Star Trek What It Teaches Us About Marketing
I am a ‘Trekkie’ from way back. I was 11 years old when the first episode was broadcast in July of 1969 on the BBC in the U.K. From that first episode I was enthralled – I had been a Dr Who fan for years prior to this, and I loved Science Fiction books, I was a complete Nerd as a kid!
But Star Trek had a different quality to all of the other offerings, it had superb technology and accurate science, but it also had a style and sense of humor, often making ironic fun of itself; it was totally believable, as though someone had actually reached into our future and brought back footage to show everyone, perhaps not every episode but the ‘vision’ was powerful in total effect.
Very quickly the language from Star Trek began to diffuse into popular culture, people quoted ‘Beam me up Scottie’ when they were in trying circumstances, or ‘Sir, the engines canny take much morre!’, ‘Fascinating’ & ‘That is not logical’, ‘Warp Drive’ were widely adopted-when the language of a show becomes widely adopted it enters the public arena and becomes culturally assimilated.
But the Star Trek universe seemed to have an influence beyond the usual blatantly commercial off-spins and merchandising. This was no ephemeral fad, the position Star Trek now occupies in western culture goes well beyond mere entertainment- it is a true phenomenon; the technology and even the values of the Federation have become serious influences.
Other Science Fiction productions have been popular, and have also influenced society in ways that are often surprising when you look more closely at them. There is a valid sociological idea that we build our own future by imagining and creating the shape of new technologies, and importantly the character and details of how we could live into the future.
We are all familiar with ‘1984’ by George Orwell & ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley as projections of a future that is not so grand – in fact they are dreadful, frightening and downright disturbing – not at all what we would wish for our future descendants!
There are current social commentators and philosophers who regularly alert us to the alarming similarity of what is now happening, and what is definitely developing towards the realization of these dark visions of our world. Too often the mainstream machinery dismisses these people as ‘crackpots’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’; all too often this is way too convenient and lazy minded – we would do well to consider exactly what is taking place in our time which is not matching the positive vision of Gene Roddenberry.
Star Trek as a positive affirmation of humanity is certainly a large part of its general appeal. We like to imagine human beings as being noble, striving for the well being ‘of the many’ – the Vulcan aphorism: “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” is in-fact one of the primary concepts underpinning democracy, you might say it is the essence of it.
The ‘will of the people’ is taken from holding elections; but those who control the choices, who actually determine what we can choose from are the real holders of power!
We as collective groups of people living in our different countries often fail to understand that the few who actually provide the options we select from, do not necessarily operate in our favor, nor do they have to be democratic!
The enormous power of the financial groups who control global currencies, glimpsed in the institutions such as the IMF, The Federal Reserve, The City of London – here we can clearly see great power being wielded that is completely independent of our legal and political structures.
We are oblivious, for the most part, of the covert world behind financial institutions; the people who wield the true power of our society are not visible, or talked about in magazines, talk-shows and gossip blogs. The vast majority of people could not care less about politics, or the lives of others-we are essentially a narcissistic, selfish and shallow society whose only true ambition is to make more money and indulge our fantasies, fulfill our dreams of avarice.
In the universe of Star Trek money has completely disappeared, humanity has developed fusion technology which removes the need to purchase energy, which is the basis of ‘money’ – money represents quanta of energy, which we know is the ‘capacity to do work’ from our high school physics. Money simply represents the ability to wield resources and mobilize ideas – the billionaire invests in other companies so that they can enact their projects, this is the way that energy is transacted.
It was in the early 1900’s that Nicola Tesla developed a means for sourcing electrical energy from the space around the planet, and then transmitting it to people through the air, like radio waves! Don’t believe it?
This is the famous transmission tower Tesla built, but he encountered problems with funding, always he was betrayed and misunderstood and very badly treated; his ideas were just too advanced for the times he lived (they still are!). His being Croatian, and English not being a strong language for him, his natural sense of playfulness and humor, the myopic financiers and investors-all of this conspired to defeat his efforts.
Really a very sad story. But Star Trek is very closely related to Tesla, this same sense of vision and possibility, together with enormous intelligence and technical ability is the world Star Trek presents.
If Tesla had developed a more entrepreneurial approach perhaps our world would be very different today. As it is he gave us the technology of Alternating Current which is the mode of electrical power generation and delivery in use around the world. Edison hated ‘AC’ and pushed for his Direct Current model – but it was Tesla’s work which gained favor, despite Edison staging all kinds of demonstrations of the perils of AC. Edison was a complete fraud, but he is the ‘genius’ that kids get taught about in high schools – Tesla barely rates a mention and only because it is obvious he gave us ‘AC’!
What About Star Trek And Us?
So how does the writing of an ex L.A cop, Gene Roddenberry, and the emergence of Star Trek with it’s ‘good guys in space’ theme, faster-than-light propulsion and its world of the ‘Federation of Planets’ relate to internet marketing and being an entrepreneur?
Just look at it, a global community of fans who meet at conventions, spin offs everywhere, film franchises lasting into our own time-and beyond; even a satirical spoof movie ‘Galaxy Quest’: it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise (pun intended!).
If you can build an appealing concept, and attract people you have a business. Not all of us can be as creative as Mr Roddenberry, or as fortunate in being understood. We can however present our ideas, products and services to a huge market. We no longer require the middle men, the agents and producers – we have WordPress, graphics, video and the WWW!
Just think for a second what this provides, a little SEO, a little promotion on social media and there you have it. Of course it is never that easy! But when you consider the obstacles people faced prior to the internet, it is a walk-in-the-park by comparison.
The mass market of 4+ billion people can be reached through using multiple channels. Facebook alone is enormous, people simply do not understand the opportunity it represents because of its superficial role as a social media content platform. The advertising spend needed to reach 10,000 people is insignificant compared with the cost of Television, or Radio, Newspaper advertising – somebody with modest means can indeed launch their message, use YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and genuinely reach specific demographic groups.
If you can understand what this means, you will be able to commence leveraging the opportunity – THIS is what eWriting is all about.