Thursday, March 26, 2009

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Not sure how long Border's been doing this, but found it refreshing that they at least tried implementing a recommendation tool in their stores.

Not sure if this is the best way to do it though. Any ideas how you'd make it better?

Front Men

Every boss has one guarding its office. These front desk guys are trained to act as terrible filters. They default to saying "No", since its much easier and is less risky. Kinda like baseball - they will swing only if there is a sure home-run, but most time they will give it a miss. No points lost for missing a shot. The boss is happy to make them do the dirty work. They are happier to believe that they are the de-facto boss. What a bunch of jerks!

Ever met front-desk people who assume by default that you are unimportant. They feel empowered that they have the right to say "NO". Rather than asking smart judging questions and hoping to say "YES", they continue to ask dumb questions and hope you get stuck in their filter. And they continue doing so for decades. And stay as clerks!

Same thing for a watchman manning parking spots, a cashier serving customers in a super-market or a plumber who just got asked for an additional piece of work than what was initially asked for. The NOs go on, productivity continues slipping and less and less work gets done!

Middle Men

We put a bid on a house recently, but it was rejected by the sellers who thought it was far lower that what the house deserved. The problem is, it didn't. The house is worth lower than what the sellers think it is. The recent sales data in the market says so. The disclosure documents of the house say so. But the sellers hallucinate about making far more from the house, even as the market slumps further.

Which brings us to the seller's agent. She acknowledges that the house is over-priced but the seller wouldn't listen. Put another way, she - "the expert" - who stands to make close to $30k from the house has not been successful in explaining to them that the most important element about the house is not set right. Neither does she have the wherewithal to opt out of the listing and give it a pass. What a terrible job to have? You are forced to do something that you know is doomed to fail, is not going to pay you and yet you cannot bring yourself to say no.

Seriously, Who are these agents serving? Not themselves, not her clients. They don't do anything special by way of marketing or staging the houses. No fancy documentation too. If all agents are the same and all they do is execute our our whims, why do we need them? We don't - until we reach a point where these middle men interview us and choose to reject us. Not much of a future here, is it?