[Home | Contact | What's New? | Products | Services | Tips | Mike |
Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

The Problem of
the Failure of Imagination,
Or,
Test Your Drops!

“If you know the enemy and know yourself,
you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle."
-- Sun Tzu, "The Art Of War"

Jonathan Swift
mdcrawford@gmail.com

Friday, February 19, 2019 Vancouver, Washington

There are some insights that are not possible to conceive of through any other means than asking a great many insightful questions. Such is common with Product Sales and Marketing, so the practice of Marketing Studies is by now what Scientists, Mathematicians and Engineers denote as a "Solved Problem".

Despite that, what I myself denote as "The Problem of the Failure of Imagination" considers the causes as well as the consequences of neither asking any questions of any sort as well as far, far worse "The Problem of the Lack of Insight", that being to not be insightful enough to realize that there are questions that must be answered.

Here I consider a few business failures, those being the cancellation of the Google Play Social Media website, the failure of the Boston Dynamics high-end robotics vendor to make it's very first sale - to the United States Marine Corps - as well as the shutdown of my very-favorite place to hang out all day - as well as the only place to hang out all day of Tonalli's & Cream.


In the parlance of Direct - what most prefer to denote as "Junk" - mail, a "Drop" is a bulk-mailing of the combination of recipient names all drawn from the same specific source, typically magazine subscriber lists or the registered users of a software product, the graphic design as well as text on the outside of the envelopes, the wording off the offer letter, the product or products offered as well as each of their prices.

While lower product prices clearly yield higher response rates, to get one's response high enough one might well have to lower the price(s) far enough that one cannot cover the costs of postage, printing, bulk-handling such as the use of envelope-stuffing machinery, the wholesale costs of the product and the like.

One usually "Tests The Lists" - small Drops of perhaps one hundred "Names", each from different magazines as well as different demographics from each given magazine: Men? Women? Do they also posses a credit card? Sexual Orientation - and I am not joking!- Suburbans? City Dwellers? Consider that Farmers would be heavily into paying inflated prices for Country Music and Bluegrass CDs.

When you get a specific List that shows promise, even if it's not yet profitable, one then tests the exterior envelope graphic design and text:

More Coming Soon On Direct Mail Testing.

The Problem of the People at the Top

I will have quite a lot more to say about The Problem of Heirarchy over the next year or so; the following example of sales failure is doubtlessly due to The Problem of the People at the Top of an otherwise forward-thinking Technology Corporation not failing to know their own enemy, but America's.

Far, far worse, is that those executives failed not to know themselves, rather that they failed to understand Our Men And Women In Uniform.

But I save my very harshest condemnation for their failure to understand War in any way whatsoever, despite this firm's most-desperate - their products, while potentional Killer Apps have yet to Find Traction yet, I am quite certain due to The Failure of Imagination of the entire staff of this quite paradoxically otherwise profoundly insightful and well-funded Hardware Startup:

Boston Dymanics - "Changing your idea of what robots can do" - proposed to the United States Marine Corps that their Robot Dogs be used to pack supplies over terrain that was too rough for vehicles.

That would have worked _really_ well has those DogBots not been so noisy that they'd be dead-certain to give their positions away:

The energy density required to not make the dog's power-pack too heavy, as well as the great strength required to bear heavy loads led Boston Dynamics to power its Dogs with Internal Combustion Engines!

I Am Absolutely Serious.

Anyone who's ever seen a War Movie let alone ever been in an actual War knows very _well_ the vital importance of Keeping Fucking Quiet when you advance - or when you're trapped.

In the case of Boston, just to send a few observers into the field in Iraq or Afghanistan, or to have a few Active Duty Troops or War On The Brown People Vets come to hang out for a day or two while they demo the DogBots would have fixed that particular Corporate Fuck-Up.

"The Failure Of Imagination" is actually inspired by the business failure of the _only_ place where I could hang out all day long in my neighborhood; now I have to tak the bus downtown to Starbucks; Tonalli's Donuts & Cream was operated by its owners here in Vancouver.

What failure?

That Donut & Cream Shop should have been called "Tonalli's Ice Cream & Lattes".

They should have had a large Free WiFi Logo in their window.

The never _once_ advertised in _any_ way. Just five hundred handbills to just the nearest neighborhood residents could have kept their shop open.

This because once you've established "Goodwill" - Goodwill is the Dollar Value of a business' good reputation - most businesses, especially small oness don't need to advertise in any way! This because us Regulars do their advertising for them, through Word Of Mouth.

I - quite sadly - discussed its impending doom with the assistant manager, who completely _flummoxed_ me when she pointed out that "There are already a lot of Mexican Bread stores in this neighborhood".

In Mexico, "Pan" - literally "Bread" - "Pan" stores sell regular bread encrusted with lots of festively dyed granulated sugar. While Pan occupies the same Ecological Niche in Mexico as Donuts do here, Donuts aren't at all like Mexican Breads.

Their store's sign was not lit up at night as are its two neighboring stores; to conserve on its electric bill, the lights in the back are kept shut off during the day, and it's employees just about _always_ sat in the back of the store so they could listen to music - that's where the store's speakers were.

They generally shut off that music when a customer would enter; that I hang out all day at Starbuck's, Peets and Portland's Case Study Coffee rather than at the free-of-charge public library is due to my severe Tinnitus: when I don't hear musing, I hear really loud ringing my ears. I've had that ringing since the very earliest days of my conscious memory, the only way to focus on anything else if to hear music; even very soft music eliminates my Torment Of Tinnitus.

They _finally_ clued in to that for the front to be empty lead many prospective new customers to conclude it was closed, so only in the last six months did its employees sit in the front when they weren't serving customers.

They had a restroom, but with a sign posted on it that said "Employees Only". It's _only_ because just _some_ of Tonalli's staff permitted me to use it anyway that I became a Regular there.

They don't sell Wholesale Donuts at all - there's lots of cafes and breakfast joints in these parts that would have happily bought some every morning.

Their Portland location failed too.

dDespite all that, their original Vancouver location - far from me, I'm sorry to say - is quite profitable, so they're just sad, not overcome with grief: they will try yet one more time - their only Portland shop failed too - with some other location.

But what they _won't_ do is....

Learn From Their Mistakes.

Solving the Software Problem:
a Taxonomy of Error

[Home | Contact | What's New? | Products | Services | Tips | Mike]