Monday, March 7, 2011

Motivating subscribers

The current regular mail reason subscription pitch begins as follows:
Remember a few years ago when you were sitting in class in front of that professor with the over-inflated ego -- who didn't have a clue what he was talking about and wouldn't shut up? ...
What do we learn from this? Some thoughts:

1) Reason thinks there are some professors without over-inflated egos! That's almost certainly too generous, particularly if you condition on having tenure.

2) Reason thinks all professors are men, or that only the male ones don't know what they are talking about or that only the male ones won't shut up. I only add this bit because they claim later on in the letter to be "a cool read" and "not your father's political magazine". Male pronouns are a conservative hobbyhorse, not a libertarian one, and I think even the conservatives have given up on it.

3) Reason sends subscription letters even to people who have been subscribing for 28 years. Turns out it is cheaper to do this than to run a check for duplicate addresses, or so I was told back in my reason intern days. I would have thought that reductions in computer costs would have changed that calculation, but at bulk mail rates, maybe not.

Full disclosure: I feel at liberty to tease reason because I give them money and was their summer intern for two years back in the 1980s.

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