Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a TV Shopping Channel. It was shiny and new. All the people who worked there were shiny and new. The cameras, microphones and lights were shiny and new, too. And their business plan was most definitely shiny and new – the shiniest and newest business plan you could ever imagine.
The shiny and new business plan was a simple one. They offered products that were shiny and new, just like the channel itself. If it was new and out-of-ordinary, they would put it on their network. Sometimes the shiny and new products sold very well. Sometimes they did not. When they did sell well, they sold them again and again until everyone who wanted one had one…or maybe two. The products that did not sell well were cast aside (or they just let HSN sell them).
This shiny and new business plan worked very well for the shiny and new TV Shopping Channel. All was well until few years later when some people thought this plan could be improved. After all, if the customers really liked the unusual shiny and new products, they would really love the popular products that were sold almost everywhere else.
When the shiny and new people at the TV Shopping Channel complained that their way was the best, the other people waved their fancy MBA and accounting degrees, claiming that they knew how to make the channel even more successful. Bean counters were hired to make sure that the formerly shiny and new company was in step with the times. The old guard stood fast for a while but soon, the MBA wavers and bean counters won out and had the chance to show their own shiny and new business plan.
It didn’t take long before the formerly shiny and new Shopping Channel was filled with products that everyone knew and loved. The problem was that most of the people watching already had the products that everyone loved. Those that didn’t have them soon found out that they could get them for much less money other places.
The MBA wavers and bean counters knew that they would face fierce competition from the Internet and other shopping channels. They responded by offering all their products on a time payment plan. Many people who could not afford to pay for the popular products could now buy them and pay for them over the course of many months. The TV Shopping Channel even did the complex mathematical computations so the hosts could tell their customers how much they were paying over time to own the products. “5 cents an hour” proved to be a powerful motivator, for a while.
It didn’t take long for the customers to realize that “5 cents and hour,” worked out to a dollar a day and 30 dollars per month. And even those who were really bad at math realized that they still had to pay the entire cost. Sales for the popular, beloved products you could buy everywhere slowed to a trickle.
Most of the formerly shiny and new people had left the channel, leaving it to the devices of the MBA wavers and bean counters. When their plan crashed, some of the MBA wavers and bean counters were let go. The others fell silent, hoping someone would come up with a plan that would save the company. Theirs would be a lengthy wait.
The once shiny and new TV Shopping Channel was no longer shiny and new. In an attempt to make it a conventional retail store, the MBA wavers and bean counters had turned it into a store where you could buy things you could purchase almost everywhere. The channel hadn’t been special for many years. It had been years since any shiny and new products were offered. Many of the companies that made them had gone out of business; others found some success offering their goods on the Internet.
After many years, the formerly shiny and new TV Shopping Channel turned into an Internet-only store. Nothing shiny and new about it but it still provided enough income for some of the MBA wavers and bean counters to live quite comfortably. Anyone who worked for the original shiny and bright TV Shopping Channel found other employment. Some still looked for a brand new, shiny and bright TV Shopping Channel where they could relive better days. They are still looking.
And what about the TV channel itself? It was bought by shiny and new people who now begin every show with the phrase, “Let us pray.”
(All posts ©2014 – No portion of this text may be copied and/or pasted elsewhere without written permission of the author.)