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QC codes and the Luddite (non)-Fallacy

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September 29, 2011 – Comments (6)

I am invested in my own health, so I recently bought an elliptical trainer, a sort of gussied up cross-country-skiing-type machine.  Although I went out to research these in person at bricks and mortar stores, I am the kind of person who has no problem then going online and reaping the 40% discount, and so Amazon got a cut of my purchase.

When I went to the local sports store, however, there were a lot of ellipticals with QC codes on the tags which were on them.  QCs, which are a sort of gussied up barcode, are readable by a lot of smartphone cameras; on my iPhone, I use an app called RedLaser, which is neither red nor a laser, to read them.   There are a lot of QC reading apps; that is just the one I use.

I had some questions about the elliptical but no salesman was in sight and I was fascinated by the sight of a QC code in the wild, so I decided to put off looking for a salesman and pulled out my iPhone and aimed the camera at the QC code.  The whole process took about 3 seconds - and much to my surprise, then appeared on my iPhone screen a little salesdude.  Physically fit, attractive, well spoken, and no doubt with rose-scented breath, he proceeded to mellifluously explain all the features of the elliptical I was looking at, and gave a video demo of how I could get right on and start using it myself.

The process was repeatable right down the row.  10 minutes later, a salesperson strolled up, but I had already gotten all the information I wanted.  For yucks, I asked the guy a few of my questions anyway, and he clearly had no idea of the answers.  (Later, I watched another salesman instruct a lady to point her smartphone at the QC code!) 

Morals of this story:

1) Hply sjot, there is somewhere right now a company that is marrying smartphone technology, QC codes, and marketing to craft these videos as a service to manufacturers and consumers.  I want to buy stock in that.  Anyone know if such a company is public?  I would buy heck of shares in it immediately and advise any one I liked to do the same.

2) The Luddite fallacy (read more on Wikipedia - links I make don't work, usually) is not really always a fallacy.  If you know who alstry is, you already know more about the Luddite fallacy than you want to know.  As a general thesis it may leave something to be desired, but in the case of elliptical salespersons: y'all are fired.  This is better.

3) Amazon is in this story as a bit player: it takes a cut of the Sole Treadmill Corporation's profits for doing almost nothing.  Amazon is in a lot of stories as a bit player like this.  The fact that it is in a lot of stories gives it synergies and economies of scale.  I am beginning to wonder if it is not undervalued even at its current P/E of 80-100 (depending on the day and how you count.) 

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 29, 2011 at 10:48 PM, mhy729 (30.47) wrote:

That's kinda cool...I can see why these smartphones are so in demand.  As for me, I suppose I am something of a luddite in practice as I am still using a regular old cell phone (but hey, at least I do texting!).

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#2) On September 29, 2011 at 10:49 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (99.60) wrote:

Luddite fallacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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#3) On September 30, 2011 at 2:29 PM, ContraryDude (33.52) wrote:

I believe that what you are talking about are actually called QR codes.  Here is one company that offers a service based on them:

http://www.supermedia.com/mobile-marketing/qr-codes

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#4) On September 30, 2011 at 2:41 PM, EnigmaDude (87.06) wrote:

Wow!  Supermedia (SPMD) is trading for $1.55 today and had over $5 EPS in the past 12 months!  The stock was trading for more than $40/share last year!  This is either a super bargain or they are a huge risk.  Anyone know what the story is here?

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#5) On September 30, 2011 at 4:55 PM, ikkyu2 (99.14) wrote:

Right, QR codes.  Thnaks ContraryDude.

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#6) On September 30, 2011 at 4:57 PM, leohaas (31.21) wrote:

RE AMZN: a friend of mine runs a coffee business. He uses Amazon to sell some more coffee, in addition to what he does through his own web site. He owes AMZN 15% of the sales price for routing customers to him. He cannot advertise lower prices on his web site.

This is a win-win. He gets increased sales volume (and still makes a profit inspite of owing Amazon 15%), and AMZN gets 15% for allowing people to click on a link!

AMZN is my best active CAPS score (+155 at the time of writing). Too bad I sold in real life after roughly doubling my money!

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