By B. Joseph Pine and Kim C. Korn
We all know the Internet is key to the business mix. But in some business sectors—particularly those that heavily involve a “real world experience” like fly fishing—striking the balance between virtual and being there is a major challenge.
Infinite Possibility is the best brass tacks discussion of how to meet that challenge that I’ve read. Early in the book, Joe Pine states that what we desperately need in business today is experience innovation.
“Why? Because we are now in an Experience Economy, where experiences—memorable events that engage people in inherently personal ways—have become the predominant economic offering. It eclipsed the Service Economy that flowered in the latter half of the twentieth century, which in turn superseded the Industrial Economy, which itself supplanted the Agrarian Economy.”
At face value, that’s good news for the fly tackle dealer. After all, they are in the experience business, aren’t they? But alas, turning that platform into a profit reality is far more complex than making friends with the Internet, and on the other hand, offering coffee and donuts in the shop.
What most of us in this business are really wrestling with—the gorilla in the room, so to speak—is the issue of commoditization. Sure, if you’re dealing in flies by a destination river, maybe that commodity is the foundation of a successful operation. But sooner or later, be that through Big Box, online sales, direct sales, or something else, we run into a competitor that has an advantage, at least when it comes to selling rods, reels, lines, and bugs like hammers and nails, or sugar and spices.
If you’re trying to get your mind around all of these things (and who is not?), I recommend reading this book. It will help you take a closer look at your business model, and also help you move away from selling “things” to selling “experiences” in a way that matters. You don’t need an advanced business degree to decipher the lessons here. It’s all laid out in a plainspoken, honest format. It will help you fuse the real and the virtual realms for effect.
Ultimately, unlike many business-focused books that point out how high your hill to climb really is, reading this book will make you sense what can happen. It will make you realize you may be in a catbird’s seat, and it will motivate you to control your destiny.