Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Going Places

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Many cocktails yesterday – our cafeteria just do the best and cheapest cocktails I know. The most expensive one being €2,50 and still containing fresh fruit the good spirits etc. The joy of people doing things for fun rather than for profit. It was a very nice party until some girl started chatting Jan-Philipp and me up around 3 or so. We had learned quite a bit about her time at school and other equally interesting things before we managed to evade.

The day started with a surprisingly benign hangover but still - Murphy's Law – the postman ringing and waking me shortly after eight. At least the parcel he delivered was for me – containing a few yummy niceties my mum brought me from South Africa: droë wors, biltong, dried fruit, some macadamia nuts. I hid them, so my flatmates can't eat it...

More university including our weekly Friday after seminar-a-thon later in the day and then off to the railway station as I am visiting Steffen in Aachen for a party him and his flat are having this weekend. It's a five hour journey with changing trains twice. Unfortunately I forgot my headphones at home so I couldn't listen to music. I used the time on the train to do my marking – the last set of exercises, with only few people handing in as many already had enough marks.

While the tables in the train aren't as spacious as my desk, it certainly beats driving a car. Another good thing about the newer high-speed trains is that they have power sockets at each seat, meaning that I can type this now on the regional train as I still have a fully charged battery even though I typed up the summary of the results of my marking for the lecturer and caught up on the RSS feeds I downloaded before I left.

Also time to read the paper. Die Zeit runs a story on how brands are in the decline . That's quite funny I think. I mean, who needs brands? They seem mostly superfluous exercises for braindead marketing students with hardly any benefit for me. At the end of the day, it's not the brand that counts but what the things you buy can do for you, the way they taste, feel, look...

Quite interesting to hear an Apple devotee say that. But even without the brand aspect, the machines and software you buy from Apple offer quite a unique and in my opinion superior combination of usability and design which other companies haven't managed to match yet. It's mostly those aspects that make people buy the machines – probably the reason for Apple to be completely anti-clone and pro-monopoly these days as they learned the painful lesson that people will buy different brands if they can as soon as Apple are not competitive enough.

The bottom line in the article was that people stop buying every-day brands because they figure they'll get the same minus the fancy wrapper when buying some no-name stuff. That's probably true in many cases. Factories seem to be very discrete about telling for whom their products are. But people don't do this because they're broke. They'll happily go and buy the really expensive brands that suggest they get something fancy and exclusive. But of course even those brands are easily beaten by non-branded goods: Cheese bought right at the cheesery, tailor made clothes &c – they surely beat any branded goods.

Train will arrive shortly...

July 12, 2003, 1:39

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