I received a compliment in one of my posts about The Cougar Store.
"I've only been playing a few months but got right into nullsec and since we couldn't get anything I started up a store. It has its ups and downs but I think I'm doing pretty good, a large part due to tips I picked up off of here. "I am not a market goddess. I am not a financial guru. I do not do complex money or business matters at home. I had to sit down and take some basic economics classes to wrap my head around some conceptual structures of running a business. All of this was geared at running a successful virtual business in a spaceship game that does not technically support said business in its base code.
None of that means it cannot be done. Running The Cougar Store has been a series of discoveries and moments of running face first into walls. I've been trying to share these things so that other people who are also out there learning how to run an online business in this video game can learn from my mistakes and successes. Each experience will differ.
One of the hardest things about making a blog about the market and making ISK is that it makes the knowledge public. It is natural to want to protect our sources. Traders have trade routes and manufacturers have items and markets have black holes that suck items in. To sit down and share what I do and how I do it opens myself up to ridicule, ganks, harassment, and people moving into my market now that they know that it is there. It is also embarrassing. "Hello world, I fucked up today. This is how."
But what are goals? I pull out my market soapbox quite often and step onto it to remind people that my market goal is to supply my boys with the things that they need and as well as the greater community. The reason I have this soapbox is because my idea about my store is more than my wallet or even the needs of my boys. If I only focused on my wallet I'd have higher prices. If I only focused on my boys I'd have fewer items in stock.
The newest expansion is coming. Soon, the next round of CSM candidates will poke their heads through. As Ruibcon rushes towards us a lot of personal interest is being laid out on the table with the attempt to get CCPs attention. I live in lowsec, the stepchild section of space. CCP only has so much attention and even fewer resources to hand out to all of the open beaks out there. A core principle of Eve is going out and doing the things that you want to do.
Way down at its core running my market has been a lot about improving the space that I live in. Remember, I never thought about this until the sighing complaints of my boys reached me and I realized that there was something that I could at least try to do to improve things. I cannot improve it technically with system upgrades. I cannot improve it tactically with bubbles. I cannot improve it socially for we do not believe in blueing everything around. But I can take all that I have learned in almost two years of playing and improve my space actually by putting time and effort into the things that are only going to be improved by players.
A lot of people who dislike low sec or do not live in low sec or just disagree with our lifestyle say that "Pirates are the problem in low sec." They say that our negative habits of killing all the things and not bluing everyone is why Low Sec sucks. I tend to disagree with that. Low Sec is one of the two areas of space where killing all the things is heavily supported. Low Sec is not about Sov. Low Sec is not about High Sec's vast, hive like busyness. Low Sec is that dark, gritty area across the tracks where you go to do things you don't do in polite company.
We love it.
And I improve it by putting up a corner store that sells fresh fruit. While manning this corner store I have shown people that the residents are willing to consume a varied diet when it is offered to them. And it may be asked, why do I care?
I care because I love Low Sec. I care for the same reason I don't throw trash in someone elses yard. I'd never mow their grass but I won't throw my trash there. There are simply things that can be done to improve the basic living environment around you. In real life it is using a trash can. In Eve it is using the drive and abilities I have developed towards funding a greater good.
Moving to Solitude and setting up a secondary market showed me that it was not just a Molden Heath thing. In the first forty eight hours my market was active in Solitude, running at around 60% of efficiency, about 30% of that product was brought out by people who were not my corporation. I had moved my basic principle of reasonably priced items and the area reacted immediately.
I won't be staying in this market. I don't have the resources to devote to it. Others may and I think that would only be an improvement on things. One could say that people should do their own work and if they want to be lazy they can pay a premium. I can say after doing a lot of moving and hauling for other people that it is often not laziness it is a lack of resources and lack of support. Not everyone has met a group like the over arcing social group of Molden Heath where the community weighed in with as much importance as the individual self.
Markets are interesting points of area improvement that can be done by one person. That one market or logistics guy in the corporation can make a difference. If that difference rippled across space the entire area improves as a result of it. I'm a believer that there is more to a corporation then its X and Y goal but that the various people are themselves resources and assets. Many may be foot soldiers and that is important. Nothing is going to move forward without the bodies to move it. But those who have their own areas of interest bring improvement to things. Everyone in Eve has the potential to do everything but not the interest to do them.
While I sound rather altruistic, I'm not. Helping others so you can help yourself isn't an uncommon situation. It is just a way of looking at what will improve everything. Ripples in the water so to say. Or so I at least feel. Eve is a massive multiplayer online game. Yet, we push and pull against each other with our interactions. The single shard means that a single player can affect things. Maybe that is a region of space with a market that causes other groups to settle down and stay due to the access of resources. That ripples out to others coming to prey on them and also buy things. In the end that market is creating a core pillar of stability in the region that causes content to spread. The person running the market makes the ISK doing something that they enjoy. The game itself benefits from that.
Every affect a player has does not have to be a massive heist or the destruction of a fantastic alliance. That is the goal of some and the draw to Eve of many but it is not the be all and end all of the game. Inside of that there are thousands upon thousands of people living their game life. All of those people will affect the game in one way or another. All will reap the effects of the game in one way or another. Each of those that wishes to can step forward and grab a chunk of the game to make their mark on. It may not be permanent. When I leave Bosena's market that market will probably die. But not everything is about permanence. We play and live in the now. We play and live for the future. Doing things and putting that energy into projects creates and improves both the current now and the future then.
But I am a planner by nature. At this point I'm starting to see some of the long term health effects of having a healthy market. I may be a bit into over sharing. But knowing that someone is drawing positives from what I do is an amazing thing to me. I also enjoy the validation of my pet projects.