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At Ganador our business revenue is generated from a few different sources; principally training (60%) and consulting (30%) and retail audits (including mystery shopping at 10%).

We are changing things around a bit and thought you may want to know.

We are currently a registered RTO with the Australian Government which allows us to do government sponsored training and issue TAFE-equivalent certificates.  This division (Ganador Business Academy) will be shut down.

Our ongoing training efforts will principally geared towards helping organisations with implementation issues they may be facing. This could be anything from direct coaching to extended workshops. Of course we remain deeply committed to learning & development and will continue to work with clients to develop or deliver retail-related training through to establishing their own In-house eLearning Academy – whatever it takes to get the results through people.

We are focusing on expanding our core offer on our consulting initiatives specifically on Retail Marketing. We want to increase this to 80% of our Revenue. This is what that means.  We will focus on retail destinations, wholesalers and brands as we always have, but are narrowing our focus on getting results on the retail front line with strong, innovative and relevant marketing initiatives.


Get our new eBook 101 uncomfortable truths about marketing you don’t want to know. (Some contrarian insights that can be discussed at your next marketing meeting.)

AND do check out our SHOP - we have added a selection of favourite books from Amazon to the page.


The problem with predicting tomorrow

  • ... is that in principle it does not look as different from, today as we think it will.
  • ... is that in practice it is not an extension of today’s technologies and  trends
  • … is that human beings are the ones doing the predicting
  • … is that we perceive it to be more influenced by today than by yesterday

Before I continue I should qualify what I am about to say with the observation that predictions and projections can of course be made – quite accurately too. It just depends on the ‘domain’ that the prediction lies in.

On the personal domain, I can predict very accurately how my wife would react if I did X. I can predict that the baby will cry if something happens or that I will be hungry if I go without food for a day or more.

On a natural domain we can predict that the sun will rise and at what time. We can predict what will happen to an orange if you squeeze it. Predicting climate change is another matter altogether.

The domain that I am referring to in this article is the domain that concerns business strategy, and that is the social, political and economic domain. These domains are complex systems with countless, unknowable interconnections and which defies are attempts at predicting any outcomes.

In these domains, predictions are by really quite worthless, practically and intellectually. And our attempts to continue to do so do not say much about how smart we think we are. The Law of Unintended Consequences has been proven so many times, but somehow we think we can beat it.


There are problems with predictions and this image illustrates vividly how we go about envisaging the future. It is almost always a modified version of what we know. (That is why science fiction writers have a pretty good strike rate - they are not obliged to base their vision in reality.)

Electric Scrubbing.png

This article from Harvard Business Review states it like this

To reinvent itself, an organization must first uncover its hidden context. Only when an organization is threatened, losing momentum, or eager to break new ground will it confront its past and begin to understand why it must break with its outmoded present. And only then will a company’s employees come to believe in a powerful new future, a future that may seem beyond the organization’s reach.

We agree. We call this the Retail Revolution and more of the same will get you … more of the same. And it is not about needlessly fiddling with the latest ideas and platforms, it is about progressively adapting to the environment we are in.

Let’s de-bunk some myths about predicting the future:

Point #1

Human hindsight is often “20-20" but it is beyond human mental limits to really know with much precision what tomorrow will bring. No palm reader, no fortune teller, no astrologer, no forecaster, not even an econometrician, can ever dispel the uncertainty of the future. Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, in Human Action, tells us:

If it were possible to calculate the future state of the market, the future would not be uncertain. There would be neither entrepreneurial loss nor profit. What people expect from the economists is beyond the power of any mortal man.

Read more

Point #2

This must be true because the contrary would completely negate the possibility of action. If man knew future events completely, he would never act, since no act of his could change the situation. Thus, the fact of action signifies that the future is uncertain to the actors.

This uncertainty about future events stems from two basic sources: the unpredictability of human acts of choice and insufficient knowledge about natural phenomena. Man does not know enough about natural phenomena to predict all their future developments, and he cannot know the content of future human choices

Read more: 

Point #3

As Ludwig von Mises used to point out to those who were tempted to succumb to the razzle- dazzle of economic forecasting: If someone were really able to forecast the economic future, he wouldn't be wasting his time putting out market letters or econometric models. He’d be busy making several trillion dollars forecasting the stock and commodity markets.

Read more: 

Point #4

I did this exercise and that you may want to try it:

Try find a forecaster who publishes an archive of their predictions – and then specifically one who made predictions 10 or more years ago about the world we live in today (say post 2010).

I could only find a newspaper article. (The forecasters themselves seem to be conspicuous in their absence. One would think that a forecasting firm that has been around for more than 10 years should have some track record that they would be proud to display?

Top 10 Forecasts 

December 12, 1989

The World Future Society's "Top 10 Forecasts" for the coming decade and beyond:

  1. Cash will become illegal in the future for all but very small monetary transactions.
  2. "Electronic immigrants"--people who telecommute via computers to work in another country--will be the new global workers of the future.
  3. Robots with human intelligence will be common within 50 years. (By 2040)
  4. Physical restraints such as prisons will become unnecessary in the future with the availability and widespread use of electrical and chemical implants that will allow 24-hour-a-day control of individuals' behavior.
  5. Future furniture will be "smarter," able to communicate with householders and move about the home.
  6. The greenhouse effect may cause Canada's population to surpass that of the United States as U.S. citizens emigrate to warmed-up areas of Canada, attracted by favorable living and working conditions.
  7. Replacing defective genes with healthy substitutes will be a common medical practice by the first decade of the 21st Century. (By 2010)
  8. "Smart" cars with built-in computers will integrate navigation systems with collision-avoidance systems and controls that adjust the speed of the car of the distance and speed of the vehicle being followed. Eventually, automatic chauffeuring systems will be added that will do all the driving.
  9. There will be an increase in two-generation geriatric families during the 1990s--adult children in their 60s and 70s caring for parents in their 90s. This could lead to changes in everything from redesigned houses to slowed-down traffic lights.
  10. Future gardens will have artificial plants that can be programmed to change colors--or even species--with the seasons.

The funny thing is, these ‘futurists’ are not averse to charging like wounded bulls.

Futurists Charge.png

If you really want to change your mind about how you view the future, check out Antifragile.

It is well worth the read.


Strategy is not what you thought it is. This article is a fascinating case study of what went wrong at Michael Porter’s consulting firm. (In case you did not know, Porter is the guy that came up with the Five Forces Model for strategic planning.) And it anyone was going to get strategic planning right, a professor with a PhD from Harvard who wrote the book on strategy surely would?

Alas, he didn’t. (Read it) 

I am not suggesting that we should remain ignorant of trends. I wrote just a few weeks ago about this ‘trend’ that is inexorably changing our world. It is a recurring cycle, so it is somewhat different.)

When we consider ‘trends’ we must understand that the underlying assumption of every trend is : ceteris paribus. That is, all things being equal.

You and I know that nothing stays the same, so every trend prediction is therefore logically, intrinsically flawed.

  • But if you are curious, here are a few  2013 Trends currently being forecasted. (With such a short timeframe they may not be particularly useful, but they are more likely to be right.)
  • And here are a few more.


Long before he became popular, we have incorporated the work of Robert Cialdini in our training. We have thought about it long and hard, we experimented it in various programs and have over the years fine-tuned our retail sales training to be practical and easy – yet to incorporate the principles that he describes here in a natural sales conversation. We call it Sell$mart.

Persuasion by Cialdini



Here is a site that links to great free online education resources, including Finance, Philosophy, Psychology and many others.


You will find inspiration here. I am pretty confident you will even share some of these videos on your private Facebook. Here is one to give you a flavour… and check out all the videos here.

Another of my favourite sites is OpenCulture. They recently published a Best of 2012 – on all things free (books, film, art etc) which might be useful if you have New Year’s resolutions relating to personal development. 


  1. A different to Do list based on President Eisenhower’s productivity principles/
  2. Learning from a pick-pocket’
  3. A touch of humour (below)

During the wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the pastor with an unusual offer:
“Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I’m supposed to promise to ‘love, honour and obey and ‘be faithful to her forever,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave that out.”

He passed the minister a $100 bill and walked away satisfied. On the day of the wedding, when it came time for the groom’s vows, the pastor looked the young man in the eye and said:

“Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?”

The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, “Yes,” then leaned toward the pastor and hissed: “I thought we had a deal.”
The pastor put a $100 bill into the groom’s hand and whispered: “She made me a better offer.”

(From Facebook – where else.

The Winners' Circle

Ganador (Winner in Spanish) publishes a newsletter from time to time - Winners' Circle.

Subscribe to our Newsletter (box in the sidebar) and you will receive notice when we publish an issue.


  • Your email is never used for any other purpose than to notify you of a new issue.
  • We publish irregularly - only when we have worth content - but approximately once every 6-10 weeks.

Scroll down below to see examples of the type of content we curate. Topics of interest are:

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  • Sales & Persuasion
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Ganador Blog is about #thinkdifferent. We cover topic of business- and personal development aimed at entrepreneurial marketers. (c)Applies. Posts authored by Dr Dennis Price.



As we approach the festive season and retailers are getting busier we get a bit quieter - and have a welcome opportunity to take a breath.

Most recently we have launched Pop UP University... if you haven't done so, check it out.

And of course in addition to some exciting new initiatives with the newsagency channel, we have also secured the distribution rights to a Learning Management System and a Knowledge Management Platform. Our first client has launched and we are ready to take on the World. (Are you?)

This year was the first time we did not get the time & opportunity to do PRO BONO work (example) as we normally do. So we are going to sneak this offer in on our last proper newsletter for the year.

If you are a reader who owns a business that needs ANY kind of help. Moonyeen and I will give you a whole day for free. We will do whatever it is you needed done. We'll mind the shop, pack the shelves, consult, train - whatever you want us to do. There is no charge (i.e. pro bono) except if we have to travel beyond Sydney. First cab off the rank gets it... all you have to do is EMAIL ME.

This is our way of saying thank you to the industry that sustains us.



The article that follows could literally be worth millions of dollars to you. But it is going to require some effort.

What if I could tell you reliably how the next 20 years will pan out for you? 

  • What if I could tell you what it will take to be successful?
  • What if I could tell you what will be frustrating you in the next 20 years?

I can’t really. But if I stand on the shoulders of giants, I can give you a glimpse. 

The giants are Roy Williams and Michael Drew. If you are serious about business and success and life – get the book yourself. (See Amazon link below). In particular, find Roy Williams (The Wizard of Ads) online and read his newsletter.

There is a very insightful book on the market titled Pendulum (Williams & Drew, 2012). I don’t suspect it is going to be piled up at the entrance to Dymocks any time soon – but it is an important work – and this is no exaggeration; it could be difference between success and failure in your business and your life.

Like any type of research and particularly research of such a meta nature you will find many exceptions and you may find reasons to disagree. I will mention a few examples – and I am sure you will find many examples that will illustrate the opposite. The question is whether, on balance, the findings and interpretations are correct. When you are considering the behaviour of Society as a whole, you are bound to discard significant deviations from that norm, but that does not invalidate the norm.

As a marketer and as an entrepreneur you may even choose to find those contrarian niches – which is a good thing – but you cannot do that without understanding how the ‘mainstream’ flows.

I am painting a delicate portrait with a roller brush – you will be better off to buy the book. But I feel compelled to try anyway, so here goes:

There are social patterns that exist. The cycle of these patterns are 80 years, which are divided into 4 equal 20 year quarters. The two peaks of cycle are the polar opposites where we get a ME- Society and a WE-Society.

Western society is currently experiencing the upswing towards the peak of the WE Society. (Interestingly, the Asian cycle appears out of sync with the Western cycle – China shows evidence of entering a ME cycle with and what happens to Australia will be really interesting to see. Will we synchronise with Asia? Will we stay in tune with the West?)


The pendulum metaphor is apt as there are two distinct peaks in the rhythm of society – and they are polar opposites. (Remembering that there will always be instances of ANY type of behaviour in ANY era, we are focussing on the simple majority or predominance of certain types of behaviours, trends and factors.)

The value drivers of the respective era are:


The reason the pendulum swings back from each 'peak' is because we take things too far. The good and the beautiful of each era becomes nasty and oppressive when taken to the extreme. Even too much love can become an obsession...

In the table below you will see how the positive values of each era turn nasty at the point ends.

These four phases of the pendulum can be roughly labeled as per this table:


The next 10 years (2013 – 2023) will take us towards the peak of the WE generation. It is no surprise that ‘social media’ is the driving force that it is because that technology has found fertile soil in the collective societal mindset.

If you want to understand what is going to drive social norms and popular culture over the next 10 years, then find the defining moments and attributes of 1933-1943 - the last time the pendulum was on the upswing towards the WE era.

If we turn back the clock 80 years we will find the defining technology in the US was radio. Vacuum tubes in the early 20’s led to a proliferation of radio sets being sold and radio stations mushroomed in the late 20s and early thirties – paving the way for the mass communications – much like early chatrooms gave way to social media in the current upswing to a new collective ‘WE’.

The last upswing era (20s-40s) were of course influenced by two world wars, which make it somewhat unique. 


There are several highlights of the Australian history that supports the thesis of these cyclical shifts. (I have dipped into Wikipedia more out curiosity than attempting to be definitively accurate, but Australia does seem to follow the US cycle of the pendulum too.)

If you consider the mid 30s to mid 40s the equivalent period in history, then there are quite a few major events and decisions that seem to support the thesis.

At the 1937 elections, both political parties advocated increased defence spending – the arguments being that it was for the common good. A the same time a recruiting campaign in late 1938, led by Major-General Thomas Blamey increased the reserve militia to almost 80,000 when there were only 3000 regular members of the Defence Force. 

Much of what is currently seen as being a defining Australian characteristic – the ANZAC spirit - is a positive that emerged from this WE era.

In January 1942, the Manpower Directorate was set up "to ensure the organisation of Australians in the best possible way to meet all defence requirements. Minister for War Organisation of Industry, John Dedman introduced a degree of austerity and government control previously unknown, to such an extent that he was nicknamed "the man who killed Father Christmas." In May 1942 uniform tax laws were introduced in Australia, as state governments relinquished their control over income taxation.

All of these are prime examples of where individual freedom and needs are suppressed and even sacrificed for the ‘common good’ which defines the WE era.

Immigration was initially introduced to protect the collective: In 1945, Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell wrote “If the experience of the Pacific War has taught us one thing, it surely is that seven million Australians cannot hold three million square miles of this earth’s surface indefinitely."

As luck would have it, the migration numbers swelled in conjunction with the swing away from ‘WE’ to ‘ME’. During this downswing (with the renewed emphasis on the individual and personal freedoms) the foundation was laid for Australia’s highly regarded tolerance for individual differences and acceptance of diversity.

(The current debate about boat people being denied access is exactly to be expected as we move towards an era where our identity will largely be defined by our membership of a particular group.)

The Vietnam War coincided with the downswing from the ‘WE’. Authority was questioned. Previously unquestioned alliances with the US were questioned. Despite Holt’s sentiments and his government’s electoral success in 1966, the war became unpopular in Australia, as it did in the United States. The movements to end Australia’s involvement gathered strength after the Tet Offensive of early 1968 and compulsory national service (selected by ballot) became increasingly unpopular too.

Suddenly the ‘WE’ wasn’t such a compelling cause any more.

In the lead up to the ME (1960s) about 60% of Australian manufacturing was protected by tariffs. Pressure from business interests and the union movement ensured these remained high. Historian Geoffrey Bolton suggests that this high tariff protection of the 1960s caused some industries to “lapse into lethargy,” neglecting research and development and the search for new markets. Getting rid of those protectionist measures was liberal and progressive – very much in tune with the idea of ‘freedom’.  Of course the defining behaviours of the 60s were the hippy revolution and free love - typical ME values.

In 1983 Hawke and Keating abandoned traditional Labor support for tariffs to protect industry and jobs. They moved to deregulate Australia’s financial system and ‘floated’ the Australian dollar. In 1987 the defining movie of this generation was Wall Street in which Michael Douglas famously quipped: Greed is Good.

Movies like Rambo, Rocky and the Chuck Norris genre was all about Lone Rangers conquering the world against all the odds. The #1 song for 1983 was Every Breath You Take by The Police. The theme of individuality in the song is powerful indicator enough, but the fact that a Pop Band could call themselves 'The Police' shows how far society had moved away from the respecting authority.

If you believe that pop culture reflects society – then consider the extreme individualism and excesses of Kiss and The Village People.

Today, as we head into the WE – Rambo has made room for the Expendables where all yesterdays heroes have seen the light and joined forces in a cozy collective.


Right now we are heading into the upswing towards WE. Remembering that at its peak the WE era will be self-righteous witch-hunting of all those non conformists.

John Steinbeck once observed that nothing good was created by collaboration: music, art, writing, poetry, mathematics and philosophy are all endeavours where the genius of one is apparent. That is not to say that individuals don’t work with other people or even rely on other people – obviously we all do – but even in the best band there is always a leader, the resident genius around which all revolves and who is the creative force. Usually when there is more than one, the band splits up.

This runs counter to the current, universal, love affair with all things 'social' and all things 'crowd'.

Right now the world believes: I am OK, you are not OK. (And they seem hell-bent on converting all to their religion.)

Hitler was the poster child for the pinnacle of this obsession to make all conform to the ‘group’. And if you think that is a coincidence, trawl through history and the same spot in the cycle also contains McCarthyism, American Civil War, Robespierre’s Reign of Terror, Salem Witch Trials – to mention a few. 


Here are broad-brush scenarios/value systems that are likely to play out and dominate our lives:

  1. Giving up privacy for the common good
  2. Crowd-sourced news: Twitter
  3. If you want it to be private you have something to hide
  4. Your reputation is your capital
  5. There won’t be an economic spike – the recession lingers
  6. The positive is the purging of corrupt officials/ politicians etc. (Weiner, Gingrich, Belusconi, News of the World)
  7. The negative is that we will see witch hunts return (Alan Jones anyone?)
  8. Intellectual Property is not valued because it is too 'individual'. (Besides with 3D printing, who is going to control who copies what?)
  9. The 99% will rule. (It is not really 99% - in fact it is a large minority group of disaffected populists, but we won’t let that stand in the way of truth.)
  10. A new class system will emerge where there are no geographic boundaries – but groups who identify with each other and their situations (and status) will group together. The same may go for religious groups.


Read this and weep I

IT’S NOT the first time that everyday people all over the world have decided to reclaim the streets, and it surely won’t be the last. In the face of discontent and apathy about politics – in response to the democratic deficit between citizens, politicians and financial markets – citizens will always look for better alternatives to the existing political structure.

Global Noise is about making ourselves heard. In a democracy, the government should be by the people and for the people. The reality is that we are asked to cast a vote once every three years, watch our elected representatives change all their policies and just shut up. The world is facing a great variety of issues that perpetuate conflict, poverty and political apathy. We must identify those issues and propose alternatives. I think the three main areas that need to be addressed are democracy, economics and rights.

Read this and weep II

This is the story of how ONE reader sent Victoria’s Secret scurrying for cover.

But because one person was particularly offended by this particular item, and found a ready echo chamber at a web site dedicated to issues relating to race, and then the  online ‘news’ sites like Huffington Post and The Daily Mail reported it as a controversy, the product disappeared from Victoria Secret’s site.

That’s not evidence of peer-to-peer collaboration or effecting meaningful change in the world, is it?

Most brands are realizing that there’s someone out in the ethersphere who will be offended by something it does. Online tech gives everyone a soapbox (again, I’m all for it) and makes anyone a potential rabble-rouser. And then it stops…right there…since very few people are actually equipped to propose real things, inspired to lead one another, or willing to take the time and effort effecting real change takes.

Still, so much marketing gets away with selling us impossible ideals of beauty, happiness, and success, even in 2012.

Corporations and governments should be scared shitless of the day when we of the huddled masses figure out that we can use the Internet to change the things they offer us.

These words are going to prove prophetic indeed. And all people (not only early adopters) will eventually realise the power they have.

Whilst we recognise in principle that power is being returned to the people – the wildcard in all of this is technology. It will amplify the trends and consequently the potential to do good and the potential to do harm. In our 30s-40s mirror period, the (radio) technology was controlled centrally but that does not apply any more.


In the spirit of fighting against the dreadful conformity and groupthink that we all are going to have to live through, take heart from this heart-warming story. (From failure to Nobel prize.)

And as you struggle to achieve – to realise your own brand of personal brilliance, remember that success requires … Serendipity

Seth Godin is always good fun and this is an intimate talk On Books, Business and Life.


Cool #1

This is a very cool eCommerce site. In fact, it is kinda ugly, and it breaks all the rules – but it is different – and in this issue we are celebrating differences.

Cool #2

One certainty as far as marketing goes is the idea of storytelling. (Hence the emphasis you will see on content and curation.) Of course if one picture is worth a thousand words, then it explains why Instagram is such a success. Here are some great examples.

Cool #3

Always good value for marketers is trendwatching. Of the 12 trends listed, you may want to rethink them in the context of the ‘meta-trend’ of our feature article.

Cool #4

Google themselves produce really good content. And I am not suggesting everyone revolts against the inexorable draw of WE. Thanks to the openness of the web, consumers are taking control of the brands they love. But although the rules of the game have changed, smart brands are embracing digital to create their most responsive, innovative, and efficient campaigns ever. This is how they’re doing it.

Cool #5

What to do about showrooming? This article contains a few nice links and is a good starting point.

Are supermarkets in the DECLINE phase of the lifecycle?

Mark Heckman, Principal, Mark Heckman Consulting thinks so. He writes:

The trend is clear. The growth in the U.S. grocery sector today is not found in traditional supermarket formats but rather with specialty stores such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Fresh Market. There are further signs of life on the other end of the spectrum as there is also growth opportunities for smartly located "price" oriented stores, especially the smaller, quick in-and-out formats including Aldi and Save-A-Lot.

But it has been a proverbial month of Sundays (aka, a very long time) since the days of traditional supermarket chains had dozens of new stores in their capital expenditure plans. Today, after another tough year of "comp sales," press releases focus more on updating existing facilities, consolidating and the ever-euphemistic "right sizing" of the number traditional grocery stores.

I see three prevailing reasons for this dearth of growth:

The sluggish economy has slowed residential growth and consequently the opportunity for new shopping centers and emerging business locations that have traditionally been fertile ground for supermarket expansion.

Competition and complacency are killing traditional stores. In medical terms, the autopsy of the traditional supermarket will read something like this: "Death due to over-exposure, and multiple lacerations from savvy competitors over an extended period of time." Their outside specialty competitors mentioned above are good at what they do and they have figured out how to profitably propagate their formats and brands nationally.

The product life cycle of traditional supermarkets is close to its end. For more than sixty years, this format has carried the load for grocery selling in the U.S. Current trends indicate that there is little doubt that the traditional supermarket needs a radical reformation, or they will go the way of the drive-in theater and the eight-track tape player. It should be no surprise to anyone. Incredibly, these stores are designed for shoppers that no longer represent critical mass. The whole concept of grabbing a cart and a shopping list and spending 45 minutes to an hour shopping for food is already a rare and dwindling behavior.


Breaking bad habits

Power of Introverts

Common Sense is not common – but it can be learned. For good introduction ot understanding what commons sense actually is, read this.

And then, just for fun.

An Ode to Common Sense (FB Status Update – Author Unknown.)

Obituary printed in the London Times

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense ,who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;

- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a
student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Psychology of everything

David & Goliath

Malcolm Galdwell is smart, erudite and has a knack for picking really interesting topics by making science accessible to the layman. (He popularised the term ‘tipping point’ in case you didn’t know. His latest article explores how and when the ‘little guy’ can win against the odds. Fascinating stuff. Especially if you are little. David beats Goliath


Cool #6

The 101 Most Useful Websites of 2012. This should keep you occupied for a while.

Cool #7

And then to top it all: A collection of the best time-saving apps, tools, and widgets from around the web.

Cool #8

Have you ever wondered what it looks like inside Google? Check out this link for a gallery of images that pulls back the curtain.

Cool #9

Do you want to know what time it is? Simple website – great design and eminently useful.


Cool #10

Here is a list of almost 400 free eBooks for your iPad/Kindle. Thank me later.

Cool #11

And if you are looking to get a bit smarter, go here for free online course that rock. Thank me later.


(HT to Fred D)

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.

Small variations in the environment (which can't be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don't get frustrated and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time. They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project: amazing results!

No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. 
Very few customer complaint and they were gaining market share.

That's some money well spent, he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report. 

It turns out the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use. It should've been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report.

He filed a bug against it, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren't picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory, and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed.

A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes off the belt and into a bin.

Oh, that, says one of the workers, one of the guys put it there because he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang.

What a way to spend $8m for an outcome of $20 that solves the problem!!!!!!!!


We ask ourselves why we do this, and the answer is... because you are worth it. ENJOY!


We wanted to share with you the launch of PopUp_U. It is a brand new initiative and something that we think is long overdue.
  • Do you qualify?
  • Do you need it?

There are ONLY 4 planned sessions for the next year, so check it out now.


  • We have all see the video about Tesco on the Korean subway. Here is a different, interesting example of virtual shopping – this time from Canada.
  • Have you ever thought why people like Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods still retained their ‘brand value’ despite their - uhm – ‘transgressions’? It is called moral decoupling –and well worth a read.
  • It is my great pleasure to bring you the best digital campaigns ever…all in one site. You will have to finish the newsletter first, because you are not coming back. Really creative stuff.


  • Myspace is making a comeback. Funny thing is, I wrote this blog about the prodigal shopper and inserted a MySpace reference instead of a Facebook reference. I was only half-joking. I think it will come back and I do think Facebook will decline.
  • You don’t have to register to download, and Deloitte is offering a report commissioned by Optus on the future of digital business. Given the source, it is no surprise that mobility is the NBT (next big thing) but there are other interesting bits to the report too.
  • Social media specifically and the internet generally has potential to harm brands greatly. This one is called Amplicate – and this is an example of how Ikea is being trashed. I wonder if they know it?
  • Have you ever wished you could have invested in Microsoft or Dell? (I won’t mention Facebook just at the minute.) This site gives you the opportunity to invest in the next Ben & Jerrys. An interesting experiment. Will you invest?
  • Mike Wyatt writes for Forbes and he lists 25 websites for CEOs. It is a good place to start if you are looking for a few quality ones.


Watch the The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking - Interview with Edward Burger – on video. It’s a fascinating topic.

One is not always one… this one will make you think,

One of my favourite authors and researchers – and I use some of his work in our sales training for instance) is Dan Ariely. This one is an RSA animation (pretty good) called: The truth about dishonesty.


  • I did NOT know this – and I reckon not to many people do. But if you research a complex topic on Wikipedia and you don’t understand it, you can get a ‘simple version’ of that page by employing this one shortcut. Read it here.
  • Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the technological changes – particularly on the internet? Here is a site where you can get an endless number of videos on almost every topic on everys aspect of the net – from raising money to understanding Twitter.

What I am thinking about #1?

Are you smart enough? The correct answer is: NO ONE is ever smart enough. Of course that includes me and I imagine you to.

One of the great conundrums of success is that one must know what you don’t know. How do go about solving that?

Simple really:

1. Just assume that you are not smart enough.

2. Surround yourself with smart people.

3. Put in place systems and processes that will constantly challenge you.

One – takes humility.

Two – takes courage.

Three – takes discipline.

And all of the above assume an open-mindedness that may or may not exist.

What I am thinking about #2?

Why was I delighted when a whole table of attendees at one of my speaking engagements left a presentation in a huff?

Recently, I was speaking at an event. One retailer had bought out a whole table presumably as a treat for the staff of that particular store.

This particular retailer took umbrage about an incidental observation I made about NOT up-selling. (There is a distinct difference between up-selling and cross-selling.) She was not prepared to explore my point-of-view and she was not prepared to entertain a view contrary to hers.

At the end of the presentation, in what I consider to be a show of defiance, she led the whole table out in unity when everyone else hung back.

As a speaker/trainer I am delighted: I am smart enough to know I am not going to always be ‘right’. And if you engage with me, and disagree with me I am delighted. I am not there to entertain. I am there to help people make smarter decisions. And if my research is inadequate, my experience irrelevant and my views are wrong – according to you – I am happy for you to take the opposite view; as long as you have thought about it.

As a marketer I am delighted: any reaction is better than no reaction at all


Hope you enjoyed this issue of Winners’ Circle. I take about 6-8 weeks to slowly collect and curate interesting content for you. Then I spend another two days or so putting it all together. It takes you about 2 minutes to scan thought I – and maybe deep dive into the one thing that interests you.

What you could do for us…

Nothing: It’s OK. Most people do that. We do it because we like it and want to help, not to get something in return.

  • You can take some content and share it in your own newsletter or blog.
  • You can like Ganador
  • You can like the Academy
  • You can pass this on to a friend (links at the bottom of the post.)
  • You can tweet it. (Links below)
  • You can connect on Linked In and Foursquare and Twitter (see the buttons on the left hand side of the screen?)


A businessman met a beautiful girl and agreed to spend the night with her for $500. They did their thing, and, before he left, he told her that he did not have any cash with him, but he would have his secretary write a cheque and mail it to her, calling the payment "RENT FOR APARTMENT "

On the way to the office in the morning, he regretted what he had done, realizing that the whole event had not been worth the price. So he had his secretary send a cheque for $250 and enclose the following typed note:

"Dear Madam:

Enclosed find a cheque for $250 for rent of your apartment. I am not sending the amount agreed upon, because when I rented the place, I was under the impression that:

1 - it had never been occupied;
2 - there was plenty of heat; and
3 - it was small enough to make me feel cosy and at home.

However, I found out that it had been previously occupied, that there wasn't any heat, and that it was entirely too large."

Upon receipt of the note, the girl immediately returned the cheque for$250 with the following note:

"Dear Sir:
First, I cannot understand how you could expect a beautiful apartment to remain unoccupied indefinitely.As for the heat, there is plenty of it, if you know how to turn it on.

Regarding the space, the apartment is indeed of regular size, but if you don't have enough furniture to fill it, please do not blame the management.

Please send the rent in full or we will be forced to contact your present Landlady. ''

Ganador Blog is about #thinkdifferent. We cover topic of business- and personal development aimed at entrepreneurial marketers. (c)Applies. Posts authored by Dr Dennis Price.




Today we always talk about the Customer Experience as being different to old-fashioned ‘Customer Service’.

Recently I went back to some of the training materials we used in 1995 – to see if it is really different. The content below was copied out of various parts of our training manuals back then. I am sharing some of that content with you here because:

  • A great customer experience is predicated on good customer service
  • Just because we say that customer experience is the ‘new black’, does not mean we have the old-fashioned service nailed.
  • The basics are applicable and some readers may find it useful to consider whether we have really mastered customer service.

The paragraphs that follow are written in such a way that you can easily copy and paste - and use it to put up on the staff notice board or use it in other communications. I don't believe it needs any explanation... 

Rate yourself: Winner or Loser?


What are the symptoms?

  • Low/declining turnover
  • Few repeat customers
  • Customer complaints
  • Customer returns (credits)
  • Queues
  • Excess/shortage of stock
  • Bad debt
  • Negative word of mouth
  • Too frequent sales

Most common cause of complaints?

  • Poor quality products
  • Damaged products
  • Incorrect products
  • Insufficient selection
  • Disposition of staff
  • Incompetence
  • Dishonesty
  • Selling methods

A lesson

How to handle customer complaints...

  • Be pleasant
  • Be business like - do not diminish the customer's problem
  • Apologise & assure the customer
  • Ask/encourage the customer to talk
  • Listen (do not interrupt, do not argue)
  • Show a desire to please
  • Ask the customer for suggestions
  • Take action
  • Thank the customer
  • Fix the system


The Goal:   Shared Values

The goal of any managerial action should be to build a 'tradition' of customer service; so much so that quality customer service becomes ingrained in the fabric of your organisation.

Step 1:   Staff

Employ the right staff, and half the battle is won.  Some people are just more customer orientated and it is worthwhile paying more to have such people or your staff.

Step 2:   Structure

Organise the people in an appropriate structure (especially large organisations) and make sure that everybody knows who their customers (internal or external) are.

Step 3:   Strategy

Your organisation should have a clearly formulated plan (strategy) for winning and keeping customers.

Step 4:   Style

Your management style is of critical importance.  The way your staff are treated will influence the way they treat the customers.

Step 5:   Skills

Staff (and management) must acquire the necessary skills in all aspects of the business, but especially those skills which impact on customer service such as Retail Selling, Complaints Handling and Product Knowledge.  It is hard to change people's attutudes but easy to give them skills.   Once they know how to do something, their attitude often changes as well.

Step 6:   Systems

Management must build systems such as standard procedures, policies etc. that will ensure good customer service.   Every complaint should not turn into a crisis.   Systems should ensure that poor customer service is PREVENTED.   [Prevention costs are always less than Failure costs.]

Stepping out of the past, read this article by McKinsey to get a handle on how they currently think about the notion of customer engagement.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, here is my presentation on the Customer Experience.

Here is the thing though; creating a customer service culture is not a one-day training program, it is an ongoing challenge. In order to meet those challenges you need systems and tools.

Here is one such tool.

We represent Bloomfire in Australia – so check out some more here, and/or give us a yell and we’ll come running…


Here is a great presentation that highlights some of the changes (and challenges) that are facing the fashion industry. They identify 6 trends, but read the whole thing (with pics and videos) to get a full picture. The online/offline blend is particularly relevant.

  1. The reinvention of runway shows
  2. Crowdsourcing and curation
  3. Mixing online and offline
  4. Shop from anywhere
  5. Tablets and mobile
  6. Video

The folks at PFSK always do a good job of trend hunting and there presentations are pretty cool too.

Future of Retail by Ogilvy. A different take - and some interesting observations here:

What is the difference between Price and Value?

Customers will pay more for less – and there is research to prove it. (Maybe we don’t have to keep discounting.)


  • This 5-minute profiler survey will uncover how well positioned your company is for organic growth and will offer suggestions on how you can improve.
  • Have you heard of motivational synchronicity? Read how it determines your corporate culture.


Questions No One Knows the Answers to

Or, how to waste two days of your life. But then again, you may just learn something...
The following link may get you in serious trouble :)

The site contains a documentary series (30 episodes, each 45 minutes long) but there is some really good stuff there. (I haven’t worked my way through all of it.) I suspect you too will have to bookmark and revisit. Or take on holiday with you. I hear it is raining in Bali anyway…

Connections explores an Alternative View of Change (the subtitle of the series) that rejects the conventional linear and teleological view of historical progress. Burke contends that one cannot consider the development of any particular piece of the modern world in isolation. (HT Steve Sammartino)

Goals & Objectives... Really?

When I tell people the way they do strategic planning is ineffective, I get funny looks. When I tell people that I don’t believe in setting objectives, they shake their head. But what was once a contrarian view is slowly becoming popular. Stephen Fry shares his ‘life lessons’ below.

In particular, if you navigate to the 8:00 mark, and here him articulate an insight that I have also only come to relatively recently. I call it humility, he calls effacement. And then makes it really simple: stop talking about yourself. 


I will brag for a moment. I have a perpetually clean inbox - in both my email accounts. I do it without any tools – except maybe discipline. But different strokes for different folks, and if you think you may need help with managing your time and your email, here are a few tools that you can check out.


The rubber band illusion:

This is just a bit of fun, but it is actually part of our training (sell$mart) where we teach people to think differently about the psychology of selling.


If you seriously want to waste some time – maybe this is how you do it.


Hope you enjoyed this issue of Winners’ Circle. I take about 6-8 weeks to slowly collect and curate interesting content for you. Then I spend another two days or so putting it all together. It takes you about 2 minutes to scan thought I – and maybe deep dive into the one thing that interests you.

What you could do for us…

  1. Nothing: It’s ok. Most people do that. We do it because we like it and want to help, not to get something in return.
  2. You can take some content and share it in your own newsletter or blog.
  3. You can comment right here, below, or LIKE this page...
  4. You can like Ganador on Facebook
  5. You can like the Academy on Facebook
  6. You can pass this on to a friend (&tell them to sign up)
  7. You can tweet it. (Share links elsewhere on page.)
  8. You can connect on Linked In and Foursquare and Twitter (see the buttons on the left hand side of the screen?)


  • Do any one of 2-8 above
  • For the first 20 people to send me an email (and I will reply to all of them) to tell me so. (And I won't check :) - I will send you the link and password to a Visual Merchandising eCourse (Valued at $69) FOR FREE. (You can check out the CONTENT here.)

Ganador Blog is about #thinkdifferent. We cover topic of business- and personal development aimed at entrepreneurial marketers. (c)Applies. Posts authored by Dr Dennis Price.


Origins of Species was published in 1859, 28 years after Darwin first boarded HMS Beagle; James Joyce spent seventeen years writing Finnegans Wake; and of course WD40 refers to the fact that the preceding 39 formulations all failed - before the fortieth one finally worked.
There seems to be a strong undercurrent of 'success and failure' running through all editions of the Winners' Circle. That is what we are all pursuing - and whatever part we can play in your success is our privilege. This edition is, as usual, packed so let's get cracking.

 Feature Article: Positioning

I must make an up-front declaration here:
I have unilaterally tweaked the definitions/ concepts discussed below to make sense of them all. You won’t necessarily find equivalent definitions anywhere – and that is actually point. Most marketers use these concepts any way they like – and often interchangeably.  Not even good marketing textbooks devote any time to explaining the relationships and linkages between these concepts.
As always, definitions and clarity of concept is only relevant to the extent that it contributes towards understanding and better communication. As long as you use it the same way all the time and people understand what you mean and there is no ambivalence, then any definition will do.
To explain the difference between so many confusing and overlapping concepts in marketing, consider this hypothetical scenario: You run a retail store that sells directly imported homeware.
There are many competitors – from the dollar shops, to the big furniture retailers.
How do you find a niche, communicate that to your customers in such a way that you have a sustainable business?
A basic understanding of the various (related) marketing concepts has practical benefit.
We know that successful brands are successful businesses, but because we do not appreciate the difference and the linkages between the various concepts, we fail to build good brands. (Colours, names and logos come should come last, but usually that is where businesses start.)
#1: What is Point-of-Difference?
  • Point-of-Difference describes how you differ from your competition. It is synonymous with Competitive Advantage.
  • Your POD usually emerges as part of the process of evaluating your business using the SWOT framework.
  • Your USP is not your POD.
  • Your POD leads to your Positioning. 
A POD could easily be strategic, logistical or even internal differences. Your POD provides you with a competitive edge. You must find out what your POD is – and then how you leverage that into a consumer advantage.
For example: In our hypothetical example we have identified the POD as ‘access to overseas markets’. This competitive advantage allows you to position yourself as a low cost provider OR position yourself as being able to supply a different range or you could position yourself as quicker/easier/saver of time etc.
#2: What is Positioning? 

Positioning is how you want your customer to think of you. (Your ‘position’ is the space you occupy in the mind of the customer.)
  • Positioning is not point of difference; it is not your USP or your value proposition.
  • Positioning is what marketers do in order to get their customer to think of the product.
For example: 
Consider how the following products have ‘positioned’ themselves:
  • The go to place for… birthday cards
  • The drink to get if you are thirsty and hungry
  • The car to buy if you like driving
In order to conduct a positioning exercise, we usually recommend it is done on a two-dimensional matrix. 

One axis of your positioning matrix (or perceptual map) is PRICE. The other must be decided. Both axes are scaled from LOW – HIGH (not indicated on the matrix) in the usual way.
How you arrive at that particular decision is a result of your strategic thinking and marketing analysis. (Read the definitions below to see the inter-relationships.)
The yellow dot represents your retail store and the other red dots the competition.
The acid test of a positioning exercise is this: Unless you have some ‘white space’ between you and the competition, you are swimming in shark-infested seas and the blood in the water will turn the blue ocean red.
For Example:
In the graphic above, we selected ‘ease of doing business’ as the positioning attribute based on our Point of Difference; but there are several options to choose from.
Selecting the right positioning attribute is the KEY STRATEGIC decision you make in your marketing. 
This post contains further explanation and some more practical examples – including an explanation of why Apple’s success can be attributed to clever positioning.
#3 What is Proposition?

Proposition is the overlap and combination of the Product X Price x Brand.
Your Product x Price is your OFFER.
Value Proposition is tautological concept – because a proposition always contains a value (price) component. 

Every business has a proposition; and that is essentially a description of the business model. The strategic question a business must ask itself is whether there is a market for its proposition. This is the reason why you formulate your proposition.
In this example, the business owner must ask itself:
Is there a market of people who want to buy value homewares easily, without hassle? (Or is that wishful thinking?)
#4. What is Unique Selling Proposition?

USP is also a redundant concept. A proposition is always made/ offered/ presented to the market, so it is by design ‘for sale’ so calling it a selling proposition is unnecessary. It’s a bit like saying you have a four-wheeled car.
The fact that your proposition must be ‘unique’ is essentially unattainable in the new economy where consumers are globally connected. Any advantage from a ‘sales’ proposition perspective is temporary at best.
Your POD, on the other hand, is something that differentiates you from the competition and allows you to gain a competitive advantage which can be leveraged into a unique (free from competition) position.
Any proposition is potentially unique anyway if you consider that a proposition incorporates your brand – which is hopefully unique.
USP is simply how you would describe your positioning statement to a customer. Whenever you do this, you will verge on pushy selling – so use with caution.
Your BRAND PROMISE should be executed in such a way that you don’t need to push a USP down any customer’s throat anyway.
Inter-relationship between all these concepts is explained in this graphic below.

To Summarise

In our hypothetical example, this retailer created the following typology of marketing concepts:
  • Product >>> Homewares
  • Brand Essence >>> Australian, Local, Friendly (Laid-back, Aussie style)
  • Prices >>> Below Market 
  • Offer >>> Value Homeware
  • Proposition >>> Hassle-free, Value Homewares
  • Positioning statement >>> The Easy Option
  • USP >>> No worries
You will now be able to create a brand that is different, sustainable and effective.

Now you have created the framework to develop your BRAND. The brand should reflect and communicate these strategic marketing decisions:
  • Brand Essence can allow you describe the brand attributes.
  • Positioning can be translated into a Tagline: ‘Nothing is too much trouble at AussieStyle’. (A tag line or a strap line is a consumer –friendly expression of how you want consumers to think of you and that is why advertising agencies like to use it in the communications.)
You don’t start with a logo and work from there.
You start with the market, identify the opportunities and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in the context of those opportunities.
You then take your major strength and articulate that into a Point of Difference which becomes or is your key competitive advantage.
You don’t change your tagline unless you change your positioning.
You don’t change your positioning unless your POD is annihilated by circumstance and you consequently have to find new ‘space’ to occupy.
Just because you become bored with a brand does not mean you should change. Get a hobby instead.

Retail & Marketing

#1. Have you ever thought about how the best ads of all time might be different in our digital age? Google partnered with five of the brightest “old-school” legends from advertising to re-imagine their most iconic creative work from a half-century ago for the modern web.

 To read the full story, you can go to the original website here.


#2. 'Busynessgirl' has created a very interesting mindmap on studying and understanding social media - and you can find it here.


#3. This slideshow - with all the embedded videos of the BEST OF CANNES 2012 - is well worth a watch.

Business & Entrepreneurship

#1. Henry Rollins comedian, commentator and singer loves touring Australia. He candidly talks about the one decision that changed his life on Big Think.

He recognises the unlikeliness and the craziness - the sheer synchronicity that led him rise from Pizza Guy to Lead singer of Black Flag. In his own words:

'I won the Lottery.'


#2. A few days after that, my attention was drawn to very interesting research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Let me quote from the article:

For example, Gates's upper class background enabled him to gain extra programming experience when less than 0.01% of his generation then had access to computers; his mother's social connection with IBM's chairman enabled him to gain a contract from the then leading PC company, generating a lock-in effect that was crucial for establishing the software empire. Of course, Gates's talent and effort play important roles in the extreme success of Microsoft. But that's not enough for creating such an outlier. Talent and effort are likely less important than the circumstances (e.g., network externalities generated by customers' demand for software compatibility boosted Gates's initial fortune enabled by his social background) in the sense that he could not have been so successful without the latter.

Henry Rollins recognises the role that 'luck' plays - but also that the difference is that he DID SOMETHING with it. The same can be said of Bill Gates.

The research goes on to point out the obvious: we would be better off studying the 'second best' - because being the 'best' is often an outlier from which we cannot draw many practical lessons.

#3. I wrote this blog post about why big companies fail - when they ostensibly have power and money on their said. In it I say something to this effect:

It is sheer arrogance of senior managers to always attribute success to their ability but attribute failure to external factors.

#4. In this article (published the next day), the blogger actually goes as far as calling it a God complex. And he points to this fascinating TED talk about success and complex systems by Tim Harford.

Society & Culture

#1. Joe Krauss gave this talk (15min) about the impact that smart phones really has on our lives. Fascinating.

#2. Privacy: Nothing you do on the internet is private and YOU are for sale and someone is making money out of it.

We have long been advsing everyone (form our own children to our clients) that there is no such thing as privacy. That old 'test' about not doing anything that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the paper is a good one.

The New York Times article about Acxiom Corporation is well worth a read.


#3. This amazing website is an animated graph of the change on the internet. (By Google.)

DID YOU KNOW: the amount of data on the internet (at almost 28000 Petabytes) if stored on CDs and placed side by side, would stretch to the moon and back!


Fun & Iconoclastic

#1. Only in Germany. This was a supermarket promotion - and to win, you had to be naked. (**Nudity**)






#2. And from the venerable NYT again, this story about how someone (jokingly) liked a story on Facebook - and that became an ad for  - uhm - personal lubricant. The moral of the story? Be careful what you link to. (And if you didn't read the piece above on 'Privacy' maybe you should.

#3. And finally, this hilarious ad about a product called 'Photoblocker' which is really an ad for ... why don't you just watch it.

What happens in the club stays in the club...

#4. Only in Africa: Playboy Ad

News & Updates

#1. Blog Posts you may have missed on Ganador

PS: Subscribe to our RSS feed and never miss another.

#2. We would love to talk to you if you are:

  • Franchisors (small or large) who want take training and communications online.
  • Large organisations with multiple teams/ stakeholders who wants to have a smarter approach towards informal learning and knowledge sharing.
  • Brand/Supplier/Wholesaler who wants get smarter about activating your brand on the consumer frontline
  • Retailers who need to embrace smarter sales and service strategies that suits the modern environment.

#3. Feeling good

A client recently wrote (about our trianingf delivered by Moonyeen):

Hi Dennis

The training was outstanding. If my staff got as much out of it as I did it will put us in a good position.
 On a more personal note it was great to meet Moonyeen. What a great lady! But I guess you already know that.
 Kind Regards

If you email or call, we can do the same for you :-)

IF NOT THAT NOW - share the article and/or share your thoughts...


Ganador Blog is about #thinkdifferent. We cover topic of business- and personal development aimed at entrepreneurial marketers. (c)Applies. Posts authored by Dr Dennis Price.



Welcome back to all the Winners' Circle.

Rather than the Read/Think/Learn/Laugh format, we are mixing things up again. Enjoy!


Retail & Marketing  

When Google does anything, they do it well. You can get their Zero Moment of Truth eBook on the link. It is worth a read – even though it is a thinly disguised treatise on search/advertising, it does provide some insight into that industry and all businesses should be across it anyway.


Google Offers

I posted this video earlier and Google is the culprit and the saviour again. Will this finally kill Groupon style offers? It certainly seems the more attractive option. Coming to a mobile phone near you soon…


Talking about changes, this video gives you an insight into the future of touch screen technology. It makes you want to postpone your purchase of your next gadget, but there is always something better on the horizon, so no need to wait for it. Enjoy in the meantime.



And if you haven’t seen it yet, this is the Google Glasses video that shows how search may be used in the future.


Apple Experience

While we are stealing ideas from insanely great companies (I call it benchmarking) we might as well copy Apple too. This is a great presentation to get some insights.
Of course I had to compare what we train to the Apple way and whilst we don’t use the same words and we don’t encourage a rigid process, we tick the same proverbial boxes. Woohoo…

Creating desirable Brands

This site is normally for subscribers only, but this article on how to create desirable brands is accessible and worth a read. Quick – before they remove it…

Social Media

There is much hype about Social Media. This link gives you some of the factual insights into behaviours and trends in social media. This particular blogger is low on the hype and very focussed on ROI – so worth following.
Our RetailSmart blog recently celebrated 5 years! We were one of the first 3% of Twitter users etc. So you can take it with some level of confidence.
The two main things to remember with Social Media:
  • Firstly, it is a journey that requires serious commitment. You cannot hop on and hop off.
  • Secondly, operators who wanted to monetise ‘social’ labelled it ‘social media’. The reality is that it is no more ‘media’ than your phone. It is a personal tool that people use and there is very low tolerance for invasive advertising and manipulation. (And that is why you are now seeing more ‘content marketing’ strategies being employed rather than straight advertising to drive engagement.
The message from these two observations are: think before you leap.

Business & Entrepreneurship


I subscribe to a newsletter called Brainmail. According to Ernst & Young, six key developments will re-shape the business world over the next few decades. The six trends are: 
  1. The rising power of emerging markets
  2. Clean-tech
  3. Global banking recovery
  4. Closer ties between governments and the private sector
  5. Rapid developments in smart, mobile computing 
  6. Demographics shifts impacting the global workforce

A Top Blog

Drew is a friend of a friend and he comes up with some good stuff. His blog is worth following if you are interested in the intersection of social media and marketing.

Leadership Skill #1

Have you ever thought what the NUMBER ONE skill is to be successful as a leader and manager? (And I would argue, also to simply being a human being.) 
I must admit that, I am conditioned to doing the opposite, so this really does strike to the core…

Build an App

I have not tried to use the site myself, but it looks pretty easy. If you want to build your own APP – this may be the way to go?

Society & Culture


TED, Taxes and Censorship

I was piqued to see that there was a TED talk that TED did not want to publish. I had to watch it - and so can you now.
To understand why TED did what they did, you can read their point-of-view


I discovered a new type of social network. It is worth popping in to Cowbird just because the design is so cool. Well worth a visit.


On Happiness & Success

This issue of Winners Circle will be focussing on HAPPINESS in a bit more depth. It is the number one concern for everyone who has managed to avoid the ravages of daily survival. We all want it. We all want more of it even if we have it.


The Happiness Advantage

Via Harvard happiness expert Shawn Achor's book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:
...the impressive meta-analysis of happiness research that brought together the results of over 200 scientific studies on nearly 275,000 people—and found that happiness leads to success in nearly every domain of our lives, including marriage, health, friendship, community involvement, creativity, and, in particular, our jobs, careers, and businesses.

On Goals

In this section that follows, I am going to say a lot of things about happiness. Everything I say is backed up by research and facts. Where I express an opinion, I will say so. I do this because I want you to take this to heart.
The three keys to happiness are pleasure (stuff that feels good in the moment), meaning (belief/ religion/ philosophy), and engagement (friends.)
If you want to be happy, you have to achieve some semblance of balance. It is proven scientifically, historically and philosophically that more money does not make you happy.
In my own experience, and maybe even in my own case people I know have the attitude that they KNOW the facts, but would still like the opportunity to prove ‘those people’ who say that WRONG.


How do you set goals?

  • Initially, the research says, aim high. Set ambitious goals. (But later on down the road don't be afraid to settle to be happy.)
  • Keeping goals vague sometimes produces higher rates of success but being specific will prevent procrastination.
  • Structure your goals so that the focus is to learn and improve, not to outdo someone else.
  • Steve Jobs said: "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life." Apparently science agrees with him.
A good starting point is looking at your working hours. I am guilty as charged. Australia is guilty too. What about you? 
As an aside, before you look the content below, If I had to ask you this:
What are your perceptions of Greece were when it comes to working hard (or not)?
Now look at the image below (original here).

Research has proven the following things about happiness:

  1. Exercise and religion both make us happy and it's because they provide small boosts to well-being on a regular basis.
  2. Money isn't going to make you much happier. It might make you unhappier.
  3. Be a selfish boss by making sure your employees are happy. 
  4. You are not happier "doing nothing." Stop watching so much TV. 
  5. Thinking about the absence of a positive event from one's life would improve affective states more than thinking about the presence of a positive event.
  6. Take vacations.
  7. Across the board, gratitude is the key.
  8. The one thing, free and available to everyone, that you can do to improve your happiness, is to spend more time with friends.
  9. Bad moods foster risk taking by impairing self-regulation instead of by altering subjective utilities. So, being a bad mood is risky business… if you needed any more motivation.
In explaining individual happiness, economists have largely emphasised the hedonic, utilitarian, material, and tangible aspects of a person's life. On the other hand, another important explanation emphasises the eudaimonic as the realisation of a person's inherent qualities, one's true potential.
And research is increasingly pointing to this as a critical factor in attaining happiness.
The question for you is this:
How am I going on realising my own potential?

The happiness experiment

Go and play along on this experiment - see how you go. (remember to come back :-)

Fun & Iconoclastic

  • Instead of browsing through the TED site for videos, you will find 1000+ TED talks on one spreadsheet.
Just plain neat. How do you measure the Universe?
And finally, watching Nina have fun with Luke is great fun. Not is it absolutely hilarious, it demonstrates a timeless principle of persuasion.
To know what that is, you will have to hire us.

To give you an idea of some of the things we are getting up to...
Call, email or comment - would love to hear from you!

Design your Future

Design your Future


Thanks for swinging by - let's make it worth it...
In this issue of Winners' Circle, we are focussing on STARTING OUT, GROWING UP and BEING HAPPY.
The reason for this topic is that:
  • many of our clients will be considering their options for e-commerce
  • many individuals may be considering their own business given a tough job market
  • and because the lessons we learn starting out are often relevant to growing any business anyway


Most of you would not know this, but for the last 2 years we have been working on a New York-based startup with a friend and colleague out of the US.
It is going/ has gone in directions unforeseen - and we don't know what the future holds. But we have learned a lot from the experience.
These lessons apply not only to startups, but to ANY new venture you may want to tackle in your business OR your life... and I thought sharing it would be useful:
  • Ideas are worth nothing unless you can act on it.
  • Ideas are worth everything, because that is where it all starts.
  • You can dream too big.
  • Venture capital is close to vulture capital.
  • It's worth a shot. (More people regret NOT doing something than doing something.)
Paul Graham wrote this observation on successful and unsuccessful startups:
So being hard to talk to was killing the unsuccessful startups because it was a sign of an underlying lack of resourcefulness.
And it is backed up by loads of practical experience as a VC. It's profound - think about it:
Are YOU hard to talk to? 
How and why will that make you more or less successful?
Resources for Entrepreneurs
  • The Investor Pitch Clinic has this PDF that lists over 50 web sites which are tools and applications that you may find handy. From virtual business cards to online To Do lists to web applications - it is not just for startups.
  • If you have been living under a rock, you should really check out Pinterest now... And if you have checked it out, but not sure how you can use it to grow your business, here is a quick read to help you along.
  • Here are a bunch of tools you can explore to help you make better videos for your website - or just for fun.
  • If you are really serious about a real tech  startup, then this reading list is as good as it gets.
  • Download this trend briefing on the NEW RETAIL... (Every year there seems to be a 'new rules' of retail, doesn't it?)


Steve Jobs has done more than anyone to popularise the notion of design thinking. It is not about graphic design or product development - it is about a philosophy - an approach - to life and business.
This great presentation teaches the importance of asking 'WHY' - which is what we believe drives design thinking.
In fact, this video may be the most important video you will be watching this year - it is THAT important.
At Ganador we subscribe to this philosophy.
Those of you have gone through one of our training programs (e.g. Sell$mart) will know that we don't focus on the HOW you sell, but WHY people buy - and then you can figure out a way to get where you want to be in a way that suits you.
We are just putting the finishing touches to an extended online training course on visual merchandising.
This screencast is one of the introductory modules, and is included here to prove the point. Most trainers will dive into HOW you need to merchandise. We only get into that about halfway through the program.
Of course you need to know how to do it, but unless you know WHY, the best you can hope for is to copy the person who trained you, and that is extremely limiting.
  • >100min of video
  • 45 images to download
  • 10 Documents/resources
Want to know more?
1. Check back in a few weeks, OR
2. Subscribe to our blog (we'll be sure to mention it) right here on the website, OR
3. Drop me an email and ask me to remind you personally when it is up
The cost will be $69 p/p, but of course we will do a special deal for The Winners' Circle (I am thinking about 60% off - for the next 30 Days only?)


  • You MUST visit this site. It covers the topic of design - and remember it is not about 'graphics' - extremely well.
  • And, it LOOKS pretty cool. I wish I could make this site look that!
  • This type of organic learning is the only type that sticks - and if you want to know more, you know where to find us.
  • This is a pretty interesting video of one of the most successful advertising execs ruminating about change, success and the future. (HT:
  • I have mentioned Google before. This is their quarterly newsletter. In case you missed it previously, get this issue (THE CREATIVITY ISSUE) now. It is the Grand-daddy of all newsletters. Super cool.
  • A blogger from the company that originated the idea (IDEO), writes here.
  • And finally, if you really want to understand design thinking, this site covers it well.


We don't use our Newsletter to 'sell' - but I am sure it is OK to brag a bit now and then?
It is all about how people learn (best) to perform. And the way it happens is <NATURALLY> not <ARTIFICIALLY>. The way you learned to speak your mother tongue, or the way you learend to ride a bike.
We are very pleased (and I mean really pleased) to have won the right to distribute a product called Bloomfire.

Every industry evolves and changes over time.
  • Training became Learning.
  • Learning became eLearning.
But it wasn't really a paradigm shift because it was still about the guru in the front of a room (even if it was on the computer) or the Master and the Apprentice (think business coaching).
Social learning - or as we call it: Organic Learning changes all of that. And we are at the forefront of this first real paradigm change in education in a few thousand years.
Bloomfire is a ready-made platform (no installation required) that allows teams or projects collaborate in such a way that there is constant knowledge sharing and learning.
It's simply the best way for a group of people to work together and learn from each other without having to take time out to sit in a class room.
If you would like to know more - happy to share some resources and links - just contact me.
In addition we have just launched several new products:
It is specifically aimed at FRANCHISORS who want a 'Rolls Royce' online platform to manage their training & development as well as franchisee communications at 'TOYOTA' prices.
(Of course it is easily adaptable to any head office -e.g. buying group or tradtional head office - who has a need to train people in the field constantly to specific standards.
It is designed to extend our ability to reach retailers who are struggling to survive, or are serious about growing their business. Only by application and strict criteria apply. (Click on the link to take the screening test.) Centre Managers - especially for you. (And thanks to MC for the idea...)
For enquiries or referrals... ahem  - you know where to go ;-)


People who are just a little bit deluded about themselves are happier:
Evidence shows that people who hold pervasive positive illusions about themselves, their abilities, and their future prospects are mentally healthier, happier and better liked than people who lack such illusions.(Source.)
If you are interested in the serious side of happiness (i.e. can government policy facilitate greater happiness by improving equality, for instance) you can get a free eBook here that explores the topic.
The key thing to know is that happiness is not related to MONEY.

Consider this chart below. It is mind-blowing that so many 3rd World countries report higher scores than 1st World coutries, don't you agree?


..DIE, as some cynic observed once.
A palliative care nurse listed these 5 regrets as the most common regrets expressed by dying people.
  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 
  2. I wish I didn't work so hard. 
  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Ask yourself: How am I going on this list?


This site is chock-a-block full of high quality videos. It has a channel for each of the following: CEOs, CIOs, CMO, CXO. (Did you even know there was such thing as a CXO?)
You can download over 300 FREE classic eBooks here.
Getting organised on the Web is getting increasingly more important because there is so much (good) information out there. I have tried many tools and here are four you could try:


This is the true story of Bill Bartman, US entrepreneur:
I was indicted on 57 felony counts and my assets were frozen. While I was cleared of all charges four years later, I wound up filing for bankruptcy protection and lost a personal fortune in business equity to the tune of about $3 billion. My only asset left was my house.
Sounds devastating, right? But despite my failures I have been able to pick up the pieces and come through it all with a strong self-image. I attribute that to having a healthy perspective on what failure should and should not mean to me.
When faced with any setback, here are five rules that have helped me over the years and can help you, too.
1. Don’t pretend it never happened.
People are often so anxious to avoid the stigma of failure that they refuse to admit what happened. Denial usually results in a host of other problems, including internal stress and delaying any effective remedy.
The late Dale Carnegie, a well-regarded lecturer and author of the bestseller “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” said that when you’re quick to admit that you screwed up, your peers will stop holding your feet to the fire and actually begin to comfort you.
2. Avoid making excuses.
Some people wiggle past the truth by admitting to a problem they sugarcoat in excuses. I was one of them. At one point during my teenage years I was homeless and an alcoholic. At every turn, I told myself that all my shortcomings were not my fault. 
My situation only improved when I stopped making excuses and focused on a productive goal. For me, it was getting my General Educational Development (GED) certificate. 
3. Don't confuse a failed goal for a failed person.
Sometimes people take the opposite approach from what I just described. They blame themselves for any and every failure, creating a pattern of negative self-reinforcement. Assuming you'll invariably screw up is dangerous thinking -- and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of setting up a mental pattern for failure, ask yourself how you can improve.
4. Remember, you are not alone.
People fail to reach goals all the time. Take baseball players, for example. They strike out multiple times over the course of a long, 162-game season. And when they fail, they do it in front of millions of TV viewers. The point is that we’re not robots. Everyone’s bound to stumble every once in a while.
5. Focus on the lessons learned.
While I ultimately cleared my name after a felony indictment more than a decade ago, a lot of damage had been done. The only way to survive such a world-class level of failure is to focus on the future. Not many people can say they’ve literally lost billions of dollars and chalk it up to "business lessons." I’m currently rebuilding my company, which now has a portfolio valued at $100 million.


I shared this on Facebook some time ago, but it is too good to keep amongst close friends. It is called the Arrow Of Time. Enjoy...


A guy calls the company and orders their 5 day - 5kg Weight Loss Program.
The next day, there's a knock on the door and standing before him a voluptuous, athletic, 19 year old babe from Bondi, dressed in nothing but a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign around her neck.

The sign reads, 'If you can catch me, you can have me.'
Without a second thought, he takes off after her.   
A few miles later huffing and puffing, he finally gives up.
The same girl shows up the next four days and the same thing happens.
On the fifth day, he weighs himself and is delighted to find he has lost 5kgs as promised.
He calls the company and orders their 5day - 10kg program.
The next day there's a knock at the door and standing before him is the most stunning, beautiful, sexy woman he has ever seen in his life. 
She is wearing nothing but Reebok running shoes and a sign around her neck that reads, 'If you catch me, you can have me'.
Well, he's out the door after her like a shot. 
This girl is in excellent shape and despite his best efforts, but no such luck. 
So for the next four days, the same routine happens with him gradually getting in better and better shape.
Much to his delight on the fifth day when he weighs himself, he discovers that he has lost another 10kgs, as promised.
He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order their 7 day - 25kg program. 
'Are you sure?'! asks the representative on the phone.. 'This is our most rigorous program.'
'Absolutely,' he replies, 'I haven't felt this good in years.'
The next day there's a knock at the door and when he opens it he finds a huge muscular guy standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes and a sign around his neck that reads:
'If I catch you, you're mine!'
He lost 31kgs that week. . .
Have fun!
(And if you forgot how, just observe how a 3-year old kid does it...)


C'mon... talk to me...




What do you think?

We would like to tell you about some changes, including why this 'newsletter' is different. But we do that right at the end - for those who are interested. Let's get started...


Most of us pride ourselves on being rational. We like to 'think through' issues and challenges. We trust our thinking possibly more than we should, in fact, because most of us know very little about the thinking processes we rely (or say we rely) on.

At the core of the Ganador brand is the idea that 'being smart' is the only way to be successful. (With product names like Retail$mart and Start$mart and Sell$mart, it should be pretty obvious.)

  • Hard work is a given - but there is no guarantee.
  • Luck is necessary but we have no control over it.
  • So all that remains is to outsmart the competition; to think about your business, your processes and to be smart about the opportunities you take.

Thinking is about being smart, it is not about remembering things or understanding mathematics. 

There is an inherent paradox because intuition is very important. We should be smart enough to recognise that intuition plays a role in decision making. 

Our Sell$mart program (retail selling skills) for instance is entirely based on understanding the sub-conscious ('old brain') triggers of purchasing behaviour and learning how to push those buttons in the retail environment. We don't think (actually, we know) that the so-called 'seven steps to selling' does not exist outside of training manuals.

We certainly weren't (and I doubt many have been) taught explicitly HOW to think.

To get you started, we have uploaded a series of 6 (short) videos to introduce some of the basics of good thinking.



Critical thinking video - Part 1: A Valuable Argument


Critical thinking video - Part 2: Broken Logic

Critical thinking video - Part 3: The straw man argument

Critical thinking video - Part 4: Getting Personal

Critical thinking video - Part 5: The Gambler's Fallacy


Critical thinking video - Part 6: A Precautionary Tale



Business Planning

Business Planning is in theory an obvious example where the business demonstrates its analytical and thinking prowess. However:

  • If the plan is always shelved, rarely referred to and everyone baulks at jumping through those hoops every year to no benefit; do you THINK it is still worthwhile?
  • Have you THOUGHT about why you follow the same structure (mission, vision, objectives) - and if there is not a better way for your organisation?
  • Don't you THINK there might be a beter alternative?

Positioning: The Genius of Steve Jobs

Your business/ brand is 'positioned in the mind of the customer. That is the way they think about it. (Read more here.)

Before Steve Jobs re-invented the category with the iPod, all manufacturers (Sony, LG, Microsoft etc.) thought they knew what the customer wanted from a portable music player: as small as possible, with as many gigabytes as possible.

The genius of Jobs was the idea that people actually would prefer their portable music player to be 'cool' (achieved by design) and have access to loads of music. 

The first iPod had both a smaller capacity and were larger than other players at the time.

Many pundits rave about Steve Jobs's creativity and intuition - but if you read the back story, you will realise Apple was hyper-disciplined about thinking through issues.

Here are a few of Jobs's quotes that make the point:

And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We're always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it's only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.


That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

You can see from the above that whilst 'inspiration' may have been a trigger, the execution relies on THINKING

Bonus Link: Management lessons every company should steal from Apple. 




Pinterest is one of those sites that makes you shake your head and think - 'why did I not think of that'. Pinterest is an application (and a website) that allows you to 'pin' images that you find interesting to a 'notice board'.  You can then share this with your friends and followers.

Read why the Venture Capitalists decided to back Pinterest when no-one else was interested - there are a few business lessons in that story.

Pinterest is simply a way of curating images (content). The takeout for us is that content curation is a big deal - and is growing in importance.

E.g.: We publish newsletters on behalf of clients. One such client is actually a publisher. That is not ironic or stupid - it is smart of them to outsource the content curation and communication on topics that are not their core business.

Google Newsletter

Google publishes a newsletter (titled Think with Google) and as you can imagine, when they do something they do it well.

As newsletters go, it is in a class of its own - much better than the one you are reading. (I hope you understand why :-)). It is definitely worth reading and subscribing. This is the latest issue.

Social Learning

For a range of reasons (technology and the information explosion) providers of learning can now start providing learning environments that suits how people learn.


  • How did you learn to ride a bike?
  • How did you learn to speak a language?
  • How did you learn to run a meeting?

How did you learn to do most of the things you can do? 

NOT the way it is most commonly taught; by chalk-and-talk. (Read more about social learning and communities of practice as a particular application.)

If you think about it, it makes sense to TEACH the way people LEARN. (Few organsiations do that - we are not aware of any other organisation that practices a Non-Training Approach to Workplace Learning in Australia on any scale.)

Which brings us to one of the problems that arise from thinking.

Problem 1

Very often thinkers and innovators operate on the 'bleeding edge' of their discipline. Because they are the first in a particualr space, means that it is a much harder 'sell'.

  • You must first convince people you are not mad.
  • Then you have to convince them that your idea is valid and 'right'.
  • Then you have to convince them your particular product is the right one.

When all the hard work is done and there is a 'market', the competiton moves in - often better resourced than you...

How would you think about this proposition:

We will help you re-structure how you work in such a way that learning is optimised to the extent that you will only have to do 10% of the training that you currently do - for a fraction of the cost?

Does it sound crazy? Too good to be true?

The fact that it is logical and reasonable is in itself not enough to persuade people. Other factors come into play as well - like credibility of the person saying it, or whether you 'like' the person or not. (See videos above.)

Sometimes thinkers (by definition, all innovators are thinkers but not vice versa) also have to contend with the Innovator's Dilemma

Problem 2

Thinkers are often tagged as being academic. Certainly some thinkers suffer from the 'analysis-paralysis' syndrome.

But that is an easy myth to dismiss. If you do not think about the risks of over-analysis, if you don't think about the consequences of being in a state of perpetual thinking without concomitant action, then you are not really thinking, right?



Amazing fact generator.

I bet you did not know this:

The purpose of gasoline rationing during the Second World War was not to conserve gas, but to conserve TYRES. The primary source for natural rubber at the time was Southeast Asia, much of which was under Japanese control.

 (For more, click on the link.)

The Big Think vs. The Poached Egg

The Big Think site has an atheist perspective - be warned. It does tackle a wide range of issues, usually with well-reasoned essays. We personally happen to think that faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, so we have no problem reading opposing views - and thinking through them for ourselves.

And likewise, for an opposite, well-reasoned perspective you can explore The Poached Egg. Whatever views you hold about the big questions of Life, it always worthwile challenging yourself with the opposite arguments.

Every Winning Photo

Over the last 25 years, these 25 images have captured the year. (Every World Press Photo Winner From 1955-2011.)

It is included here because, when you think about it, CONTEXT and HISTORY are important parts of every thinking process; and it is important to remember that we change our mind all the time because what we thought was right THEN may not be right NOW.

1963 - Do you remember? Did you know?

 Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself ablaze in protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. (Malcolm W. Browne)



What we know is nothing. And it is worth reminding ourselves of that. Because more important than ANY big thought is... LOVE. Watch the video and realise why I say that...




If YOU can tell me WHAT this guy was THINKING (either of them) in the comments below, I would greatly appreciate it...


Smart-alec quote:

"Three out of every four people make up 75% of the population." (via David Letterman)



1. ReadThinkLearnLaugh is no more.

When we launched Ganador we launched the Newsletter and RTLL reflected the structure of the content we aimed for. Our initial 'subscribers were friends, family and ex-colleagues; most who probably never read it but were too kind to unsubscribe.

Over time the list has grown and we have 'unsubscribed' the kind souls we thought would get little from the content. Today we don't know who 95% of subscribers are and we are well into four figures.

We also decided that:

  • Since most people are very busy, it did not make sense to publish one every month because we wanted to keep to a schedule. We now only publish when we have curated sufficient, interesting content.
  • We have adopted a theme-based structure, exploring a specific topic in depth, rather than following a structure. This allows us to dive deeper into the content and be a bit more rigorous and resourceful.
  • It also made sense to move away from a newsletter in your inbox to a web-based 'journal'. This allows us to incorporate multimedia to add variety and interest for you. It also makes it easier to bookmark, share and re-visit as time permits.
  • We have never, and will not focus on 'retail' topics only. Our blog (subscribe right here - right hand menu) has plenty of that and there are many opportunities to talk abou the technicalities of retail. This Journal is about 'Life in Business' - and we take a macro view of the issues affecting people in business. This is about the journey of being a business leader/manager/entrepreneur (as all reailers and marketers are) and the personal development of the person - not the business
  • Finally, it also enables commenting. We don't know who most of the readers are but we would like to be able to strike up a conversation with you.

2. Other web-related changes - and content curation activities

We would love it if you could explore (then follow/like/subscribe etc.) some of our other initiatives:

  • Ganador Business Academy Facebook page  is for those interested in Learning & Development and it is curated by Moonyeen.
  • Pinterest:  (you can follow Dennis here
  • YouTube Channel (retail at a more academic level, with a few other eclectic topics thrown in)
  • We have added some pages to this Ganador site, if you haven't been around for awhile - please have a look.

What else can you do?

We really look forward to you plucking up the courage to comment, share insights and even resources. (Or ideas for future themes to explore.)

You can also share the page - or recommend to your friends and colleagues to subscribe. Like Steve Jobs, we too want to 'make a ding in the universe' and it starts with you helping us spread the word...

NOTE: We still collect your name and your email address simply to notify you when the latest issue has been published. This also means that we can track when you 'unsubscribe' which keeps us compliant with spam laws.

 Thank you for reading... enjoy the journey.



RTLL Raising the Bar (Dec 2011)

Thanks for coming to have a peak at our last newsletter for 2011. (And we mean that; becuse in a busy world, time is people's most treasured resource and we will attempt to honour it with great content.)

So we don't publish often, but when we do, we want to make sure it is worth it.

Before you start, a quick 30 sec message from Dennis & Moonyeen.



For this last issue of RTLL in 2011, we thought we would set the tone for 2012. When you set your new resolutions, you must know where the bar is when you want to raise the bar. We'd like to do this by offering a liquorice allsorts of topics.

This means you can also dip in and dip out as you wish. Come back and 'steal' some content later.





This is quite brilliant - do take the time to read and explore.



If you did not explore all the links, this one below you really should.

I am pasting the 'naked' link because I need you to launch a CHROME browser (the Google browser) and paste the link in that rather than click and launch your default browser.


Go do it. I will be here when you get back.

TOP 100

Of course you can't raise the bar until you have cleared the bar.

So where is the bar in retail?

This year’s Top 100 list hints at the changes that are underway: Check out Amazon’s growth andApple’s stores’ jump in the ranking as two examples. And who knows what transformative impact the mobile wallet will have over the next five to 10 years?



Factoid #1

According to research from ACI Worldwide, 75 percent of people hold a loyalty card, but over 80 percent don’t know why and have never received any benefit.

Factoid #2

Office Depot’s president could not understand why all their stores received outstanding customer service ratings done by a third party BUT their sales were declining faster than their competitors'. He knew they were not in control of the economy; the only thing he could control is what was going on in the stores. 

He realised that he needed to answer this burning question: they walk in by the loads, but they come out empty handed.

Read the full story.

You can say what you want about who you (think you) are, but people believe what they experience.

Jack Mackey, Vice president, Services Management Group

Factoid #3

Bain and Company after they have surveyed 362 companies found:

  • That only 8 percent of customer surveyed describe their experience as superior.
  • Yet 80% of the companies surveyed believe that the service they provided was indeed superior.

Factoid #4

The owner of Chick-fil-A understands the H-factor, they live the H-factor and it is part of their DNA. They are not company centric, they focus on their customers. They employ the right people.  They create a dynamic and inspiring environment to work in. 'It is more difficult to be a Chick-fil-A franchisee than to get into the CIA',  Cathy the owner likes to joke.

"If we have to keep telling people what to do, it means we're not modelling the behaviour ourselves," says Cathy. "If we're living it every day, we don't need to talk about it."

Raising the bar on Customer Service

1. Understand it. (If you haven't watched it yet, check out the video on the H-Factor.)

2. Use visual cues.

This is a smart way to 'tag your customers' in ways that it can remind you/your staff of how you could treat every customer.

For example, in a restaurant you could use a colour serviette to remind all staff that it is a regular customer (red serviette) or a newbie (white serviette).

All staff members will know to use phrases like: “nice to see you again” or if “since it is your first time here, let me introduce you to our chef.”

Obviously you need to have the systems in place to know this!

It is easy to implement:

  • Talk to staff and ask about customer behaviours - regularly. Stew Leonard once said that you will never need a consultant ever again in your life all that you have to do is talk to your customers, have a conversation ask what they would like to have and then if possible fix it or implement it.
  • Forecast what can go wrong at any given touchpoint and put strategies in place to ensure a golden moment of truth for your customers.
  • Have service recovery systems in place:

E.g: “What if they bring the product back?”

E.g: “How do you handle complaints?”

Remember, dissatisfaction is contagious. (A Neuromarketing article.)




It is not going to get any better in the future if we do not address the problem and understand that we cannot deliver customer service experience without our staff. Management Guru Tom Peters recently presented in Jonannesburg and (find the entire presentation here)  gives us his take on staff problems. It is worth a look.  






Check out this stunning slideshow which explains the rise and rise of Amazon to be the world's most trusted retail brand. It proves you cannot compete on price.



How about Puma's biodegradable plastic bag for clever innovation?



Here are a few songs that will bless you if you watch it.


And also this one...


Why did I show you this?

I wanted you to think about how BLESSED you already are. A wise person once said something like this:

If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

We live by grace. 

We should live graciously in return. And at the heart of a gracious life is GRATITUDE. If you liked the first video, you will like this one too. 

Our sincere Christmas wish to all all RTLL readers is to find this gracious life by accepting what they have and the peace that comes with knowing who you are.

So often 'personal development' is about goals and achievements, and God forbid, money; when the most important thing is what you already have: LIFE.



Here we are constantly raising the bar for ourselves and for our clients. Some of the changes and new services we can share with you are:


We are authorised to distubute one of the world's leading Learning Management Systems (LMS). If you are a trainer, coach, consultant, RTO or even a corporation that may be thinking about tapping into the benefits of eLearning (simply & affordably) then you may want to explore a series of very short videos that explains the back-end. 


We have launched a LIVE CHAT function on our website. (Just look at the left-hand navigation bar, top left.) If we are online and available for a chat, we will indicate accordingly and if you have a question about retail or marketing, we will try to help. Give it a try... (If we are offline, we will still get your message, so be sure to leave an email if you want us to respond.)


We are  working on some new products to be launched in 2012, including a 'Going Online for Dummies'. It is aimed at SMEs who have limited skills and technology. We will be stepping users through every step you need to go through - from buying the domain name to eventually trading online.

I am not creating a survey here, but I would love to hear ANY thoughts you may have on this topic. What to include. What to exclude. How much to charge. How long it should be. Why it will work/ fail...

Whatever opinions you have are bound to shape the final product, and we would appreciate it very much.


We are contantly tweaking our learning and development content and style to create new products. In particular, we are increasingly adopting a Non-Training-Approach to learning. Less talk & chalk, more about side-by-side performance improvement strategies.


Of course, we continuously improve what we do as well. Browse on the site and you will see that we:

Speak, Consult, Audit, Write, Develop - smart solutions for our clients. Raising the bar is also comprised of those small changes you make to the 'everyday' stuff. For instance, we have launched a RetailCoach version of our Retail Performance Assessments because we found that struggling retailers did not need advice, they needed a hand. And it is proving to be very successful - in case you were interested.




World's Greatest Salesman

Three salesmen were bragging who is the best.
The first said, that he is so good he sold a colour television to a blind man.
The second bragged he sold a HI-FI stereo system to a deaf man.
The third said he sold a Cuckoo clock to a blonde lady.
The other two said, so what?
The third salesman added, along with the Cuckoo clock, I also sold her one hundred kilos of bird seed!
(Moonyeen is blonde, and she picked this one ;-)


Did you like this issue?

Just below, you will see a link that reads "Share Article". If you click on that, you can share the content via popular social media. (That can be your gift to us...)

Want to stay in touch?

On the left hand side of this page you can connect via Twitter, LindkeIn, Email or RSS.  Don't be like this guy



Who knows when the next newsletter will be published? But when it is published  it will be a cracker. Hope you got something out of this one.

Enjoy the holiday season. And remember, you know where to find us if you need a hand to get better results for your brand...

Ganador Blog is about #thinkdifferent. We cover topic of business- and personal development aimed at entrepreneurial marketers. (c)Applies. Posts authored by Dr Dennis Price.

ReadThinkLearnLaugh (Oct 2011)


The following series of screencasts are narrations on the theme of the H-FACTOR - a presentation delivered at the 2011 Retail Expo and Conference (Melbourne).

The actual presentation was shorter, more succinct and more dynamic.

HERE IS A VIDEO OF THE PRESENTATION - no graphics, just a talking head on the stage... You can read the reviews HERE.

(It is a big file, and it may take some time to load. But if you are curious to see me in action, go right ahead... You may want to right-click on the link and open up the video in a new tab and let that load while you look at the rest of this newsletter.)

These screencasts (below) were recorded as a narration (not a speech) and are a bit slower and less excitable in order to give you the opportunity to think about the content (not be entertained.)

Not everyone will agree (I hope) but the intention is to stimulate thought, not reach consensus.

NOTE: These have have been recorded in HD - so may take a minute or two to load depending on your internet speed. The screencasts ARE NOT exactly the same as the presentation, so you may actually get someting out of




Module 1



 Module 2


Module 3

Module 4


Module 5


Module 6


Module 7



  1. If you want to see a process map for creating a customer experience, you can find it here.
  2. If you want to see the amazing Retail Renaissance publication by, you can find it here.
  3. And on a slightly tangential note, this site is very cool; it allows you to create your own graphs/charts on how MOBILE is conquering the world.



An Irish boy goes to confession. "Bless me Father, for I have sinned.

I have been with a loose woman."
The priest asks, "Is that you, little Tommy Shaughnessy?"
"Yes, Father, tis I."
"And who was the woman you were with?"
... ... "I can't be tellin' you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation."
"Well, Tommy, I'm sure to find out sooner or later, so you may as well tell me now. Was it Brenda O'Malley?"
"I cannot say." "Was it Patricia Kelly?"
"I'll never tell."
"Was it Brydie Shannon?"
"I'm sorry, but I'll not name her."
"Was it Mary Catherine Morgan?"
"My lips are sealed Father."
"Was it Fiona McDonald, then?"
"Please, Father, I cannot tell you."
The priest sighs in frustration. "You're a steadfast lad, Tommy Shaughnessy and I admire that. But you've sinned, and you must atone.You cannot attend church for three months. Be off with you now."
Tommy walks back to his pew. His friend Sean slides over and whispers, "What'd you get?"
Tommy replied, "Three month's holiday and five good leads."



I would love to hear your thoughts on what customer experience is all avbout - and even what you are doing in your business to capitalise on this unique opportunity.

And of course, if you want to talk about this topic, professionally OR socially, you can find me via this website.


PS: If you are new to RTLL - feel free to scroll down the page and read some of the previous content for subscribers only.

ReadThinkLearnLaugh (July 2011)


3-D Retailing

I am going to make a bold prediction here:

Retail is going to change irrevocably.

Not bold enough? How about this:

Retail is changing irrevocably.

Still not bold enough?

Retail is changing right now in ways that will blow your mind; to the extent that half of retail businesses - as you know them - won't exist in 5 years.

I exaggerate. A little.

OK, a lot. But not as much as you think.

NOTE: There are many, important and quality dowloads available for you. For your convenience, you can get those at the end of the newsletter or interspersed in the content below. Links to articles etc are not duplicated, and you should read those as you go.

The statements above are not predictions as such, but I would like to put it to you to view these as CHALLENGES.

What would your business look like if 50% of current retail formats disappeared in the next 10 years?

Morgan Stanley says a combination of high rents and massive price differences will hurt electronics, department stores, clothing and book retailers, adding that it has downgraded price targets for David Jones, Harvey Norman, Billabong and Myer. 

They expect the in-store retail sales compound annual growth rate to slow to 3.6% over the next four years, down from 5.9% over the past 10 years, and a worst-case scenario would see growth at just 2.1%.
In contrast, they expect online sales will grow 20+% a year.

If you think this is unlikely, then read this article in the New York Times (1982). It predicts changes that will be driven by the internet. I mention a few here:

  • The home will double as a place of employment, with men and women conducting much of their work at the computer terminal.
  • Home-based shopping will permit consumers to control manufacturing directly, ordering exactly what they need for ''production on demand.''
  • There will be a shift away from conventional workplace and school socialization. Friends, peer groups and alliances will be determined electronically, creating classes of people based on interests and skills rather than age and social class.
  • A new profession of information ''brokers'' and ''managers'' will emerge, serving as ''gatekeepers,'' monitoring politicians and corporations and selectively releasing information to interested parties.
  • The ''extended family'' might be recreated if the elderly can support themselves through electronic homework, making them more desirable to have around.

It may have taken longer than they thought, but you must agree it is pretty spot on?

So the question we must ask is this what changes are imminent?



There are many societal trends which seem irreversible. For instance, a futurist is predicting the demise of many professions by 2020:

<> Shorthand secretary <> Switchboard operator <> Receptionist <> Bookbinder <> Printer <> Typist <> Supermarket cashier <> Photo processor <> Video store owner. (Read the full list of 48 dying professions.)

Your homework is to consider how these dying professions have parallels in the business world. (E.g. does 'No Typesetter' mean no Printed Books?)

I won't go into Gen Y, Z and whatever comes next. The ageing population. The global village. The list goes on.

The obvious, current retail/ economic trends that are likely to continue are:

  1. More pervasive, faster internet access. (In Australia the National Broadband Network is being rolled out.)
  2. The mobile phone is ubiquitous. (Over 100% penetration in Australia, and smart phones at over 50%. No source available.) 3G and 4G technology is the norm.
  3. Growing eCommerce channels and options.
  4. Costs are being driven down. (The establishment of EPC (Electronic Product Codes) will improve efficencies in the physical supply chain. This report published by the Global Commerce Initiative makes for very interesting reading.)
  5. Consumption patterns are currently 'value orientated' and likely to remain that way. This report by McKinsey (winning in Value Driven World) is excellent and thought provoking.
  6. Finally, technology has become an enabler for the social nature of people. Social Media (as we know it) is just one, current manifestation of that. 

Grant Arnott wrote on his blog recently:

Mobile and social are the big buzzwords in US retailing, but still relatively few are fully leveraging the channels. One thing is certain beyond a doubt – the customers depth of understanding in using mobile and social as tools of empowerment far outstrips the retailers’ general understanding of how to market these channels effectively.


Consulting firm PSFK released this trend report in 2010. It is over 80 slides, so you may want to come back to it. But check out slide 4 (key learnings) & 5 (key trends) for now.

[Click on the 'expand' arrows in the bottom right for a full-screen view.]


PSFK presents Future of Retail report
View more presentations from PSFK



(This is the 'LEARN' section of ReadThinkLearnLaugh)

It may seem pretty basic to some, and somewhat academic to others. Either way it is important that we understand the fundamentals of business strategy development.

The Ansoff Matrix simply captures the four basic approaches. I use the following image to teach this to MBAs - so this is important stuff; and don't be fooled by the fact that it is ancient. (Think of it as a 'Classic.')

As you can see from the diagram, there are essentially on FOUR options when it comes to selecting retail strategy.

As a retail entrepreneur, that is it!

Many people complicate the discussions and the decisions around strategy - when it is in practice quite simple. The truth is that most businesses try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to strategy, when the path is well signposted.

Pick your square and GO>>>

The category of retail strategy that I am advocating here is that of 'FORMAT DEVELOPMENT'.

If you want to survive & prosper as a retailer, you must completely re-think and re-design your retail format.

  • It is not about adding new products.
  • It is not about sexing up the look with a new fitout.
  • It is not about improving service.

It is about changing your business model.


Here is a GREAT example of Format Development.


I am coining the term 3-D Retailing here. Allow me to explain.

  • First Dimension

Fundamentally retail is/was transactional. A customer exchanges money for goods or services. Success requires that you stock the right product at the right time and place and price. It is pretty simple. Your competition is clearly identified on this same dimension. As a retailer, all that is required is that you push your message out to market and convince them of the benefits.

I term all the elements of this first dimension the 'RETAIL PROPOSITION'. I have written two blog posts about it - start here. If you are seriously interested in this topic, I recommend that you get the Jump the Curve eBook.

  • Second Dimension

For a long time consultants and good operators have acknowledged that it is hard to sustain a competitve advantage at the transactional dimension. 'Customer Service' became the new battle ground.

With customer service I refer to things like all the add-ons (delivery, wrapping) through to pleasant human interactions (courtesy, responsiveness.)

Have you ever wondered if there was ONE SECRET to customer service? There is: Read this article on HBR.

  • Third Dimension

This is the new battle ground. Of course, both the first and second dimensions of retailing remain valid. It is just that a good offer and good service are now considered cost of doing business. Consumers demand/expect a great value offer accompanied by great customer service. These are givens.

But if you want to operate/compete in an environment where online is a serious option, then you have to build out the third dimension of retailing: THE EXPERIENCE.

This is more than customer service. It is a new way of shopping. 

I wrote this document in Nov 1999, proposing an approach that shopping centre landlords should be approach eCommerce. The bulk of those arguments STILL hold true.

I say this not to brag about how insightlful I am, but to point out that many of these changes are obvious - and have been for some time. 

Retail Experience is more than Retail Theatre

Jon Bird wrote up a piece on Urban Outfitters. It is what he terms retail theatre. And whilst I agree with what Jon writes about that particular retailer, I do think that it qualifies only partially as an 'experience'.

This article, also by Jon Bird, describes an something more akin to the notion of retail experience I want to explore.

In my mind there is a difference between 'theatre' and 'experience' - and whilst I am being arbitrary here, it is an important distinction.

'Theatre' is entertainment ('shoppertainment') - and I am after more than that.

An experience INVOLVES the customer - it is interactive and engaging on an intimately personal level.

Watching 'Getaway' on TV is entertaining, going on the holiday is the experience.

Creating an experience is not about sexy visual merchandising.

A store that really delivers an experience is Jay Kos. Read this article and follow the link to their website.

Two commentators have written interesting articles that explains how retail may play our in the future.

Doug Stephens used the phrase the 'store as media' (not sure if he coined it) but it is a phrase that resonates with what we have been saying for some time. This article by Doug touches on many of the same points I make here.

Michael Fox runs an online business Shoes of Prey) and wrote this article in SMH depicting a future retail scenario.

If you haven't done so yet, watch the presentation by PSFK above and you will be impressed by the innovation that is already happening.



In order to respond to these changes, you need to create your own 3D retail strategy.

  • STEP 1

Watch this video. It is a short excerpt from Rocky (the movie). I don't add it just for fun, I add it because it exemplifies the primary requirement for coping with change: resilience in attitude.

  • STEP 2

Think about the macro implications of these trends. (Before you think narrowly about your business, think broadly about society and the economy.) APPLY those thoughts to YOUR business:

If real-world retailing (bricks-and-mortar) were vastly reduced in types and numbers, what would the shopping experience look like?

  • STEP 3

Make sure you have the first two dimensions nailed.

I have to assume that you have the basic proposition in place. (Supported by the right business model.)

A good 'offer' is a given. The same goes for good customer service. It is self-evident that many retailers still struggle with this. (We all do, actually.)

But in a hyper-connected, instant, always-on world, great service is now also cost-of-entry. How do you compare against these examples of best practice on Customer Service?

Example #1: Zappos PAYS people to quit. Watch this video on HBR to understand why.

Example #2: APPLE has learned something about retail in the last 10 years. Read this article on - that summarises their approach.

The Wall Street Journal has captured Apple's approach to Retail very well in the article. I will quote one little piece:

Apple lays its "steps of service" out in the acronym APPLE, according to a 2007 employee training manual reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that is still in use.

"Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome," "Probe politely to understand all the customer's needs," "Present a solution for the customer to take home today," "Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns," and "End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return."

Contrary to what some commentators may say, Apple 'merely' delivers great service - it is not quite at the experiential level. Yet.
  • STEP 4

Re-format your new 3D retail experience. Design a unique, engaging in-store consumer experience. The million dollar question is how you do that - and it is beyond the scope of a humble newsletter to provide all the answers.

There are few people who can boast many, actual examples of 'having done it'. In our business, we do it almost 'surreptitiously' because we are rarely commissioned to explicitly help re-create a new experience - because it is not yet an evident requirement. (But the time is coming...)

Few clients are brave enough to break what appears to kinda be working...

Ganador does it by infusing our training, our analysis, our consulting - every client interaction - with a new lexicon. And we slowly introduce new ideas and new practices that equip them for the future.

We did this exercise for a small chain of hair salons, with mixed success because eventually they lacked the ticker to break the mold. The example that I will describe below is hypothetical.

NOTE: This is not an imperative for every single business, right now. Recently we advised a small fast food operator in a food court NOT to even entertain the idea of 'social media'. They simply did not have the resources or the skills to succeed at it.

Ganador has developed a methodology to pull apart a business and stick it back together again; only then will it become a new business. Our methodology is a systematic approach - that delivers innovative outcomes. It looks something like this.


 The trick is of course the quality fo the thinking that goes into completing those 42 blank boxes.

If you truly want to create a new retail experience, the primary requirement is letting go of all your beliefs in how things 'are' and how things 'have always been.'



Everyone has been to a family restaurant, so I thought that might be a good example.

The OLD way (two-dimensional)

  • You arrive a few minutes early, but they have the table ready anyway.
  • The waiter acknowledges you, greets you, introduces himself and takes you to your table where they hand you your menu
  • The waiter comes around within a few minutes to take orders
  • They even suggest a few specials and make a recommendation for the wine
  • They place the order at the kitchen and return with water & crockery
  • They bring the food out and serve it the proper way.
  • Everyone gets the meal they ordered, and it is presented well and it tastes exactly how you expected.
  • During the course of the meal there are a few 'table checks' and they top up the wine/ water.
  • They bring the desert menu, take the order and serve the desert in good time.
  • The waiter is alert and you catch their eye easily and you signal for the bill.
  • Your credit card is approved and you leave a healthy tip.
  • You are greeted when you depart.

The NEW way (three dimensional)

  • You arrive at the restaurant and you are greeted by name by the host.
  • He accompanies you to the foyer where other guests are mingling.
  • The host enquires about your last business trip and compliments your companion on her earrings.
  • As the host introduces you to a few other guests, the sommelier brings you a pre-dinner drink (based on knowledge of your preferences. But it is a new flavour, and they share a few titbits about the new process/grape/brand whilst serving you.
  • One of the hosts is telling a story to a few people gathered around her, and you join the half-circle to watch the 'performance'.
  • A few minutes later the door to kitchen opens and the host invites everyone in. There are long bench tables arranged around the kitchen island, which is manned by 8 chefs.
  • The lighting changes and the head chef introduces the crew. Each of the four long tables will be serving different range of dishes based on your recorded preference. You had indicated 'seafood' and your companion take your seat at that table.
  • Your seafood chef greets you by name (they had the seating plan indicated on their side of the table, and they have learned something about every customer.)
  • He then proceeds to run through the menu planned for the night.
  • As they start the preparations, they engage you in conversation, telling you what they are doing giving some tips as they go.
  • The courses are placed in front of you by your chef throughout the night.
  • When you are ready to leave, you simply get up and excuse yourself.
  • The chef comes around and gives you a hug and your companion a kiss on both cheeks.
  • They insist you take the half bottle of wine with you as you leave.
  • At the door, the doorman opens the door to the waiting taxi.
  • At the end of the month, your credit card is charged the usual monthly membership fee.

Whilst you may argue that you would not like the 'new' restaurant experience, that is not quite the point. This is just one example aimed at people who do this for the food experience. I am sure you can imagine a few other 'themes' or experiential outcomes that would suit your tastes better - and if there us a market for it, some restauranteer will cater for it.

The point of this exercise is to imagine how a 'traditional' concept might be transformed in an experience. You may think a restaurant is an easy option, but the same can be done for a travel agent, a hair dresser or a shoe shop - quite easily.

Dreaming up the experience is the easy part.

Translating it into a physical experience (staff, systems, procedures etc.) is the hard part.

And of course doing so at a profit is harder still.

Ben Lee is known (especially to Aussies). A short interview with him reveals the secret to success:

PERMISSION IS NOT REQUIRED> Hear him say it in the first minute.



Retailers who want to be relevant in 5-10 years time must formulate a cohesive, timely response to the pressures of change. 

The answer is to create a true, 3-D retail experience.

We suggested a systematic, strategic and innovative approach - and outlined 4 steps to the process.

I will close with THE internet guru Nicholas Negroponte's view on the future of retail - published in 1998:

The shopping experience

What will finally save retail is the shopping experience itself. This will certainly include architecturally interesting settings with every salesperson a Cindy Crawford, a theater- or museum-like experience that makes you feel special. On the other hand, it might mean a bargain basement of sale items whose prices are hard to believe and even harder to find, a game of hunting and gathering, where buying is like catching a fish. Or it could just be a place people want to be, to see and be seen, to compensate for the virtual and OD on the real - to buy something, maybe, or maybe not.

Another kind of retail, however, is truly about to end - the type where you can't park, the checkout lines are interminable, the staff is disagreeable, and the product has always run out. Owners of such operations should be advised: The digerati don't need you any longer. And very soon everybody will be digital.

That time is NOW. Are you ready?



ONE: Parallel to creating the 3D retail experience, it is imperative that you use/learn (new) social media channels.

  • SocialMediaQuickStarter is a great place to start your journey on how you may embrace social media. (It was developed by Constant Contact - and it is structured as a series of chapters. It is simple and clear should be bookmarked.)
  • This publication was issued by Facebook - Best Practice Guide on Facebook Marketing. You would think they know what they are talking about - it's well worth a scan.

TWO: Integrate online and offline in a seamless business. It is not so much about going multi-channel as it is about channel integration. This means aliging your marketing, your operations, your logistics,. your pricing etc.

This alignment will have practical implications on your operating business.

You will face many questions: Is it bar codes or QR codes? What about Wi Fi in store? What kind of people can deliver an experience? The list of challenges are endless.

And the biggest challenge is believing that the customers will still come...



(That is always a good way to end.)

**Warning: This section is not alway PC. So, if you are easily offended - don't read on. GO HERE instead.

10 Great Status Updates to steal

  1. For every problem, there is a neat, plain solution...and it is always wrong.
  2. For every vision, there is an equal and opposite revision.
  3. Free advice costs nothing until you act upon it.
  4. Free time which unexpectedly becomes available will be wasted.
  5. Freud's 23rd law: ideas endure and prosper in inverse proportion to their soundness and validity.
  6. Frustration is not having anyone to blame but yourself.
  7. For every action, there is a corresponding over-reaction.
  8. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
  10. For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.
  11. For every idiot proof system devised, a new, improved idiot will arise to overcome it.




Here is one of my favourites. (Click the link for the rest.)



You can comment on this newsletter below - that is why we have the new format. I am particularly interested to know what you consider your greatest challenge to be.

If you would like to talk seriously about your business (strategy) and how to future-proof your business... contact us via email or call me anytime (0411 030 436).

Of course, Customer Experience Design is not all that we do. You can also talk to us about:

  • Custom Training Solutions
  • Accredited Training (funded by Government incentives)
  • Business Coaching
  • eLearning
  • Mystery Shopping
  • Retail Performance Audits


Dennis & Moonyeen


PS: Just to make it easy, here are all the downloads in one easy place.


PPS: If you scroll down, you can read the previous issue of RTLL - just in case you missed it.


PPPS: If someone sent you a link to this newsletter, drop your email in the box (Ganador Newsletter) just to the right of this page and get direct notice next time. We don't publish often, but when we do it is worth reading.

We never spam, rent or sell our list.



ReadThinkLearnLaugh (May 2011)

"Point of View" 


The one trait that separates human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom is our striving for success and achievement. People seem to always want something else. Bigger. Better. Different. Whatever it is that we don’t have.

Whether this is a noble or ignoble trait does not matter, it is an ever-present driving force in our lives.

It is surprising then that we know so little about success and happiness – and how to achieve it. Surprising, because there is probably no topic that has had more trees felled in pursuit of an answer.

The answer to this vexing question is simple and complicated. Simple on a philosophical level and complicated in a pragmatic level: easy to understand hard to execute.

The answer lies in the way you see things.

(What are the odds that the answer will be found in an irregular newsletter by some middle-aged bloke living in regional Australia?)

The litmus test is whether this ‘answer’ actually applies on all levels of our lives, and in this essay I want to consider three different applications – as per the diagram.

Read on and tell me whether you agree with my answer…

Success (& Happiness)

The way we see things is often described as ‘perspective’. We encourage people to see things in perspective, or tell them they have a wrong perspective or have lost perspective.

If you are on the receiving end, we never heed that advice because, intuitively and rightly so, we dismiss that advice based on the infallible logic that their perspective is no better or righter than my perspective!

Perspective is commonly defined as “the appearance of things relative to one another as determined by their distance from the viewer”.

Note: it is the ‘appearance’ of the thing, not the thing itself.

A more specific definition is “the choice of a or a reference (or the result of this choice) from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another.”

In short, your perspective is how you make sense of the world

I am going to get pretty deep here, but bear with me. (Eventually I will draw the bow back to retail/marketing/entrepreneurship.)

Buddhists believe that the origin of suffering is attachment.

Specifically: The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient things do not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and -in a greater sense- all objects of our perception.

The solution is dispassion (or Nirodha - the unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment) but in simple terms, unhappiness can be turned into happiness with a simple change in perspective.

Many wise people agree.

•    Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~Abraham Lincoln

•    A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness.  ~Bernard de Fontenelle

•    We are no longer happy so soon as we wish to be happier.  ~Walter Savage Landor

•    A man's as miserable as he thinks he is.  ~Seneca

•    If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.  ~Taisen Deshimaru

•    Happiness is a function of accepting what is.  ~Werner Erhard

Read these quotes slowly again and you will see that there is a shared philosophy: happiness is a matter of perspective.

For a profoundly moving understanding of what it means to really change your perspective, watch this video.

We have all been brought up (most of us at least) with the very European notion that it is good strive. (Taken to the limit by our American cousins.) We have to dream. In fact if you don’t strive for something big, you are failure. Believe and achieve.

Watching American Idol, we all laughed at the ridiculousness of some people’s dreams and beliefs. We delighted in these ‘idiots’ being ripped into by the judges for their pathetic attempts to chase their dreams. (Ironically also marvelling at the success of the ‘winner’ that emerged, further strengthening that defective cultural norm.)

But those (unrealistic) beliefs were the natural (if unintended) consequences of that worldview.

For a long time I was anti-planning and anti-objective setting because I know (see) the unhappiness it causes when you are perpetually planning (dreaming) to be somewhere else.

In fact, the first business we registered in Australia was called Live the Moment – because Moonyeen and I have both always believed that the ability to (live the moment) it is the cornerstone of happiness.

It is not of course. It is important, but it is not the key.

The key to happiness is acceptance of what is.

If you find yourself unhappy with what is - change your perspective.

Hey, that is easily said. If your house has just been flooded or you have lost a family member (or even just your dog) then it is not easy to just change your perspective. And that is not what I am advocating.

Experiencing sadness is actually necessary.

What I am talking about is the need to change your overall orientation: to have a different propensity.

  • Your first reaction should be to accept, not to judge.
  • Your first response to an emergency should be ‘what can I do’ not ‘why me’.
  • Your attitude to a new experience should be ‘what can I learn’, not ‘what can go wrong’.

I think you get the picture.

I see many VCRs/DVRs still flashing 00:00:00. This is the ‘default’ setting for digital clocks. When you fill in a form/survey, there is usually a structural bias built-in because the way the questions are phrased. (Remember how John Howard phrased the question about the Australian Republic – and got the result he wanted?)

We all have a default perspective.
It usually just happens.
But that means you can also change it.
If you want to.

Action Steps

  • You know what to do.
  • Do it.


  • If you have a Kindle or if not, just download the free app on your smartphone.
  • Go to Amazon. Go to the KINDLE eBook section. Search for "Do the Work" by Steven Pressfield.
  • Download the free EBook. Read it - and follow the advice.


Selling (& Persuasion)

Perspective is important when it comes to persuasion and influence (which is what selling is all about.)
You have to put your thinking cap on and consider the questions (originally posed by researchers Tversky and Kahneman) carefully.

If you were given the following two options, what would you choose?
1.    A sure gain of $240
2.    A 25% chance to gain $1000 and 75% chance of getting nothing.

84% of people chose the more certain Option 1. (The vast majority chooses the certainty.)

They then offered them one the following choices:
1.    A sure loss of 750
2.    A 75% chance of losing $1000 and a 25% chance to lose nothing.

Now 73% preferred to gamble by selecting Option 2. (The vast minority now chooses UNcertainty.)

In both scenarios the options on offer are (statistically or rationally) exactly the same. You would expect people to favour the two options equally (a normal distribution based on another variable) OR to consistently favour the ‘safe’ or the ‘risky’ option.

But people change their decision based on the perspective they are exposed to (framing).

I see a holiday as an opportunity for a quiet read. My son sees it as an opportunity for adventure. We both look at the same scenario with a different frame.

Fairhurst and Sarr (1996) described a few framing techniques, which are all effective in some way in persuading another person.
•    Metaphor: To give an idea or program a new meaning by comparing it to something else.        
•    Stories (myths and legends): To frame a subject by anecdote in a vivid and memorable way.
•    Traditions (rites, rituals and ceremonies): To pattern and define an organization at regular time increments to confirm and reproduce organizational values.
•    Slogans, jargon and catchphrases: To frame a subject in a memorable and familiar fashion.
•    Contrast: To describe a subject in terms of what it is not.
•    Spin: to talk about a concept so as to give it a positive or negative connotation.

Our Sell$mart program uses what we loosely term ‘metaphorical’ selling. We firstly identify the 6 key decision heuristics (let’s just call those decision-making shortcuts) that people use. (There are more, but these are the most useful in a retail sales environment.)

Once people understand these ‘shortcuts’ (or buttons to push) we teach them how to generate metaphors, analogies (even clichés) to express those statements in the most persuasive way.


Scenario 1:
Which statement is the best way to frame your offer to the customer?
1.    Do you prefer the red dress or the blue dress more?
2.    Do you like the red dress?

Scenario 2:
Let’s try one where a customer objects about the price:
1.    It’s not really expensive for the quality that you are buying
2.    It is a bit more expensive, but you get what you pay for.

In scenario 1 you would choose option 1. In scenario 2 you would choose 2. Some people tend to get this instinctively right and others struggle. You may even be one of those who get it right, but unless you know why you prefer the one option over another, you cannot replicate your approach (or train someone).

The good news is that these framing techniques can be learned.

Let me share a personal history with you. In my corporate career in Australia I managed to achieve a reasonable position (National Marketing Manager). But I fared better (Executive Director) in my original culture than I have in Australia. One reason for that is that I did not always frame the brand ‘Dennis’ in the most effective way.

Consider the following options for framing your disagreement with someone:
1.    I disagree. What about X or Y?
2.    That is an interesting approach. I just wonder what happen if X or Y happened?

Which would you choose?

I invariably chose option 1, whereas a more effective way of making the same point (I eventually learned) would have been option 2.

Success then, in selling and persuasion, depends on understanding perspective. Your own and the customer’s.

And then having the skill to articulate the perspective that suits your goals. That is, you must know how to frame your advice and your suggestions in a way that is more likely to get compliance.

The key is to understand the way the customer sees things – their perspective – and to frame your message in such a way that it appeals to the customer (pushes their buttons).

They expect you to ‘sell’ to them. (“The dress looks good on you.”) But if you resist the temptation and instead help them ‘buy’, you will be more successful.

Action Steps
1.    You can enrol for the Sell$mart eLearning course HERE. If you apply the discount code 'rtll' (RTLL in lowercase), you will get 50% off!
2.    You can contact me for a live Sell$mart workshop for your organisation.
3.    Or do nothing.


Strategy (& Positioning)

People who create or run successful companies have invariably managed to position their company or their product successfully; relative to the competition.

Let me illustrate with some pretty pictures and a simple example with a product we all own.

After the Sony Discman, MP3 players were invented. The received wisdom in the market was that what people wanted was the smallest possible player with the largest capacity.

After the Discman, that is pretty logical right? As small as possible but with greatest capacity for songs.

This created a perceptual positioning map that looked like this. Imagine that all the manufacturers are the red dots.


Apple came along and re-defined the market.

They had a different perspective. They did not chase the attributes that every other manufacturer accepted as the conventional market wisdom.

By doing so, they instantly relegated all competitors to ‘also ran’ status.

They did not create the MP3 market. In fact, they were pretty late to it. But when they did come to the market, the brought a completely different product to the market. The capacity was nothing more than par.

The size of the unit was nothing more than par – a bit bigger in fact than some of the others in the market.

But the saw the market differently.
And they happened to be right.

They re-imagined the perceptual positioning maps with different axes. (It is easy to forget how different the iPod was when it was launched because all theother manufacturers have since copied much of the design.)
One can even argue that Apple is not the best designed MP3 unit on the market any more. But the market perceives it as such. And besides, you are now locked into iTunes – which has been the main game all along.

Action Steps
1.    You can buy Jump the Curve (the eBook) here. It is everything I know that is important in starting and running a business.
2.    You can contact me to discuss the live Jump the Curve workshop (customised for your organisation) here.
3.    Or do nothing.


I have shared with you that SUCCESS and HAPPINESS (on a personal or product or business level) really boils down to how you SEE things: your perspective.

Life is what it is. There is no point to obsessing about the environment, competition or luck. Just look at the situation differently and you will see opportunity.

A few random, interesting things

1. Have you checked out this new search engine yet?

2. Are you (or do you know someone):

  • interested in starting an internet-based business?
  • keen to become an infopreneur?
  • a consultant/coach/trainer ready to go online?

  Check out this offer.

 3. Here is a productivity tip.

If you regularly receive emails from the same source, and you need to continue to do so, but don't necessarily have to read them (all the time) - then do this in Outlook:

  • Create a special folder for the purpose you intend (I channel internetbanking receipts into a dedicated folder.)
  • Right-click on the email
  • Click on 'Create Rule'
  • Select the appropriate tick-box and folder name

Done: In future all emails from that source will go into that folder without cluttering up your inbox.

4. Must read on the web

  • Pop-Tech - a long post with 5 videos covering your 5 senses.
  • McSweeneys on the topic of when branding goes nuts.
  • The previous issue of RTLL, on th topic of when social media goes nuts by your truly.

Staying connected

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  1. Get yourself a Gmail account (if you don't have one)
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