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Matches and Firemakers

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When humankind invented matches, there was a tremendous revenue downturn in the firemaker industry. It never recovered. Firemakers were the people you had to pay to come make a fire for you. They were experts and had their own professional organization. You could even become a certified professional firemaker. The purpose of the society of professional firemakers was to protect the public from hurting themselves with the poorly understood discovery called fire. A revolutionary young firemaker had a trick for quickly and safely creating fire. It was a rudimentary form of match. He decided to go ahead and teach people how to use his invention, and then sell matches instead of his services. The professional society was enraged. He lost his firemaker’s license. He lost everything. The professional society completely discounted his invention by discussing how irresponsible it was to let people make their own fires. They could get burned. The firemaker was publicly humiliated and hung himself to death. It was several years later when one of the firemaker’s match customers, to whom the firemaker had taught pieces of the match making process, that matches came to market again. This time the manufacturer of matches knew the public resistance that he would face and was able to initiate a PR campaign to successfully overcome the propaganda of the professional society. Their last play was to discuss the impact this would have on the economy and all the jobs that would be lost. A whole industry of highly paid professionals was going to disappear and be replaced by magic sticks that made fire. It was a difficult decision, but the supreme ruler of the land declared matches to be legal. The professional society began a futile battle using fear tactics by publicizing all the fire accidents that could be traced to matches. (There were even more fire deaths caused by fires started by a pro. It turns out that the vast majority of fire risk occurs long after the firemaker has gone home for the day, leaving people with little to no knowledge of fire principles in charge of their fires.) But people loved the ability to make fire. It was much more convenient. No more appointments. No more peak hour rates. The most important change was that people felt great. They now understood fire. The most powerful discovery known to humanity was at their fingertips and they had the knowledge to not be afraid to use it.

Written by Eric Christensen

January 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Posted in miscellany

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