Monday, October 6, 2008

The Econometric of the Commons or What the Hell is Wrong with Everybody?

Here's the deal. I'm trying something different. I'm gonna start with the punchline and if (or when) you disagree then you can read the reasons why I'm right and you're wrong or you can skip that part completely and continue to deny reality. Hey, if it's good enough for Congress ... (Although I'm inclined to think Congress isn't so much denying reality as imagining they can alter reality by ballot.) I'm also gonna break the post into sections. This is Part One.

Warning: Conceptual Stuff ahead. Boring and uncool. Devoid of rumor and gossip.

PBIndustry as a whole has failed to act on significant opportunities to improve the economic environment in the past and the time is rapidly approaching when this failure could have dire consequences and ought to be addressed. I can't tell you why this failure has occurred and it's all the more baffling because PBI(ndustry) is well aware of the concept I'm about to promote and aspects of its utility and yet only a few piecemeal efforts seem to have been made.
The idea is simple. That PBI shares a large proportion of all things paintball in common and it would be beneficial to PBI to acknowledge that fact and then act on it.
It begins with Standards & Practices. (See prior posts for related commentary, search by label) S&P is shorthand for a system of general agreements consented to by PBI (broadly) and accepted as beneficial to paintball and all its participants. S&P has internal and external applications as well as overlapping applications.
Here's an example: goggles. PBI that makes and sells goggles compete over looks, comfort and ease of use--not safety. There is an industry standard for safety set by the ASTM. There are liability and practical reasons. Safety standards as judged by an impartial authority minimize liability and assure that no reputable PBI is poisoning the well with unsafe, inferior equipment. This is a common interest.
Why does this matter? It is going to become increasingly important that PBI take the necessary steps to implement S&P as the working foundation for building and maintaining (sustaining) the paintball marketplace. And by paintball marketplace I mean every aspect of the infrastructure that makes playing paintball possible.
The reason this is, in my view, a necessity is because a contraction is coming, not simply the previously unexpected plateau of a couple of years ago. [The contraction I'm referring to is a real decline in the Pool of All Players. (All Players is defined by raw numbers and frequency.) That contraction will be precipitated by a widespread economic contraction.] The duration of the contraction as it affects PBI may be influenced by actions PBI can begin to take now. And related to that is the experience of not being prepared to take an active role in the development and maintenance of the paintball marketplace which has already caused a few members of PBI to reconsider their future strategies and which I'm advocating should be held in common.
S&P is the first step because it begins the process of general agreements that will provide stability for the more wide ranging and proactive possibilities (which I'll get into in future installments.) It is, after a fashion, baby steps in cooperation, trust building and shared goals and values. S&P would also serve to provide a baseline universal guarantee to customers and create membership value within PBI. S&P would also be a hurdle to potential start-up PBI.
S&P would also begin the conversation about the future of paintball and include a wider circle of participants.

Part Two: productive competition and unproductive competition


Anonymous said...

What is S&P?

Anonymous said...

err. I fail at reading. Aplogized.

original-anonymous said...

And you think I am crazy for wanting to a players union....

Brazilian Guy said...

In the end the only thing that matters to those guys is profit.

And idk if the players are capable of changing aspects like the ones u pointed. And supposing they are, are they willing to do something drastic about it?

Are u optimistic?

Obs:. When i say defensive profile i mean that aggressivenes or intolerance on te right side of the blog. Not your name, btw if u´re a known player and sposored athlete u should never reveal your identity, cuz your criticism may bring u some trouble.

Baca Loco said...

That was Chris.
Really nothing new here other than it's never worked out in the past because there's never been a real commitment. My purpose in this series is to make an a self-interest case.

It's all good. Everybody who could "give me trouble" knows exactly who I am or could find out with a phone call.

PBI Man said...


You make it sound like making a profit should be frowned upon. This is how we survive. To many of us this is a passion of ours and we have turned it into our source of income for our families. Like any other business at the end of the day this is about making a steady income and building the foundation for our families futures. If you think we could care less about paintball and are rolling around like pigs in our piles of cash you are wrong. If that was what any of us wanted to do I could assure you we would have chosen other industries :).

Baco Loco,
While I do agree with what you have to say I can assure you all these steps are being taken. We as an industry have had a very difficult time getting everyone together and on board of the PSTA( Within this organization many of the things you are discussing Baca are being adressed. It will take time to fully develop and be implemented. I think at the end of the day though this Association will work and will help the industry as a whole move forward with better guidelines in place for all facets of the business.



Baca Loco said...

pbi guy
I am aware of the upcoming February meetings. I'm also aware variations on the theme have been tried before. My concern is that it gets done right this time and while I don't doubt anyone's sincerity the track record doesn't look all that promising. I'd be happier if I knew there was an organization agenda and a pb guy nominally in charge. Meanwhile I'll keep rambling and wish you the best of luck.
Btw, thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...


Yes it has been tried in the past and has failed. Reason being in my opinion is the people who were organizing/ behind it. This time around we are part of the SGMA. The SGMA is the major Association for all major sporting goods industries. We have a set board of directors with representatives from the largest companies in our industry. As well as a outside representative from the SGMA helping organize, structure, and run our sub committee. I think you will find this is being handled completely different this time and should see more to come from PSTA in the future.



Janek D said...

I'm still waiting for the PSTA to open the doors for us smaller guys.

Anonymous said...

Janek D,

I suggest you contact the PSTA via there website. (

For the record I am not on the PSTA just well aware of there efforts.



Janek D said...

I did... I think sending them an email caused widespread panic, got a response very quickly explaining they don't take members.