Do you think you can handle the truth?

Can you handle the truth?

I have three stories to share.

ONE: A few years ago a friend of an old school friend (living on the other side of the world) came to me for some free advice.  

He owns six video stores, and some months run at a loss. He has problems and he is looking for some answers.

The real problem though, was that he wanted me to tell him to do this promotion or paint it that colour – and magically his sales would shoot up and he would become rich; but the reality is that video shops are rapidly becoming surplus to society’s needs

TWO: Another friend sent me a spreadsheet with a really fancy model (derived from the BCG matrix) but adapted to plotting a team’s performance.

It was sexy and interesting, but not even remotely suitable for the intended use.

THREE: I look around at successful businesses that fail to ‘jump the curve’; that is businesses which once owned a certain market space and then gave that up meekly to an upstart.

  • The reason why Trading Post did not become EBay…
  • The reason why Britannica did not become Wikipedia…
  • The reason why Yellow Pages did not become Craigslist…

I am congenitally incapable of cloaking the truth in bullsh*t, so this is what I told them:

ONE: I told the friend of a friend that he should sell the business.  And if that was not possible, transform the businesses into something else by re-positioning it.

TWO: I told my other friend that his invention had other possible uses – and really attractive ones too. But it had no practical application in the environment he designed it for.

THREE: Telstra did not ask me, they asked another hombre. But I would have told them that they should NOT enter any consumer facing business – and that they should focus on providing the infrastructure. Imagine if they could ‘clip-the-ticket’ on every phone call made by Optus, Virgin, etc. etc. – forever?

One friend did not bother to respond at all, and the other wrote a very curt thank-you note.  (I am still on hold with Telstra…) Apparently the answers they got weren’t the answers they wanted.

Our own worst enemy is our failure to handle the truth.

Why does the friend of a friend hang on to his video shops in the face of overwhelming evidence?

Why does my friend hang on to the idea of his spreadsheet model when he clearly should not?

Is your business like Trading Post? Any others that you see who are failing to change?

What is it about human nature that we are so incapable of do we not face the truth?

Looking forward to your ideas…

THERE IS ONE MORE SPOT LEFT AT THE RETAIL HACKATHON… if you want to jump the curve. Be quick

Dennis Price

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