we’re just more used to being regulated. Actually I think we demand it of our politicians.

      • Which implies one of two things:
        1) Your people are better at creating regulations that work.
        2) Your people have more tolerance for dysfunction.

        Ideally, regulations achieve their purpose by:
        1) Controlling/preventing what they are intended to.
        2) Minimizing unintended controls.
        3) Minimizing lost production due to regulations.

        We’re really not good at create regulations that do that!

      • acflory says:

        Productivity seems to be a huge buzz word here, and there is a lot of red tape that could be simplified so perhaps we go too far in that direction. :/

      • Red tape and lost productivity are unfortunately natural byproducts of regulations. If any government has a solution, I haven’t heard of it. But if those are the major buzz words, then it implies that your regulations do work better than ours, which would not be at all surprising.

      • Example: The U.S. tax code consists of 73,954 pages.

      • acflory says:

        rofl – your IRS is infamous the world over! Other types of regulation?

      • I’m sure it is. Though I find it far less funny. 😉

        Examples of regulation: In special education, the laws are so specific that in writing individual education plans for students, many teachers rely on computer programs to tell them what kind of language to use in order to be legally compliant–the net result is that, however individualized the actual education is, many IEP documents read pretty much the same, defeating the purpose of the legislation in the first place. It’s the SpecEd version of plagiarism and advocates now use software that’s like Copyscape in order to detect the individualization of IEPs when contesting the programming provided to a student.

        Example from my business: A client had me write course work for her online classes. The state government rejected it for “grammatical errors” because the headers and subheaders (which were italicized the show the distinction) included punctuation. (I’m making this up, but it was like: What Do You Want? will instruct students on how to develop marketing goals.” The question mark was “grammatically incorrect.” My client’s response was, “It was written by someone with a Master’s in Written Communication! What do you know about writing?”)

        Counter-example: OSHA is a government agency designated with the task of workplace saftey and health. They work with employers, employees, and community stake holders to devise regulations that are effective without being overly burdensome. It makes perfect sense, and yet for government regulators in this country, they’re the exception.

        Imagine if the IRS worked with businesses, individuals, and communities to devise their tax codes. Would it still be tens of thousands of pages long? But they can’t, because tax laws are in the hands of politicians.

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