Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

15 March 2012

You are being sold based on your ... Greed and Fear

I love love LOVE The Dragons Den. It's the most reality of any reality show around. It is a rare glimpse into the world of high level business thinking that has more influence over our society than we think.

Last night on the show, there was a pitch from a very genuine mother who's son Wyatt struggled to find the motivation to read. So she created a solution to a problem like a good business does. It's a wonderful learning game called "UKloo" that made reading a fun thing. Bruce Croxon who defines his entrepreneurial philosophy as “serendipity mixed with smarts" had an emotional connection to the plight because his son struggled in a similar way. He didn't invest however because he realized that he couldn't make money from it. The Simon Cowell of Dragons Den, Kevin O'Leary was also intrigued. When asked how many products like this existed, O'Leary repeated "Many many many many many..." He correctly indicated that major toy retailers do not want to (or have the time) to talk to one person and hear that person's individual story. It's not that they don't care as an individual, it's just that quickly buy products from a few larger companies because they know it will sell and the strategic legwork will have already been done. O'Leary tweeted:

Then O'Leary told HIS personal story that made me nod in agreement and my wife get angry. He said that he has made TONS of money off of the fear of parents... petrified that their kids will not measure up. He offered the business owner a deal for 50% of the game and guaranteed her a mass amount of return based on 2 phone calls he'd make because it was a good product. She declined the offer because she didn't like his attitude. My wife agreed vehemently. But he was the only one who made an offer because he was the only one honest enough to speak what the others were thinking out loud. O'Leary warned her that one person hawking one product is a nightmare scenario that he's seen time and time again. She was not angry because she came away with a better market understanding and tweeted this great report last night.

No hard feelings... because he spoke honestly to her about what she needed to do to succeed in this market and it seems like she has since does just that! Well done Ukloo!

I want to say that my wife's assessment of Kevin as a jerk is both right and wrong. He WAS harsh but shoot... later in the show the 'compassionate' Arlene crowned a lady as a the worst pitch in the history of Dragons Den because she talked too fast! What Kevin said is 100% correct when it comes to how we are CONSTANTLY being SOLD from every side. Keven O'Leary is not a LONE jerk. He just speaks out loud the reality of the thoughts behind how MANY decisions high level influential are made... and gives us a peek at how YOU are being spun into believing things... whether you realize it or like it or not. And it makes for great TV and he's making money by doing it. And for many of the things he says and does regarding the market... I think Kevin is brilliant and principled. It's not that he doesn't care either... he's even made a show called Redemption Inc where he help people get a second chance as entrepreneurs. Props.

Our markets are driven (openly) by something called the "Greed and Fear Cycle" Check it out in all it's "splendor"

They are likely the two most powerful and controlling human emotions. We're being pushed and pulled by them ALWAYS... if we allow ourselves to be. I once had a creative meeting with a Life Coach who sat across from me and told me blatantly that she wanted to speak directly to the richest people she could find and intentionally play on their statistically analyzed insecurities (and those with money have just as many if not more) and make them so fearful that they'd lose it all (greed) if they didn't come running to her as the answer to their question. Then her plan was to string them along and make them dependent on her. I nearly Ralphed right there on the boardroom table. She did it. It succeeded.

And as incensed as you are... ask yourself the hard questions about why you'd like a bigger TV... or stress at night about not putting enough in RRSP's ... or insist on Dr Pepper over Dr Zip... or look at yourself in the mirror and think that your tummy roll makes you lesser... or think that a political party is pure evil. Answer: The fear based spin machine. It's crazy and YOU'RE IN IT. You're inside the generator wheel and are propagating it's survival.

Yesterday in the National Post, there was an INCREDIBLE article about former Liberal Prime Ministerial candidate Michael Ignatieff on his election annihilation academic thoughts. His observations are very astute.

In a speech lamenting the vicious tone of the attack ads used against him, former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on Tuesday told a law school audience that his party did the same thing to Stephen Harper, unfairly tarring him as a dangerously right-wing, American-style political extremist, bent on undoing cherished Canadian values.

“We attempted to deny him standing, and now he has taken his revenge. That is where we are,” Mr. Ignatieff said at York University’s Osgoode Hall. Mr. Harper “seized the centre and moved it 10 degrees to the right and now we have to seize it back.”

“Politics is a game with words. I played it a little and it isn’t Scrabble. It’s more like war, with words as weapons,” he said. “The outcome turns on a linguistic mystery, the weird things that words do to the human heart.”

Once notoriously dry and verbose in his speech, if not his writing, Mr. Ignatieff famously became a better and more natural public speaker during the course of a national bus tour, keeping his lines short and his answers direct.

The transformation showed him that the basic transaction in politics is linguistic, and that politics is a “sub-verbal form of impulse buying,” with strategies like those used to sell soap.

“Politics is a game with words. I played it a little and it isn’t Scrabble. It’s more like war, with words as weapons,” he said. “The outcome turns on a linguistic mystery, the weird things that words do to the human heart.”

Fascinating. What are they takeaways?

1) Resist the temptation to say, "The World is going to hell in a hand-basket" It's not. It's in the process of being redeemed through it's people finding redemption. We're agents of change and freedom; called to show kindness and live life BESIDE each other walking towards good.

2) Business and Politics and Advertising and Marketing and Communications are IMPORTANT. They are areas where Christians with a heart for transformation SHOULD venture into because societies are shaped by them.

3) Don't get jaded. Learn, observe and understand the workings of men and the culture you're in. Life there... not in lala land. Use wisdom to be an agent of positive change. And for goodness sake don't EVER be motivated by either greed or fear to do ANYTHING. Always be aware that you ARE being spun, but realize that because there is GOOD in this world, there is good inside the spin somewhere. Analyze the spin from each side of the argument and make YOUR decisions with clarity.

4) Take heart and live graciously & confident. I read an interview with the Pope about 4 years ago regarding the coming economic crisis that Europe has experienced the full brunt of these last few years. Regarding the economy the Pope said, “Built on sand.” and that only the works of God have “solid reality.” Referring to Matthew 7, the Pope said,

"He who builds only on visible and tangible things like success, career and money builds the house of his life on sand. We are now seeing, in the collapse of major banks, that money vanishes, it is nothing. All these things that appear to be real are in fact secondary. Only God’s words are a solid reality.”

With that kind of firm foundation for life... seeds of fear doesn't get room to germinate.

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