Petes Weekly: Life is not a subset of Business
Small Business Ideas
August 15, 2013

Life is not a subset of Business

After a few weeks of vacation I am, as the Spanish might say, “el toro“. Mrs Carruthers assures me that I am, rather, “lleno de toro“.
In the quest to be more efficient I fear that we have lost much of our effectiveness. We have it backwards. Life is not a subset of Business. Rather, Business is a subset of Life.  Life is about people, not money.
In our business quest for efficiency (where we want to do as little as possible at the lowest possible cost) we have sucked much of the “Life” out of what we do. We replace calling and talking and listening with a programmed sequence of emails. We do our best to hide behind complex phone answering systems which stop prospects and clients from reaching a real person, especially if we are big important companies. Efficient, maybe. But how effective is it?
This occurred to me when I went to the movies on my last weekend before vacation. Movies in Norway are so expensive that you need to sell a kidney to attend, and I am told this is not allowed anywhere except Brazil.
So it was a privilege to attend a few movies in Cape Town. Even more so, after the catatonic silence of a Norwegian movie house, is the vibrancy of folk munching popcorn as their partners curse about the Coke spilt down their fashionable Levi legs.
Anyway, as the movie started I fell asleep. I am embarrassed to admit this, but a bottle of good Shiraz, enjoyed on the Milnerton beachfront on a slow Saturday afternoon, has a way of slowing a man right down.
I awoke with a snork, and a dig in the ribs from the fine fellow to my right. We had built an intimate acquaintance as we, together, stood up 17 times to allow the other moviegoers into their seats. One of the benefits of sitting on the aisle is the workout. And it sure allows a rapid escape when the movie is really bad.
Everyone was clapping. As an ex Norwegian tenant this was quite startling. The movie, The Internship, was funny in a heart warming way, and not just for us folk on the sunset side of 30. Even the kids were roaring. (Kids, in this context, below five.)
Do yourself a favour and watch the movie, preferably in a movie house. (I don’t know about you but there’s a peace in not having your eldest son fiddle about with the controller each time he gets bored, usually in the middle of a scene you really, really want to watch.)
As you enter you might also try telling the fine person next to you “I’ll be your seat companion during this movie experience.” It is a great way to get some extra space.
We are people first. When you think of us as “consumers” you lose sight of a key concept. Long before we are consumers of your products, we are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, each of us unique in lots of ways. The more effectively you see us as individuals, the more likely we are to listen to your story. Heck, we might even buy from you.
Warm regards
Peter Carruthers

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