Act I, Scene 1: The Story
(Scene opens on PG or some actor playing PG just musing, wearing his walking shorts, Yankees tee, and sweating bullets. He's walking upstairs and talking at the same time)
"So, like, I was on the treadmill this morning (11 pounds down since March 6. Remember? Slimming down...) listening to my IPod Nano. I have tons of music and podcasts I have on the device and was letting it ride its way through the list of artists in the somewhat random way that IPods often have - regardless of human attempts at intervention.
Before this I would watch movies on my PSP as a way to occupy treadmill time - since it can sometimes get so damned tedious. I used to try to read but my eyes are just no good for that because of the motion and distance from the book holder. So, instead, as I power walked my belly away, I watched UMD movies. I watched "Into The Blue" with Jessica Alba - pretty much to see her since there weren't any particularly redeeming qualities of the movie itself - which kind of sucked. I then followed this with the 3 hours of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I liked a lot -though it tailed off and ended rather abruptly actually. I watched Hitch with the always liked-by-me Will Smith - even though this particular movie was airplane fare for about five different flights I was on last year. Watching a movie on the PSP was a really cool way to get through the treadmill torture time continuum. Rather than a slow dance on a fast belt, time would fly as I watched in 30 or 40 minute segments each day. But, there came a time that I ran out of PSP movies to watch.Since I didn't have time to go find another one or two - and watching two or three of the PSP movies weekly at $20-$30 a pop could get pricey, out came my Nano and it went into action.
This morning, I listened to "Straight Up," by Paula Abdul back when she was pretty cool - which, now that I think about was either the late '80s or never; "Are You Experienced" by Jimi Hendrix; "Superman," by Five for Fighting; "Beep" by the Pussycat Dolls and "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt."
All songs I either really like or they have some connection to me in some way...
(PG goes into the misty upstairs of his house and the scene cuts over to...)
Act I, Scene 2: Cutaway
(Scene opens at someone's business. Number of senior management types are sitting around a conference table, listening to PG jabber; he's all up in their faces, wearing his biz casual clothes, pacing the room, pointing and at times wildly gesticulating in the air - as it goes, pointing, "apropos of nothing.")
"So what do you think? You know when you hear customer value and you think about the customer experience, the closest you get to it or to what it means comes when you think about making money through customer value metrics and formulae or about business process change. And then you guys have these "process management" gurus come in and tell you how to change all your processes so that they provide a "valued customer experience" and then you ask them about the industry best practices and everyone bows to the gods of conventional thinking - but the best gods of conventional thinking. Those who have practiced the most. What's your idea there? Well, if you change your processes or you enrich them, then the customers will buy your stuff or services or be happy or satisfied or whatever. You think that works? Pffffttt!!"
Act 1, Scene 3: Surface Bubbles
(Scene cuts back to PG upstairs, now in his jeans and another Yankees tee shirt and he's at his desk - tapping out this particular blog entry)
"So, I'm on the treadmill and settling into a sorta pleasant state of mind, listening at the time to "Superman" by Five for Fighting and the song ends and there is a really brief pause. Then I realize that the next song "Beep" by Pussycat Dolls just started. Then I realized that I'm mentally ticking off the length of each song as it finishes (3 minutes, 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes etc.) and I look at my watch (one of the Polar heartbeat watches that monitors your heart rate and records it so it can be uploaded) and I'm doing this after each song. And the time starts to move slower than it had before I realized that I'm unconsciously ticking off the minutes in small bites. Its just plain - discontinuous."
(Strains of "James Blunt's You're Beautiful" begin to float into PG's head:
You're beautiful, you're beautiful;
You're beautiful, its true.
I saw your face in a crowded place
and I don't know what to do.
as he begins to muse even more about what seems to be an insight that's trying hard to surface)
Act I, Scene 4: Back to the Boardroom
(PG continues to pace the floor with these execs staring at him, not particularly amused or even into it all that much with the exception, as PG notices, of two of the senior management. He makes a mental note to focus his discussion around them)
"You think so internally. What you think customer value is is what you can extract from that customer. But did you ever consider that their idea of value is very different than yours? That while value to you as a stakeholder in this business is your bottom and top line improvements and your value to your shareholders; value to a customer has a much different meaning. God. I mean, you're customers aren't you? You buy stuff. You spend money. You don't like to feel like a metric or a line item do you? What do you guys think when you're out in the world doing something that isn't your business? How do you see value then? Do you ascertain the financial value of everything you ever bought or the efficiencies that the items provide to you or the process improvements the items will bring to your household? Did you ever buy anything on a whim? Because that day you "felt like it." Or because you thought it was "cool?" Sure you have. AND you've bought things because of their utilitarian value - because it would improve your "processes" at home? Maybe help you mow a lawn because you could ride around on it? Or maybe you bought a George Foreman grill because it cooked "good" or a Weber because the cooking was even better and more even and allowed you to cook more items for when you barbecued. Process improvement? Shur. But a serious limitation will continue to produce ordinary thinking until first, you realize that processes are simply organized ways to act in the world that seem to suit you or your company or your culture and second, when you think about the customer value associated with those processes, you aren't just dealing with bottom and top line improvements or best practices, you are thinking about providing value to that customer who's experience with you is based on interactions they have with you that are MEANINGFUL to them. But finding out what meaningful value is to a customer is a pretty tricky thing. Who knows actually why the customer buys until you ask them? Who knows what their motivations are until you stop presuming for them. Stop formalizing everything into a well-boxed set of practices, neatly bowed, that are tidy. Instead probe the idea of not just value in the statistical/mathematical measurement sense but instead in the emotional and behavioral. , What motivates a customer to buy from you can change from moment to moment, might be really weird but if you dig and find out what's the actual reason they buy things as opposed to the apparent reason that you presume, you could make some real breakthroughs in how to conduct your business. Think about this. Most people don't have a goal to be efficient in life, but to be happy in life. We want to leave a legacy, not a set of metrics when we leave this plane. That's the earthly one. Not the air one. Apply that to your business, which, after all is nothing but a part of life. To apply it appropriately, delve into the mind and emotions of your customer so that you can see what's meaningful to them. But to do this, you have to be ready to let the customers drive some of your strategizing with you and for you. So- Is you is or is you ain't ready?"
Act I, Scene 5: Breakonthrough To the Other Side
(PG is still at his desk but he's drumming his fingers and playing with a USB cable while he figures out what the hell is weird about this entire blog entry)
"God. You know what I just figured out? How weird is this?
I'm thinking about spending between $40 and $90 a week to buy PSP movies. And for what? To speed up time?
I mean, even though I'm listening to the Nano and ticking off the time of the songs, which then makes time seem go slower than if I were visually engaged in watching a PSP movie for 25-35 minutes, the reality is that 25-35 minutes is 25-35 minutes no matter how fast or slow it SEEMS.
So I'm spending or willing to spend all this money for a friggin' feeling. Watch the movie, time goes fast; listen to the Nano, time goes slow. But reality tells you that time goes - period. Regardless of whether it seems fast or slow. But since I'm interested in it feeling it go fast, I'm gonna shell out significant weekly bucks to do that. Am I nuts? Yeah, I guess so. But I'm still gonna shell out the bucks."
Act I, Scene 6: The Final Scene
(The stage is dark with a spotlight focused on PG, the stakeholder execs around the conference table are in the back of the stage with a bit of dimmed lighting so they can be seen but not prominently, as they sit, watching PG in a sort of ethereal setting as he wanders his office thinking out loud - as always. The senior management stakeholders are eerily quiet as PG starts a soliloquoy to closure)
"So what does all this mean? That's kind of the point. These stakeholders won't know until they ask me. I mean why is Paul Greenberg going to shell out on the average of $70 or so per week or two on PSP movies? Does he love the PSP that much? Is he enamored of the UMD format, which doesn't compare to an ordinary DVD though is pretty good? No, I'm not doing that. I'm doing it to speed up time that actually moves at the same speed no matter what I do. Weird stuff. Very weird stuff? But that's meaningful value to me even though there is no ACTUAL process improvement whatsoever. The process of time just keeps ticking but the feeling makes me want to spend to have it over and over - and get slim in the bargaiin. I wonder if Sony would ask me about meaningful value?
(The lights go out, the curtain falls but projected onto the curtain is the following slide)