Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Cult of Reasonable Prices

Running a corporation is a goal for many people that join Eve. People have ideas, concepts, goals, and visions that they want to create, promote, and spread. In a MMO this is done with other people. The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is the technical and often actual head or lord of the corporation. Their policies, opinions, practices, abilities, charisma, and problem solving will dictate the future of the corporation. They have to be a strong leader for a capable player does not make a CEO and not all CEOs have to be fantastic, actual players.

Is this a role that I want to undertake?

I don’t know.

Let me stretch out the idea some before someone gets the wrong idea that I just intentionally laid the seeds for.

I was approached the other day and asked if I had thought about expanding the Cougar Store. Expansion would mean bringing people into my fold. People who wished to subscribe to my religion of Reasonable Prices but cannot recreate the store itself. I’d gain employees who are not myself and expand the abilities of TCS by stocking other markets. It’d be a market making and maintaining corporation.

While that has some appeal when that door is opened a massive pile of negative possibilities cascades through.

TCS is me, myself, and I. I run it with three dedicated alts and a fourth alt who is not in TCS that runs logistics. That alt is essencial because I have to jump my items into low sec somehow. That means TCS has 4 alts to keep it propped up. I could activate one of the TCS alts and train her into a jump freighter, decreasing my need for the 4th alt if I wanted to. However, that seems like a waste of ISK because it is just me.

Trust is that complex word. Anyone that knows me knows that I believe in trusting those that I play with the most. However, I am not blind about it. While some are waiting for me to fall or 7-2 to AWOX me or the tear soaked blog post about how I was betrayed to crop up, they wait because they seem to assume that because I believe in trust I believe in it blindly.

That is far from the case. My first corporation I suspected the CEO of using the corporation wallet as his personal fund. There were always votes to give the co-op mining ISK to the corporation. When I asked who was voting it was always a series of people who were in corp and on but never associated with us or spoke to us. They were the CEO’s friends and felt all money should go to the corporation. Then the CEO undocks in a Navy Raven which the corporation needs to do missions and benefit al of us. Okay.

However, in my current community, I buy lots of things for people. They send me an Eve mail for what they want. I contract it to them at the other end for the buy price. They hand me their stuff to ship up to Jita and I contract it to them when I get there. When we move as a corporation everyone without a carrier packs their items into courier contracts and renames their ships and we jump everything and drop it off on the other side. It is a back and forth of trust.

Now, lets move over to TCS and I put the brakes on. TCS has billions of ISK in stock, billions in unlisted items (I try to keep that down but it builds for odd reasons) and often ISK in the wallet. If I let anyone into TCS I’d have to deal with the absolute shit that is the Eve role management. That alone is enough to make one shudder. I could lock people into particular wallet divisions. You cannot delist someone elses items.

I’d then have to figure out some type of structure to have out of corporation alts moving stuff or dedicate enough ISK to have a third party do the moving. The actual management and listing of the items isn’t hard, it is the logistics that would be the biggest nightmare.  If I accept the profit adjustment for listing and create a more reasonable schedule of listing to maximize the usefulness of it, that would neaten up the logistics.

I could say, “who wants to run a market?” but the answer is, “Many people do.” Plus, people are interested in trying things to try them. Sure, there would be people. The curious, the interested, the awoxer, all would apply. The question becomes dedication and interest. I'm also not a market, economics, or spreadsheet guru. I'd be the blind leading something or another.

I can make rules such as people invest their own ISK. This means they have to trust ME not to steal their liquid ISK. But if they invest their own ISK and use public logistics what am I providing beyond companionship and a corporation name? It’d be a way for people to work together to stock one market within their means, I guess? I feel that I slam against Eve’s biggest quandary of, “If you can do it alone why do it in a corporation?”

When we deployed in October I had to let TCS thin down and get a bit moth eaten to support my corporation store. I’ve since solved a problem that I didn't know I was going to have and prepared for it in the future. Still, I’m willing to let my other projects wither to support my main focus, which is 7-2. While I would be honest about such a thing it tastes of ‘unfair’. Unfair to any that would look to follow my lead in a market corporation. I’d have to say, “You cannot have all of me,” and that seems wrong to me. I do not think that I would offer more than I currently do while increasing the chance of letting people down who are trusting in my to keep them up.

The market isn’t like a fleet. Someone does not need me to do everything that I listed. They may want to work with me and my support but that also has problem waiting to topple onto the table. I cannot dedicate but so much of myself to any enterprise such as this because my core self is dedicated to Calamitous-Intent.

1 comment:

  1. The post where even the friendliest EVE player has to accept that making ISK is best done alone and cooperating - even if we can rule out thefts - would only give a chat channel and a shared tag.