Blatant Optimism, post 1

7 04 2009

HBS ran a short article titled “Cheers to the American Consumer.” In it, author John Quelch details 6 qualities of the American consumer that provide hope for an economic recovery:  (relative) wealth, mobility, immigration, independence, recognition and technology.

This is a short article that makes its point in broad strokes.  Not much meat to chew on here, but it does provide a context for hope.

For months now I have been decrying the pessimism of the American media, business leaders and political leaders.  I am not buying into this “sky is falling attitude.”  Our capitalistic and innovative tendencies are too ferocious to allow it (unless, of course, we succumb to our own fear and doubt).  So, from here on out, I will be searching for articles that point out bright spots in the economy, areas of growth and change.  Auto industry: stop whining and build better, more responsible cars.  Airline industry: make flying fun again.  Department stores: offer a unique retail experience based on service and local tastes.  Credit cards: make responsibility part of your customer experience again and having a credit card a privilege, not a right.

With so many old business regimes and models falling by the wayside, we have the unique opportunity now to rebuild a stronger, more valuable, more enjoyable and more sustainable economy.  No excuses.

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19 02 2009

I just completed a survey for M Squared Consulting Group that was gauging my beliefs about the past and present economy for consultants.  The last question asked if I had any predictions for economic trends.  I made three predictions, one of which was the “emergence of micro-economies where small communities will band together to help themselves out…”

And then I read this great little story in AdAge about an unemployed copywriter-turned-blogger.  Erik Proulx is turning his site Please Feed the Animals into a job market for people just like himself.

Bailout, Shmailout.  This is the kind of chutzpah and resourcefulness that is going to resuscitate our economy.  Way to go, Erik.





Can You Swallow a $4 Cup o’ Joe in This Economy?

12 11 2008

Take a look at this.  Specifically, check out the net income.

Earnings charts

It’s a good thing that Starbucks added a high-margin, low-cost, basic menu item like oatmeal because their premium coffee drinks are going to take a hit.  Starbucks should reexamine its basic drip coffee business, how they can make it more attractive to loyal customers who might have to downsize their coffee habits but don’t want to do without the experience.  First stop – look at the variety of drip coffees available and the “condiments” with which to accessorize said drip coffees.  They’ve got the basics down but they’ve got to make those condiment stations not look so ghetto and ratty.  Starbucks, you’ve got to make drip coffee fun.