Posted in Customer Service, Future, Research, Strategy

What type of person are you?

At Ganador it is business as usual, and it is quite usual for us to tinker with our business model. (Regular readers knwo that I do not believe in a business plan (as most people know it), but that does not mean we don’t have a strategy and that we measure our progress accordingly.

As part of this process we are going to to intorduce some changes – but it is too early to talk about those.

In the meantime, we are following a process of innovation – applying ‘design thinking’ to our organisation (a service business) the same as brand creators (say Apple) would do for physical products.

This video links back to the source article that informs some of our intellectual property development. (Astute readers may start picking up where we are heading to, but that is OK 😉

The video expores 4 different types ‘learners’ or participants to the innovation process. As a smaller organisation, the same people must play different roles (not easy given natural preferences) but it helps being conscious of the stages and the various requirements.


We thought it is interesting

Innovation as a Learning Process from Roger Shealy on Vimeo.

Posted in Future

Into the future

I follow the writings of a futurist, and he identified the following list of words as describing the trends we are facing.

Anxiety, Bifurcation, Contagion, Debt, Euro, Frugal, Greece, Hope, Inflation, Juvenoia, Kaput, Locavore, Marginal, Nostalgia, Ostalgia, Payoff, Quality, Regulation, Simplicity, Thrift, Unemployment, Volatile, Weisure, Xenophobia, Yearning, Zen mail.

I suppose one can study these words, some of them a bit wanky if you ask me, but are important indicators nevertheless.

Understanding and agreeing/disagreeing with these trends is one possible response.

But for me the more important and more interesting question is whether your business has a mechanism in place to:

  1. Monitor/ identify the trends (collect the info)
  2. Consider the possible trends
  3. Respond to the trends and evaluate your response

Some of these trends will continue – and may have an impact on how we do business. Other trends will fizzle away.

The actual trend is not that important. What is important is whether you are equipped to spot it – and deal with it.

So, how are you dealing with the future?


PS: Just back from my sojourn to NZ. I will now figure out how to best share the presentation & content with y’all. Stay tuned by subscribing to the newsletter for access – however that will be arranged.


PPS: And happy birthday to LAURAINE

Posted in Future, General, Productivity, Strategy

Just get out my $%#ng# way

The Wollongong and Shellharbour councils had been disbanded a few years ago due to gross incompetence and the first elections in some time to create newly elected councils are in the ‘promise-the-world-until-you-are-in-power’ phase. Occasionally I catch a bit of this dribble on the local ABC radio and the papers.

Coincidentally, BlueScope has recently announced the retrenchment of 1000 workers.

The result is predictable. Every candidate is promising job-creation for the Illawarra. There is plenty of rhetoric about how every candidate will lobby, cajole, convince, and empower the AAA, the BBB, the ZYX Federation, Council, Association, Alliance et al to create jobs in the Illawarra.

I never swear (badly) on this blog. But if there is anything that would make me break that rule then it is this topic.

The ONLY people who can actually create jobs are ENTREPRENEURS.

All of the aforementioned and most other organisations know how to spend money researching and talking about it, but they cannot ACTUALLY create jobs.

Just entrepreneurs can.

(On a side note: It is this kind of delusional thinking that led Governments to bail out failing companies by transferring their debt to the citizens. They are playing God in the economic sphere instead of just getting out of the way.)

Whilst the BlueScope retrenchments will create heartbreak on the individual level, and I do not want to diminish their pain, there are a few other perspectives to consider:

  • I do wonder if the unions, who have insisted on 5% increases year on year on year on year take any responsibility for making BlueSope internationally uncompetitive?
  • I wonder if the proponents of a minimum wage accept any responsibility for making Australia uncompetitive?
  • I wonder if the ‘workers’ who seem to focus on their ‘entitlements’ have thought about their obligations?
  • I wonder if politicians and workers have ever thought about the PAIN and the RESPONSIBILITY that the entrepreneur feels when they go about creating those jobs that everyone seems to demand – until they have them; only to then complain how it is not good enough.

In the business climate that exists in Australia, I certainly don’t want to be an employer. I find it hard to stomach the culture of entitlement from workers and the oppressive legislative regime.

The argument that we won’t allow slave labour in Australia is a furphy rolled out by anti-capitalist, anti-entrepreneurial sorts as a scare tactic. I am willing to put a lot of money on the fact that the market-rate for wages would be not very dissimilar to what it is now. The difference is that the current regime adds additional responsibilities of the employer that significantly increases the cost of employment. And in addition, the death kiss is the concomitant, increasing inflexibility that becomes part of your business with every additional employee.

I realise it may hard for people to imagine the alternative if you are raised in the current regime, but consider a few examples:

  • What is the rationale for a government legislate that the EMPLOYER (in my case the individual ME) should pay a nominated superannuation fee and NOT put that obligation on the individual? Why must the employer be responsible for the prudent financial management of your retirement – and not the employee?
  • Why must the employer pay the taxes and not the employee?
  • Why can’t the employee be expected to insure themselves against accidents?

I think the point is made.

FIXING this problem is important.

There are two considerations:

Firstly, climate change proponents are probably prone to exaggeration (who really knows) – but if they are even half-right, we will be living in a shit-hole in a few decades.

The bottom-line of the climate change debate is this: GROWTH as we know it is over. The world cannot support growth at the rate that it has grown in the past. (Jeff Jarvis wrote an interesting post on the “jobless future”.)

Secondly, I believe we are migrating to a new economic structure. I don’t (and no one really does) know what it will look like.

I think that will be an environment where only the nimble and flexible will survive.

I think companies will be smaller – with many more solo businesses.

But what I know is that Australian business environment is not future-proof. And THAT will be the single biggest factor limiting Australia’ survival and our place in the world economic-pecking order.

The culture we have harks back to an industrial era where ‘industrial relations’ were probably necessary. But in the world we live in now, the same principles don’t apply. Workers in that era were different. The modern era means:

  • Workers can communicate instantly with each other and establish what is fair and what is unfair.
  • Workers are mobile and can move their skills anywhere at anytime.
  • The balance of power (in the age of Intellectual Property) lies with the employee – not the employer.
  • Employees can and do take responsibility for their own training because the skills required for economic success are not dictated (or resourced and controlled) by employers.

It just does not make sense to punish entrepreneurs with a restrictive employment regime when exploitation is not viable or available anyway.

If wannabe councillors/ politicians want to really help, they should get out of the way. I am not advocating anarchy or that businesses or entrepreneur are above the law.

What I AM asking governments/councils to do is change their attitudes. The prevailing approach (apparently entrenched in the culture of these organisations) is to look at every business, at every attempt to develop or grow something from the perspective of ‘what is wrong with this proposal.’

If they could change their approach to ‘how can we help make it happen’ then the entrepreneurs have all the help they need. Real entrepreneurs can make anything happen (e.g. raising capital when rates are not favourable) but they can’t break the law and these politicians ARE the law.

Such an attitude shift would be a big challenge in itself, but that is all we require.

Thank you. Sorry for the rant. Let’s save Australia.

Posted in Branding, eTailing, Future, Management

A really QR butt, and it is ok to look

QR codes (Quick Response codes) are growing rapidly in terms of adoption for marketing purposes.

QR codes use proprietary technology (a Toyota subsidiary) but they have elected not exercise copyright. Microsoft has created an equivalent product.

Just like barcodes contain information about a product, the QR code can contain information. But because the Barcodes are one dimensional and QR codes are two dimensional, the type and amount of information is vastly increased.

There are various types of equipment that can scan a QR code, but its growth is fuelled by a range of apps that can be downloaded to your smart phone.

Typically it can be printed on anything:

Marketing collateral, posters, dockets, products and even on bums.

(In the image above, the ladies are sponsored by Betfair, and by snapping the QR code on their bums, you will be directed to the sponsor’s website. Sourced from


QR Codes could link to:

  • Installation instructions
  • Competition entry forms
  • Directions to your business
  • Recommendations for complementary products and services
  • Free mp3 or video downloads
  • Customer feedback forms


Why don’t you try it?

You need to download a QR app to your smart phone.

I use Red Laser (on Android) which is actually a scanner that also compares prices on the fly. (For a video that shows how Red Laser works – and it is a bit scary for retailers – have a look at this video.)


You will note that it actually takes you to a mobile-optimised version of the website.

There is a new service that optimises your site for free (and there is a premium version available too).

To create your own QR code, you can use (the url shortener) or simply search for QR code generators.

Ok, that should keep you busy for the next 30 minutes…


(And let me know what you think in the comments below.)



PS: I am thinking I might do a special feature on QR codes in the next issue of my newsletter. If you think it will be useful let me know (and cast your vote by subscribing in the meantime.)

Posted in eTailing, Future, Shopper Marketing, Strategy

The Red Laser App

Retail is getting tougher and tougher.

Shopping is getting easier and easier.

I have become aware of Red Laser some time ago and have tried it out.

It is a little bit scary.





I like Red Laser for its ability to also scan QR codes. (Post about that to follow.)

Posted in Future, General, Personal Development

The way out

If you own a tobacconist you’d worry about government regulation. If you run a pub or club you will be worried about anti-pokies segment and anti-smoking sentiment.

If you own a service station, you’d be worried about alternative energy. If you own a hamburger joint or a pizza shop you are worried about healthy eating habits.

If you own a bookshop, shoe shop, fashion store – or almost any other type of retail outlet, you’d be worried about the internet.

In fact, even small manufacturers probably don’t realise that 3D printing is going to send many of them broke quicksmart.

But there is a way out.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a wimp until he started lifting weights and Michael Dell was a dishwasher when he was working on selling his first PC. Bill Gates was a nerd programming software for traffic lights until he sold the first DOS license to IBM and Ray Kroc was a travelling salesman until he opened his second McDonalds.

Abraham Lincoln ran a general store before he eventually entered politics and John Travolta was a waiter until he cracked his first audition. Rod Stewart was a grave digger and Jerry Seinfeld sold light bulbs by phone. Author Stephen King was a janitor when he had the idea for his breakthrough novel Carrie.

Who you are today and what you are doing today has absolutely no relevance to who you may become.

And it is true: one store can readily become a chain just as easily as a chain can become one store. Being broke can be great training for being rich.

But these stories are not about dreams coming true.

In each and every case, the person actually DID something.  (Sold a PC, wrote a novel, auditioned – or whatever.)

And that, dear friend, has always been and will always be the difference between success and failure: the act of executing is how dreams are made real.

Your current problems could disappear overnight, or it may take a while longer.

But the only certainty is that nothing will happen if you don’t do something about it.

What are you going to do next?


PS: One of the things you can do is to attend the Retail Conference in Melbourne (Sep 2011) and tap into the ideas and the solutions on show. Get your special discount code here.


PPS: Subscribe to ReadThinkLearnLaugh for the next issue about ‘raising the bar’ in retail. (Previous issue HERE – no subscription required.)



Posted in eTailing, Future

Is this the future?

I don’t really think that this type of feature will become part of mainstream retail. 

I think it will be part of concept stores and it will/may become part of an extended online experience.

It is pretty snazzy.

It is RELEVANT because we need to know what physical stores need to do to compete and to raise the bar of 3D Retail.

But it does not matter what I think – what do you think?

adiVerse Cannes promotion from Start JudgeGill on Vimeo.


AND PS: If you do not know what 3D retail is all about, subscribe on the site to our newsletter and I will let you in to the secret…

Posted in Future, General, Management, Strategy

Is it arrogant to proclaim we have the answer?

I am presenting at a conference in September, and as part of my preparation I found this research by Lewis & Dart (2011) where they predict that 50% of retailers/brand will fail. Whilst they do not put a timeline on it – the suggestion is that it will be this decade.

If that does not scare the shit out of you, nothing will.

How do we respond to a challenge of that magnitude?

We can:

  1. Wait for the fear to subside
  2. Ignore the fear and get stuck into it.

Seth Godin recently posted about waiting for the fear to subside.

He says there are two problems with that strategy:

  • By the time the fear subsides, it will be too late
  • The fear actually helps you do it better

Obviously I prefer strategy #2.

And I have now consulted widely enough, researched widely enough and lived long enough to know there is an answer.

I am also [fill in your preferred adjective here…] enough to think that I have the answer.

I am going to share it at a conference presentation in September. You should go.

You can find the details here.

(There is a secret code that knocks almost 30% off the very good price, but you shouldn’t go because you want to save money; go because you want some answers.)

And if yo decide to go, let me know and we can try and catch-up at the conference.

Also – feel free to pass the link/invitation on to people who you think may benefit…


Posted in Customer Service, Future, Shopper Marketing

A retail experience: old way vs. new way

This is an extract from our previous newsletter on 3D Retailing.

(Apologies to those who subscribe. If you don’t, drop your email in the box, and I will give you access.)

The OLD way (two-dimensional)

  • You arrive a few minutes early, but they have the table ready anyway.
  • The waiter acknowledges you, greets you, introduces himself and takes you to your table where they hand you your menu
  • The waiter comes around within a few minutes to take orders
  • They even suggest a few specials and make a recommendation for the wine
  • They place the order at the kitchen and return with water & crockery
  • They bring the food out and serve it the proper way.
  • Everyone gets the meal they ordered, and it is presented well and it tastes exactly how you expected.
  • During the course of the meal there are a few ‘table checks’ and they top up the wine/ water.
  • They bring the desert menu, take the order and serve the desert in good time.
  • The waiter is alert and you catch their eye easily and you signal for the bill.
  • Your credit card is approved and you leave a healthy tip.
  • You are greeted when you depart.

The NEW way (three dimensional)

  • You arrive at the restaurant and you are greeted by name by the host.
  • He accompanies you to the foyer where other guests are mingling.
  • The host enquires about your last business trip and compliments your companion on her earrings.
  • As the host introduces you to a few other guests, the sommelier brings you a pre-dinner drink (based on knowledge of your preferences. But it is a new flavour, and they share a few titbits about the new process/grape/brand whilst serving you.
  • One of the hosts is telling a story to a few people gathered around her, and you join the half-circle to watch the ‘performance’.
  • A few minutes later the door to kitchen opens and the host invites everyone in. There are long bench tables arranged around the kitchen island, which is manned by 8 chefs.
  • The lighting changes and the head chef introduces the crew. Each of the four long tables will be serving different range of dishes based on your recorded preference. You had indicated ‘seafood’ and your companion take your seat at that table.
  • Your seafood chef greets you by name (they had the seating plan indicated on their side of the table, and they have learned something about every customer.)
  • He then proceeds to run through the menu planned for the night.
  • As they start the preparations, they engage you in conversation, telling you what they are doing giving some tips as they go.
  • The courses are placed in front of you by your chef throughout the night.
  • When you are ready to leave, you simply get up and excuse yourself.
  • The chef comes around and gives you a hug and your companion a kiss on both cheeks.
  • They insist you take the half bottle of wine with you as you leave.
  • At the door, the doorman opens the door to the waiting taxi.
  • At the end of the month, your credit card is charged the usual monthly membership fee.

Whilst you may argue that you would not like the ‘new’ restaurant experience, that is not quite the point. This is just one example aimed at people who do this for the food experience. I am sure you can imagine a few other ‘themes’ or experiential outcomes that would suit your tastes better – and if there us a market for it, some restauranteer will cater for it.

The point of this exercise is to imagine how a ‘traditional’ concept might be transformed in an experience. You may think a restaurant is an easy option, but the same can be done for a travel agent, a hair dresser or a shoe shop – quite easily.

Dreaming up the experience is the easy part.

Translating it into a physical experience (staff, systems, procedures etc.) is the hard part.

And of course doing so at a profit is harder still.