My kids call me Grom (Grumpy Old Man). OK, pedants will know that ought to be GOM, but a Grom sounds grumpy. I started building internet businesses in the 1980s and these days invest in other peoples' start-ups. Now that less of my life is about to happen than has happened, I've got a lot to get off my chest. This blog is a series of posts about things that annoy me, things that excite me or things that just need to be said. Grumbles of a Grom... Grombles
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I enjoy photography - both taking pictures as well as marveling at inspired and perhaps lucky examples taken by others.
All copyrights of the pics below are those of their respective owners, so, sadly, I'm not claiming any are my own.
They all make you think about things in a different way... which is why I'm sharing them.
Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!).
Most businesses these days have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which store and process vasts amounts of information about us. They use this information to generate communications, amongst other things, which target us to buy their products and services. CRM is all about how a business relates to its customers: Past (keeping them loyal through aftersales and service), Present (helping them buy through bricks and clicks channels) and Future (prospecting).
Most businesses will at some stage have declared themselves 'customer-centric'. They will probably have drawn diagrams on whiteboards that look something like these:
But there's a problem with this whole approach of keeping the customer at the centre of your world and the focal point for everything you do.Is it what the customer wants? Of course companies who ignore their customers eventually go out of business. And those who treat their customers well, tend to thrive. But is it really in the best interests …
I have a son who went to a well known preparatory school (7-13) in Surrey. He came home one day clutching a leaflet for fun activity holidays that the school promoted every summer. The Titus Trust operate several camps around the UK where they organise fun outdoor activities for youngsters. Something caught my eye in the leaflet hidden in a paragraph in one of the sections describing the holidays. They used the word Christian. It was the only place in the whole leaflet that the word was used. My suspicions raised, I hunted around the leaflet for more clues and found the imprint which said something like 'A Titus Trust Charity' (the name of the camps was on the title of the leaflet). I dug deeper and found some disturbing evidence of who was behind these 'fun' camps. This is what I wrote at the time to the headmaster: Dear Headmaster
XXXX came home the other day extremely excited about an outward bound camp next summer that he and his friends had been told about by a rep…