I picked my RV up from the dealership. My axle was reportedly broken, and, as far as I could tell, it was now fixed. Good. The cost was over a thousand bucks, money which I forked over, wishing the whole time I didn't have to.
A few weeks prior I was at an airport, desperate for something to eat. I got a poor quality sandwich at an above average price. I paid, and it served its purpose: to make me stop feeling starving.
When I visited Haiti I was staying with a couch surfer. My bus arrived just as dark was rolling in. I had my host's phone number, but I didn't have a usable phone. I was the only tourist on the bus (meaning the only white person), and I hadn't heard anyone else speak English. A cabbie spoke in broken English to get me to ride in his cab.
"Can I use your phone?"
I call my host and she sounds busy.
"I have to run but give the phone to your cab driver and he will bring you to my place. My sister is expecting you."
I hand the phone back and he gets the directions in Kreyol.
"Thirty dollars. And five for using the phone."
"That's too much. It's really close."
He knows he has me over a barrel and won't budge. I don't want to annoy my obviously busy host and have more taxi drivers call her. I take the taxi and in one fifteen minute ride he makes more than he made in the past two weeks.
That's the first kind of business. Businesses that you'll do business with if you have to. I mean "have to" loosely, of course. No one forced me to patronize any of them, but I did so because my options were limited.
If you saw me you would probably not be very impressed with my wardrobe. Three of my four shirts are plain colored T-shirts. The other one is a plain colored T-shirt with a simple line drawing of a mountain.
The thing is, these are the greatest T-shirts in the world. They are made from the finest Merino wool. They're warm when it's cold and cold when it's warm. They wash easy and dry fast. They never smell bad. Each one costs $60 retail ($30-40 when you find a good deal).
When I buy a new laptop (like I did three days ago), I buy a Thinkpad. They're built like tanks, use high quality parts, and impart the feeling that they were designed and built by people who care about-- and use-- laptops.
That's the second type of business. A business where you can't wait to buy from them. You spend your money with them and you feel good about it because you're getting something truly valuable in return, and further, you support the company's vision. When I spend forty dollars for a shirt at Icebreaker, I'm glad that they're marginally more successful than they were. I want to be a part of that success.
I hate to use them as an example, because I'm the opposite of a fan, but Apple really exemplifies this principle. People foam at the mouth to get a slightly newer, slightly shinier version of the same phone they bought six months ago.
Besides being a consumer, I want to be a producer of products or services that people are excited about buying. I want people to give me money not because they have to, but because they support what I'm doing and feel like they're getting an unbelievable value.
(the picture, as you might know, is of Vibram Five Finger shoes, the only shoes I've worn in the past year or so. They're definitely the latter business type.)
Which icebreaker shirts do you wear? I've got some of their heavier Ts and long-sleeves. I'm back in TX and have been wearing cotton (I only wear plain white tshirts), but would love to trim down and just buy a couple/few icebreakers.
Been a while since I visited, but been a fan for a really long time. I was just in Austin shopping for office space when you and your site came up, "balcony swing." Turns out I have known Devin and our company has been buying photos from him for a while. Small world, enjoy your trip.
(I'm saying that b/c most merino wool shirts come in dark colours, since most of them are REALLY thin, making them see through when the color is light). You might have to get a heavier/thicker shirt to make the white version not be see through.
If you want to use merino wool, remember to have light/white colored version too, or you'll be sweating on those sunny 30C days no matter how great merino wool is!
Ive read your posts for years but never commented. I was glancing this one in google reader and saw "kreyol" and did a double take. Tynan, in Haiti, what!? Im Haitian and give you much props for going there. If you learned a little kreyol you should know what I mean when i say, "SAK PASE!"
I know what you mean Tynan, I struggle with this as well...I want to make products that people are GLAD to pay for and tell their friends about. Not where they say "I guess it's worth it" from strictly a cost benefit analysis.
One way I was able to get closer to this recently was on UniversityTutor.com. I'm split testing some price points right now of $5/month vs $10/month for tutors to keep a profile on there. The preliminary results indicate that the conversion rate is almost exactly double at the $5/month price point, so while that means it doesn't earn any more money, twice as many tutors can afford it and while it's sort of worth it at $10/month, it's a steal at $5/month with no loss in revenue to me.
Just a small example. Btw, I think your daily writing experiment is going well. All your posts have been high quality and worth reading. Keep it up!
I'm really interested in getting a vibram. I want to know what the lifespan of a vibram is, though. Do they last as long as a regular pair of shoes? Can they handle tasks like running better than a regular pair of shoes? I'm enjoying the posts, too!
I read all of your daily posts and am inspired by them. I have, in fact, embarked on an experiment to ride my motorcycle every day and to write about it. Today is day 9 and I'm about to pull it out of the shed to ride to work. It's an experiment not a goal, but it's been a little more difficult than I thought, the writing, not the riding.
Keep it up.
I used to have a bit of an obsession with Zero Halliburton luggage. Look familiar? That's because bad guys in all the movies use the briefcases to hold their money and bombs. Over the years I kept buying these things, and usually traveled with a huge 26" suitcase as well as a matching computer case.
I still really like my Zero Halliburton suitcases, but they're somewhat unweildy. Two day trips don't require a hectare of packing real estate.
Plus, there was the allure of the carry-on only passenger. I never really understood how it worked before. How do people carry everything in such small suitcases? Is it really that much more convenient? What's so bad about checking bags? I was curious.
“Taxi!” raising my hand to fetch a cab because I am running late. I normally walk, but I may or may not have enjoyed myself a little too much last night, hoping the Yankees-Red Sox game would happen, despite the stormy forecast. “Sweet,” giving a little fist pump, I never get a cab this quickly in the morning. It’s so nice today, how could it have been a shitty day yesterday? BEEP BEEP! I love this town and hate it at the same time. If I had a dollar for every time I had almost been hit by a taxi I would be a rich man, or would at least break even from the night before.
“Where you headed to?” asked the cab driver.
“Starbucks at 250 Vesey Street,” I yawned.
As I complain to the taxi driver about last night’s rain delay and my lack of effort this morning he shows no empathy and just like a one night stand he sends me packing at the end of our date.