Keeping your head amongst the Giants

We have an issue in the modern world. Big companies, in their bid for your undying loyalty and dollars, now offer services up the wazoo. They all aim to be your one stop shop for EVERYTHING: books, games, software, social media, email, and often hardware. These giants are companies like Google and Apple, Samsung and Sony, Amazon and Microsoft… The list goes on and on. Buy into one such giant and you will find you have little or no need for the others. It’s convenient and quick. It’s relatively safe.

But it also comes with risks. Offend the Giant that benefits you, and watch as your hard bought investment in those products and services dry up and crumble in short order. Yes, there are supposedly rules to protect you, but I regard the giants with a level of trust that extends about as far as I can throw them, and I do so from a position of caution.

So, what to do? Buying into the Giants is very hard to avoid. Even when I decide to support all my local businesses, I will still wind up at a Safeway or Wal-Mart before long, because the selection works in my favor. Prices are low. I know them and they know me. But rather than put my money and faith solely in the hands of one Giant, I now try to divide between them.

I will always shop at Amazon, but my Kindle will go away, to be replaced by a Barnes and Noble Nook. Maybe a Kobo Aura. I use an Android phone, and so it makes reasonable sense to buy my music from Google Play as I distance myself from Apple and iTunes. My movies come from the Sony Entertainment Network, and my games too.

In this way, the wrath of one Giant will not so affect me as to cripple my existence. I pity those who have lost almost all of their online lives because they depended entirely on a company like Google for everything and then had their accounts hacked or locked. Even the best companies are so very far from perfect, and I am among those who question the inherent “goodness” of such companies, even at the best of times.

Still, by dividing up the money between giants, it helps keep them from becoming big enough to take everything. It won’t keep me (or you) immune, it will soften potential blows greatly.

It’s more work, and if you are already ingrained with a single Giant, the switch may be more difficult. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

That said, I have seen few worthy actions that were ever easy.

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