Archive for the 'Historical' Category
As I’ve been listening to different audio books and putting this program together, one thing has become clear. I need a thesis and a workable project to make this site complete. With a dozen or so audio books under my belt, I’ve come to love the format. I can listen while I’m walking, driving, or just working around the house.
The format does two important things for me.
1. It helps me complete the book. Unlike written books which take uninterrupted time, the audio book format lends itself to multitasking. I can be doing something else while I’m enjoying the material. This is especially helpful while doing something that is naturally boring or unpleasant. Listening while exercising or weight training has proved to be a win-win situation. The book comes alive and the focus on exercise disappears. So many written books lie unfinished because of a lack of uninterrupted time.
2. Immersion in the subject. Being able to listen to a subject while walking, driving, or just sitting is a huge plus for the audio book format. My walks through local business districts have proven to be an amazing experience. The insights that I’ve learned are incredible. Listening to Seth Godin, John Maxwell, or Malcom Gladwell while exploring a new business district has opened my eyes to subtle clues about business success. All of a sudden important stories appear in some businesses while others are truly unremarkable. It truly gives you an important perceptiveness of reality. One that would be very helpful for business owners.
One thing has become clear. I love old towns. The unique business districts with an eclectic mix of entrepreneurial adventures are fascinating. Ever since I was a kid I always dreamed of owning a small business. Having a shop with cool stuff and adventurous customers has always been in the back of my mind. To open a unique restaurant with delicious food and live music has been an unwritten goal for years. Reality has always prevented me from pursuing any of these dreams.
Reality says that most businesses struggle and fail. Walk through any old town and you’ll find that to be true. Yet in every town I’ve been in there are always the standouts. Restaurants with lines out into the street, eclectic antique shops full of curious customers, and the ubiquitous art gallery with the painting you just have to own. What makes some businesses stand out from the others? Why are some a roaring success and others empty? That is the question of my thesis.
Seth Godin has opened my eyes to storytelling. In this new millennium, advertising and normal marketing is not enough. There is always somebody willing to sell your product cheaper and get it to your customer faster. Enter Wal-Mart and the other big box retailers. Selling products for less money that most businesses can buy them wholesale. How can a small business compete? The answer is they can’t. They can’t compete if they are telling the same story. If they are just marketing and advertising the same thing as Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart wins every time… even if it’s just a few cents.
Small businesses must sell a different product and tell a different story. A story that Wal-Mart or other mass retailers could never tell. A story so compelling that people are drawn in from far away.
That is my thesis…
Old Town: Developing an Authentic Story in a Wal-Mart World
Some questions that will be answered.
- What kind of businesses thrive in an old town setting?
- Who are the customers that come to old town?
- What story must be told to bring customers in?
As I explore different Old Towns, these questions will be asked and the answers compiled. Is there a pattern for success? Is there a particular business model that works well in this environment? Is there a particular customer base/demographic that is drawn to old town businesses?
As I have walked through diverse old towns such as Temecula, Murrieta, and Fallbrook certain similarities are starting to emerge. Each town is completely unique but particular business models are coming to the forefront. Some stories are working better than others. There are incredible standouts with amazing tales being told.
Come along and join in the adventure.
Later this week we’ll talk about developing a workable project to accompany this thesis.
Designing and developing our own workable Old Town business.
We’ll buy the land, build the building and develop a story. All on paper… but the story will be real. The beams and stucco will exist only in a CAD drawing but the story will be authentic…
if only in our imaginations…
This has been an incredible weekend. On Saturday I posted an article entitled “MBA on the Run“. The concept of the article is to listen to MBA related Audio books on a Ipod while walking through interesting business districts. Sounds like a crazy idea doesn’t it. I have to say this is one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced.
When I wrote the article I had no idea how profound the experience would be. Last night I picked up Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki from Itunes and downloaded it onto my Ipod Mini. I decided to follow through with my plan and I drove down to Old Town Murrieta which is a few miles from where I live. I parked in a strip mall on the edge of the main street. The Audio book had been playing while I was driving in the car so I had an overview of the first chapter.
I plugged in the earphones, put on my jacket, and clipped the Ipod to my belt. I started walking south along Washington Ave about 7pm. The story on the Ipod was one of two boys growing up in Hawaii in the 1950’s. The reality I was seeing was an old town that could have been out of that book. As the Author talked about his adventures growing up and the lessons that he learned it was if I had been transported back in time. Robert talked about working in Mrs Martin’s store for 10 cents and hour… I looked across the street and there was the rustic Murrieta Market. There was a young boy in the door dust mopping the floor and shaking the dust off in a huge cloud. Probably the same thing had been happening for 40 or 50 years… different kids… different times..
I walked further and I passed a Bar & Grill. The noise was loud and somebody inside was causing a commotion. I walked past the entrance and the story on the Ipod talked about people who didn’t understand how money worked would always be spending their money on frivolous things like alcohol and gambling. This was getting more profound by the minute. I continued down the street fascinated by Mr. Kiyosaki’s stories. The words were literally before my eyes.
As I reached the other end of town, I crossed the street and headed back. I soon heard people singing and I noticed a very small church building off to the left in the darkness. It could probably hold 30 people at the most. There was a glow around the front door and the singing got louder as I approached. All of a sudden the front door burst open and a young gal came running out at full speed. She ran right in front of me and continued down the street to a tattered mini van. She grabbed a book out of the back, muttered a faint hello, and hurried back in. The interesting thing was there was no name on the building… no worship times , no denomination, … nothing.
The audio book was talking about the desperation of people and businesses that didn’t understand financial principles. I couldn’t help thinking that this church needed to invest in a sign so the people of the neighborhood could get more information. Why wasn’t there a name or other information? If I lived nearby how could I get involved? It seemed so odd. And then it got more interesting as I walked further. Across the street there was more of a ruckus at the Bar. The noise level increased and someone was yelling from the front porch. What would happen if that little church had an outreach and a name, I wondered?
I continued on and Robert talked about the lesson’s he learned from his rich dad and how he invested in Real Estate. The stories of how he took dilapidated old buildings and turned them into high rises. I looked up to see an amazing dichotomy. On one side of the street was an old house from the turn of the century… boarded up and a rickety for-sale sign hanging from a post. The other side was a new two story office building that was under construction.
I had now reached the other end of town and I headed back to my car. When I opened the door I turned off the Ipod and I was suddenly transported from 1956 back to 2006. I can’t tell you how amazing this short little journey was. I will finish this audio book up in the next few days and then I hope to interview someone who has learned some of Robert’s financial principles.
This book tells an amazing story..
Back to the future 2006… Wow!