retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

Here’s some bad news for you: without doing anything wrong, you managed to lose ground while sleeping last night. When you went to bed you were a little smarter than you were when you woke up.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s what the new world is like. In our hyper-connected world, we are all drowning in information, with more and more coming at us every day. We can only take in so much, so the percentage daily gets smaller as the pool of knowledge gets larger.

So every day, no matter how hard we try, we get a little dumber. Good morning!

Last Thursday, Kevin ran an interesting piece here on MNB about the challenges of this new world. We see it when we turn to a teen or 20-something to help us with an app or when we witness a company as good as Hershey designing a logo derided as resembling poop.

In so many ways we have to run faster than ever just to keep up.

But … that isn’t always a negative.

First, this is nothing new. The notion of the world getting bigger and smarter and forcing all of us to race forward has probably been part of the human condition since the Gutenberg Bible. One has to imagine that generation after generation has marveled at the changes in the world and puzzled at how to keep up. It just seems to happen faster today.

Second, running faster is exactly the key to any successful business and provides you with endless opportunities. Today, your customers also got up a little dumber, relatively speaking, than they were yesterday. They need more guidance and help then ever because there are so many more things to think about.

If you can help them run faster, they’ll become more linked and loyal to you. How great is that? In a world of increasing questions, you can make strides by providing more answers, by helping to simplify an increasingly complex world.

Of course, to do that you need to find a way of running faster or at least smarter. An incredible example of how to do this comes from an app called Waze that shows the power of technology and crowd sourcing together.

My car has a built in GPS, so I had never encountered Waze until my son - a 20-something, of course - dazzled me. Waze makes my GPS look pedestrian by simplifying driving complexities like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Waze’s wisdom comes from gathering knowledge from its users. Waze doesn’t only give you the shortest route, it gives you the best and easiest route. For instance, a GPS might tell you to turn left at the third street without knowing that it’s a death-defying turn without a traffic light. Waze won’t make that mistake because users have provided insights and a better alternative.

Any GPS can tell you about a red-light camera; Waze asks users to confirm the camera is still there. Waze can tell you about a delay caused by a dead animal on the road or by tracking how fast Waze users are traveling on a specific road it can give traffic reports.

That’s technology that works because it makes the world simpler and makes us all smarter even if the world keeps making us dumber.

That’s a winning solution.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available by clicking here .
KC's View: