Sometimes The Old Dog Teaches You The New Tricks

Old Man

Two days ago the girl in the picture gave me specific instructions on how I should be dressing and what sort of things I need to do in life to be successful.

Or maybe she did it yesterday, can’t say I really remember because even though it was by telephone that little monster was still working her magic on me and was doing her best to make sure that daddy’s girl got her way.

She also made a point of telling me to be quiet so I could hear her brother ignoring the fact that it was her own voice preventing me from hearing. Had anyone else done it they might have been skinned alive but daughters have a history of making their fathers bend to their will, or at least they think we do.

On behalf of fathers everywhere let me assure you it doesn’t happen every time because sometimes the old dog is the one teaching you new tricks.

Assumptions, Certainties and Absolute Truths

When we look at business there are assumptions, certainties and absolute truths that we all work with. Some of them are based upon facts that are measurable and some of them are based upon experiences that are indescribable.

What we really should focus upon are absolute truths such as our success is contingent upon identifying the pain points of our customers and then providing solutions to those pain points.

That is neither profound nor insightful but it is important to think about because all too frequently we lose the laser focus on the needs of our customers and start thinking about what our personal preferences are.

Sometimes those personal preferences intersect with with what our customers needs are and things work out because our focus is in the right place but oftentimes our focus drifts and we wander into dark territory.

The Chocolate Free Donut Shop

For example the girl in the picture has a brother who wants to open a donut shop that doesn’t sell chocolate because he hates it. When he was a bit younger he thought it was inconceivable that anyone could like chocolate and to him it made perfect sense to open a chocolate free shop.

It took a bit of doing but I convinced the then five year-old boy that it made sense to offer products that many people wanted and that doing so would help him make more money which would enable him to purchase more Legos.

Sadly if that donut shop comes into being it will be years after we broke the bank purchasing Thomas The Tank Engine gear which reminds me, If I ever meet Sir Topham Hat I am going to stick my size 12 boot in his behind, but I digress.

Alongside the chocolate free donut shop is my daughter’s idea for a clothing line/store that accents her passion for fashion and proves that dear old dad has none.

I suppose it is almost cliche to mention such a thing but her certainty that my style is dated, tired and worn ignores the popularity of the 80s and eighties fashion. Her assumption ignores my certainty that it is cool and that is not based solely upon the popularity of Some Styles Are Eternal- Long Live The ’80s.

Down Comes The Hammer On Millenials

More than a few of the Millenials I know have complained about Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy and have made a point to try to explain to me how I just don’t understand their situation because things weren’t nearly as bad when I graduated college as it has been for them.

I pointed out it is a flawed assumption based upon the certainty of personal experience and not facts. There was a recession when I graduated and jobs were scarce too.

During a different discussion with a different person I was told that every smart marketer would use Facebook because everyone is on it. That was another assumption based upon the certainty of experience.

If you translate both of these discussions into the business world they fall into the same trap I mentioned above with a focus that doesn’t spend enough time looking at the needs of the customer because we have assumed that role.

It is a mistake and something smart businesses try to avoid. The focus should stay on the needs of the customer.

One More Thing

This old dog had to teach the digital natives (my children) how to use the remote and the computer. So it is true, sometimes the old dog is the one teaching the tricks.