Mass Culture Inc

Conglomeration, or Why Sony Makes Most of Its Profit from Insurance

Last week, I explained how media companies converge into a variety of different businesses that might not even be related to media.

Sony, for instance, is one of the most recognizable companies in the world, especially for their electronics, motion picture and music businesses. But as Dan Frommer explained in 2011, the most profitable part of the business is financial services:

Sony’s profits these days come from what may seem like an unexpected source: Its financial services business, which includes life insurance, non-life insurance, and banking. (At least before the rest of Sony wipes those profits out — overall, the company expects to lose more than $1 billion this fiscal year.)


The Stone Cutter

In class, I told the story of The Stonecutter, a story that I told from memory to demonstrate how in an oral society, stories were passed on as myths and proverbs. The actual content of the text is not important but the theme or lesson is.

You can read a version of the story here and another version here.

The way the story was remembered and passed on was probably by using a mnemonic device that incorporate each step of the Stonecutter’s transformation. The step went something like this:

  1. Stonecutter
  2. King in one story; and a Rich Man in another
  3. Sun
  4. Cloud
  5. Wind
  6. Mountain
  7. Stonecutter

In my version, I had forgotten about the king/rich man, but I did more or less tell you the same story even if I hadn’t told you the exact same words.

The details were less important than the message, which I believe sticks with you because it is a proverb.