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Missing the Picture

Are we looking at the wrong part of the kaleidoscope?  This morning I went to a carefully prepared seminar discussing the realm of retail.  The three gentlemen and one lady were acknowledged experts.  They were more than capable of discussing the current retail industry’s state and revealing future trends, and we all listened intently.

In they plunged, talking about where America’s $5 trillion in retail expenditures went last year – why internet shopping, though only 9 percent of that revenue, made such an impact.  They explained the loss of anchor stores – new methods of online sales – taxes – warehouse vs. store space sales.  Finally after a half an hour I had enough.  Tentatively I raised my hand and congratulated them on their exquisite discussion of the tubes – the delivery system that led to the end.  However, I begged to note, no one had even mentioned the most fascinating and far most important end of this picture: The Customer.  Remember him?  They guy who shells out all this cash and, in the end, holds absolute veto over which tubes provide the experience worth paying for?  That colorful, ever-shifting array of customers is the whole point.

There is no intent here to single out these four very knowledgeable individuals.  Alas, this myopia is a lurking affliction that creeps into the vision of each of us at some times – myself included, all too often.  Political analyses, business plans, scientific and scholarly studies, so easily get lured into seeking solutions within the structure, and ignoring what really runs the show.

For me, it was an extremely fruitful discussion.  This retail panel had taught me much.  On the way home, I ran trough my current ventures and discovered three in which I have been so intent on the engine, that I was neglecting the destination.  Slap my wrist.  Here’s hoping that your vision is better than mine and you’ve got your eyes fixed on the glorious display at the end of the process.

P.S.  You can but the Schylling Classic Tin Kaleidoscope at both local toy stores and online for under $10.  Enjoy.

Wishing you every success,

          – Bart Jackson

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