retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Now available on iTunes…

To listen, click on the “MNB Radio” icon on the left hand side of the home page, or Click here.


Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.


I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this particular commentary for about a month now, because it makes a point worth making but I don’t want to offend too many people. So here goes....

In early November, Michael Sansolo and I were giving speeches almost back to back in Las Vegas and Palm Springs, and because I’d never done it before, we agreed to make the drive across the desert rather than flying. It actually was a great trip - the scenery was definitely worth it, and we had time to talk about our new book and other issues face to face rather than using our cell phones, email and texting, which are our usual modes of communication,.

Anyway, we’re driving the four hours and change across the desert and the car had satellite radio. I could’ve listened to Margaritaville Radio for most of the trip, but Michael doesn’t share my love of all things Buffett, so we started searching the dial...and found ourselves listening, against all odds, to Playboy Radio.

Now, I gotta tell you...there were things talked about and described on that radio station that I’ve never heard about before...and in some cases, could never even have imagined. But what was really interesting - and, in fact, instructive - was the call-in show conducted by a woman who, of course, was named Tiffany. (Apologies to anyone else named Tiffany, but trust me...this woman was not helping the image of your name.)

The callers to this show seemed to mostly be truck drivers who were motoring all over the United States and had a lot to complain about when it came to their wives and girlfriends. Tiffany’s job seemed primarily to a) reassure them that they were good guys, b) reassure them that their women needed to be more understanding and adaptable, and c) give them advice about how to, shall we say, spice up their relationships.

In other words, she was telling them what they wanted to hear. Michael and I have each been married for more than a quarter-century to smart women (who, by the way, at this moment are appalled by our choice of radio stations). And we found ourselves yelling at the radio, telling these bozos that they sounded like self-centered fools who were lucky to have any woman even look at them, much less enter into a relationship with them.

Which made us think. How often do we look for advice or counsel only from people who will tell us what we want to hear, or will reinforce our own opinions? How often do we avoid making the tough call, the trenchant observation, the critical remark, because it is easier to get along than to challenge the way things are done? How often do we let sacred cows live longer than we should, ignoring Mark Twain’s comment that “sacred cows make the best hamburger”?

The answer? All too often.

It’s why we need to seek ideas and innovations from the unexpected sources, and listen to people who disagree with us and challenge our view of things. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow.

The good news is that it didn’t take us long to come to this realization, and we turned off the radio. And talked about business. And our book. And what the Mets need to do in order to actually be competitive in 2010, which was almost as distressing as listening to Playboy Radio.

So that’s the lesson of the week. it came from an unexpected place, though one I don’t plan on visiting anytime again soon.

But a lesson, I think, worth remembering, taken from a drive across the desert that I won’t forget for a long time.

For MNB Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
KC's View: