Month: January 2011
I heard someone advice someone else:
Do something uncomfortable every day.
It became part of my life philosophy. I am afraid to lose, like everybody else I presume, so I avoid situations in which I could lose. By doing that I’m also avoiding situations in which I could win.
When doing something uncomfortable, even when I lose, I get experience. When I lose by not doing I’m truly losing. I have this among my favorite quotes:
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
— Neale Donald Walsch
Today, I went completely out of my comfort zone. I was walking downtown Buenos Aires when I noticed a guy with two telescopes, both fixed with tape, both used a lot, with the following poster: “Watch the Moon for $1, two for $1.5.”
I watched the Moon, my wife watched it and then I did it. I waited for a lot of people to go by and I shouted: “Do you want to watch the Moon? I’m paying! Do you want to watch the Moon? I’m paying!”
Adults were kind of avoiding me, but kids were curious so I redirected my attention to them. “Hey, kid, do you want to watch the Moon?”. He nodded, so I directed him to the telescope. I noticed other families with kids watching nearby. “Come on!” I shouted to them signaling them to come. And they did.
There were 5 kids I was paying for. While they were watching a of new people formed to watch the Moon and pay for it by themselves. Suddenly the Moon was cool. One of the parents said to me “Thank you”. I left feeling two meters tall and made of steel. I was superman. This time I won, I kicked ass!
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And like most of the rest of the world, it’s a place full of small shops that is being invaded by huge chains from abroad. People complain about Walmart killing the neighborhood mini-market -almacen in spanish-. They said big shops are un-personal, hire the lowest wage people they can find and take all the money abroad.
That might be true, but I always liked big shops, and while Christmas-shopping recently I was reminded why. I don’t normally consume mainstream products. If a shop is carrying 5 different products of one kind, let’s say, 5 different calculators, they are not likely to carry the one I want (an HP with reverse polish notation of course). How many calculators does a shop need to carry to start having the one I want? Probably 40 or so, because it doesn’t sell much. The big international chain that carries 70 is likely to have it.
Now, one may imagine that there would be a small shop serving my niche, but there isn’t, because it’s not a very profitable niche. Every shop needs to carry the products that sell the most. Instead of having one shop with 70 calculators we have 14 shops, each with 5 calculators, exactly the same 5 models.