The electronic device which I chose to discuss is the remote control. Generally speaking, and if I am not mistaken, remote controls that were made to control televisions were invented in the 50’s, and have ever since become more and more obsolete. The “SANYO” remote control which I found in my new home in New Orleans is almost identical to one that my family had in our home in New York growing up. When I found it in a cabinet (most likely left behind by previous tenants of this house), I had a feeling of nostalgic connection to it that brought me back to my childhood instantly, and more specifically to my father and our relationship while I was growing up. My father was always very into “things” or objects, just like myself. The tangible yet powerful nature of being able to hold something in your hand and control something across the room was always very exciting to both my dad and I. My mother never really cared much for electronics; she is a painter who prefers to maintain a distant relationship with technology (although she acknowledges its presence all around her). When I was a child, I was very stubborn, and like my father, needed by all means to be in control of the situation. The situation I am referring to is the nightly family TV dinners that I used to have with my parents growing up. These dinners are something I value and still have a deep emotional impact on me to this day. They were the times when I learned about my parents’ opinions and beliefs, in context with whatever it was that we were watching, not to mention they both always had a great taste in cinema.
Each night, we would gather by the TV and while my mother would casually sit down and begin to eat her meal, my father and I could feel each other’s eyes scanning the room for that big grey remote control. It was a nightly competition; whoever could find it first had all the power in the situation, that is to say the choice of what we were going to watch. I always preferred cable to DVDs, whereas my dad usually had a movie already in mind for us to watch. Whoever found the remote first, however, almost always had the privilege of choosing what we were all going to watch. This is when I was older, however, because when I was younger than say 10 years old, the remote was always something that belonged to my father. Once I got a bit older however, he made room for me to enter into the game of hide-and-seek. There were certain nights when I cheated (and hid the remote beforehand) and others where I am sure he did as well. Regardless, as Turkle discusses, holding this almost identical remote in my hands once again brought back swarms of memories of these family dinners that always meant so much to me yet I had seemed to forget about over time. This is the “special” quality of things or objects; as put by Turkle, the intense emotional attachment to them resulting from the fact that “we fall in love with objects that put us in touch with these ideas.”
The picture I uploaded includes the SANYO remote that plays a lead role in my childhood story sitting beside the Apple TV remote currently used by my roommates and I. It is interesting to see the sheer size difference between the two, but the emotions that they carry are similar in several ways. In the same way my father and I used to fight over the SANYO remote, my roommates and I have developed a similar dynamic surrounding the Apple TV remote. Whoever finds it first (which is even more of a challenge due to its size and tendency to disappear), gets to choose what we watch. This is something we engage in almost every day, but that I would never have thought to connect back to my childhood and my father had I not come across the SANYO remote.
The company which manufactured the remote control that I found in my house is called “SANYO”, and is a Sydney-based technology firm that has seen huge declines in profits over the past couple of decades. According to Chris Jenkins , SANYO has recently cut more than 14,000 jobs from its world-wide companies. The company had also planned to closed down 20 percent of its factories in Japan. This is a clear indication that the company has suffered an economic downturn. This article claims that the decline in profits stem from major competition in digital cameras, an item which is also quickly becoming obsolete (with the clarity of the camera on the iPhone 6, for example). However, many sources attribute the gain of zero net profit to the rapid rise of the Yen. Even after selling their cellphone business to Kyocera Corp. in 2008, Sanyo would have “fallen into the red” so to speak. This term is used in business to indicate when a business/company has fallen so far into debt that they cannot keep track of how much money they owe, for example. In struggling to avoid a shut-down, SANYO has cut off ties with fourteen of its “debt-ridden affiliates” (Bloomberg,1997). All of this information previously discussed is that which I have extracted from articles written from the years 1997-2006. It was very difficult to find any relevant articles regarding SANYO profit and sales in the year 2014, which further supports the notion of its obsolescence. Upon locating an article written in 2014 through Lexis Nexis by GlobalData, I discovered that Panasonic Corporation (a much more well-known company) has acquired 50.19% of SANYO’s shares (GlobalData Ltd., 2014). This fact illustrates the necessity for SANYO to sell its shares in order to survive, and perhaps attempt to jump-start new innovations, although at this point the chances of their revival seems unlikely.
Analysts see profit potential in Sanyo; AROUND ASIA’S MARKETS; BUSINESS ASIA by Bloomberg
The International Herald Tribune, June 7, 2006 Wednesday, FINANCE; Pg. 23, 578 words, Wes Goodman
Sanyo slashes 14,000 jobs
The Australian, July 6, 2005 Wednesday All-round Country Edition, FINANCE; Pg. 24, 414 words, Chris Jenkins
Sanyo to cut operating profit forecast by 40 percent; see no net profit
Kyodo News International (Tokyo, Japan), January 10, 2009 Saturday, BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL NEWS, 314 words, Kyodo News International, Tokyo