Are we returning to a Mom and Pop business culture?

Reading an extra of Gary Vaynerchuk's new book, The Thank You Economy. You can grab the same extract here. First thoughts, it looks a lot better written than the first. More mature. Excited.

Here's a paragraph:

At its core, social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners. They’re going to have to take the long view and stop using short-term benchmarks to gauge their progress. They’re going to have to allow the personality, heart, and soul of the people who run all levels of the busi... (extract ends here, so have to assume he says something like "shine through / be available to customers".

Aw man. I love social media. It's so "revolutionary". It's so "us against them". It's so "change or die". My exuberance is temepered with the last round of "change or die" that we saw on the web - remember when people ran around telling you that if you didn't have a website, and if that website didn't have eCommerce, you might as well pack up and go farming? Yeah. Well that resulted in the biggest bubble burst an industry has ever seen. So let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

I do love it though. Here's my only question. One to which Gary would answer "just try". How does that scale? How does a bank, an insurance company or a massive retail institution put the people and processes in place to give Mom and Pop style business service to EVERY customer, 24 hours a day? And more importantly, how do they do that without passing the costs onto us?

Maybe social media will never scale well for big business. I'm certainly proud of the companies that are trying. But maybe, this is more an indication that consumers are going to fragment off into niche brands, because of the better experience; than stay within the stability and low prices of any Walmart-esque retail / financial giant.

I certainly like buying coffee from the Ron at the Bryanston Organic Market. He's a cool guy. We chat. Maybe that's the first move away from the retail giants.

I don't know...

Good times!


  1. We have mom and pop stores called Spaza shops.The vast majority of South Africans frequent them. Whether social media access will supersede the twin impediments of geography and price will have to be seen. Social media is not a magic bullet to real societal issues. What it does is encourage conversation and as we have seen in North Africa conversation is a catalyst for change.


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