Thursday, February 27, 2014

10 Principles of Open Business launches in London

Last night I was delighted to host a gathering of friends, supporters and influencers, most of whom had been involved one way or another in shaping the output of my last seven years of work - a book.

The 10 Principles of Open Business is the result of a great deal of collaboration, of shared thinking, of wise counsel and challenge. But it struck me that while I knew all of the people involved in my journey, few knew each other.

Yes I wanted to celebrate the launch of a book, and yes it was great that we even sold some copies at the event, but the most important thing for me was that those who came got to meet each other and spend some time talking to each other.

I hope everyone gained from it. I'd like to thank the folk at Grey London and colleagues at The Social Partners for providing the venue - and everyone who showed up, naturally.

The pics above are from Stephen Waddington's instagram. I'll try to gather up a few more to add as I come across them or they get shared directly with me.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

High Streets as celebrations of the self

Image via:
I found out my local art gallery is closing down when I strolled in to get a couple of pictures framed.
Just another victim of the recession? Well yes and no. More a victim of a structural change in how we shop.

High Streets are becoming the home to those things which require our presence to benefit. And mostly to benefit means those things which give us some corporeal satisfaction or improvement: restaurants, coffee shops, beauty salons, hairdressers, nail bars and tatoo parlours. Even the estate agents are thinning out.
There are more places in my High Street (and I bet in yours if you live in any small town in the UK) where I could get a massage, than places I could buy groceries.

The supermarkets have supersized and stalk the edges of towns.

What's left in our town centres is a celebration of the self, where we go to make pilgrimages to pampering.
Oh - and what else? Banks and mobile phone shops.

My guess is that unless your business is serving physical need/improvement and you are surviving in the High Street, your business model just hasn't been disrupted hard enough yet. Yes, banks and mobile phone operators... your time will come.

What time is that? Well let's stroll back to that art gallery. The owner told me artists have used the web to disintermediate the middle man - the galleries. Today people wander into his gallery, see an original they like then go look up the artist and find they can buy something very similar for a few pounds cheaper direct.
And since the gallery has its High Street overheads, it can't compete.

So next time you are thinking about your next mobile phone contract - go online and see if you can't find something a bit like it (or a lot better actually, like giffgaff which features in my book) for less money and you'll be hastening the process those inside the large mobile phone retailers are already preparing for - the decline and relatively rapid removal of the High Street mobile phone store.
Now, what's next for banking I wonder?

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Kindle version of The 10 Principles of Open Business arrives - and you can try before you buy

The Kindle version of my book went live today - and with it comes the opportunity to 'try before you buy' with Amazon's Look Inside feature.
The sampling allows you to read the first two and bit intro chapters, which I hope will be enough to hook you!
The good news for Kindle fans is that the book is considerably cheaper in e-form than in print.
Amazon's pricing model never ceases to surprise me - it seems to have little to do with the authors or the publishers. In the pre-order phase pricing varied from around £15 to around £18.
After one day on sale (Jan 28), which appeared to go quite well, the price for the print version has gone up to £19.99 - zero discount.
So if you are looking for a bargain and can forgo the new book smell and feel... the Kindle version is £13.73 - more than a third off.
That is, it appears, subject to change. I'll be watching closely.
Choose from either option here.
In the meantime a big thank you to those of you who have already bought one - I'm really looking forward to your thoughts and the space remains for the first review on Amazon.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?