Saturday, September 26, 2009

Other people's opinion

It is a weird thing - other people's opinion. I think I have been told through my whole life, not to worry about what other people think and just to do what I think. I find myself saying those same things to my kids. But it is a kind of hypocrisy since I do always think about other people's opinion - what it means and if I should be taking notice of it. Then you see the latest news about Flavio Briatore in Formula One or ex Formula One as he is now.
A few year's ago I read an article all about him that was glowing. How amazing he was to be able to mastermind world championship wins with a lesser budget than other team principals etc etc. It listed all his feats and his strengths and sure it mentioned some of his weaknesses but reading the article, one had to conclude he was a pretty exceptional man.
Now in the light of recent allegations of race fixing he has been derided and the very same news source mentioned his weaknesses in stark, short sentences and a very small nod to his feats of the past. It is the same guy but such a different view.
The whole situation does make you wonder about other people's opinions and how much we should listen to them. What is the truth about anything, even yourself? I can quickly change the opinion on myself depending on what I have done in the last hour or so.
We are undertaking an exciting, new venture at the moment. I can see if it is a raving success no doubt people will say aah it is because they planned well, stuck to their budgets and looked after their customers. If it doesn't work out I guess others will say aah it is because they were inexperienced and naive. Yet whatever happens the same people are involved. How can it be either one or the other depending on the outcome? Opinions are very weird if you think about them too much.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marketing stories

Karl gave me a really nice Moleskine notebook for my birthday. It is lovely and it has a great story about being used by Hemingway and other creative types. I always have notebooks hanging about for writing in so it is a perfect gift and the history behind it is pretty cool. But my curiosity began to be nagged when I read the information inside about how the books had stopped being produced and then a small Milanese printing company began to make them again. It said bits of them were handmade. Really? Was this notebook handmade in Italy? Nowhere on the book did it say where it was made. But it did have a website - Now I've worked with a couple of Italian companies in the past and websites were not really something they were strong on. Also they usually were .it not .com. Was this really made by a small Milanese printing company?
I looked up the website and sure enough that small Milanese printing company has been purchased by a bigger company with a really boring name. Sure they are designed in Italy but now the handmade bit is in China.
The latest marketing thing is to tell stories about your products makes it more authentic, people buy into the story, etc etc. The problem is when you are just doing it as a marketing technique, it still rings hollow. If you go to this website you read how the handmade bit is done in China but how this is so appropriate because the Chinese invented paper. They know and we know the only reason they are being handmade in China is to keep costs down. Sure it is a book with a lovely history and they are trying hard to market it as that but when it is made by some big comglomerate with a boring name in China - it does take the shine off the lovely back story.
I do still really like the notebook and it is made well but it doesn't matter what marketing technique you use, if the background doesn't back it up, the warm fuzzies are not really generated. Though there is a little thought gathering momentum in the back of my mind. If this was handmade by a small Milanese printing firm - would I have been able to get one outside of Italy? If it wasn't handmade in China - would it have been unaffordable to me?

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.