No such thing as inauthentic experiences & coffee as a commodity, a good, a service and a experience

fri23jan2009—04w023d6%— 23h55m00s—0utc

TEDTalks haven’t been as inspiring lately but they’re still pretty good. Joseph Pine’s was mostly modern marketing thinking and occasional over-guruing, but it’s still well-delivered and worth watching for these 2 nuggets:

There is no such thing as an inauthentic experience. Why? ‘Cause the experience happens inside of us, it’s our reaction to the events that are staged in front of us. So as long as we’re in any sense authentic human beings then every experience we have is authentic. Now there may be more or less natural or artificial stimuli for the experience but even that is a matter of degree, not kind.

And there is no such thing as a 100% natural experience. Even if you go for a walk in the proverbial woods. There’s a company that manufactured the car the delivered you to the edge of the woods. There’s a company that manufactured the shoes that you have to protect yourself from the ground of the woods. There’s a company who provides the cell phone service you have in case you get lost in the woods. All of those are man-made, artificiality brought into the woods. By you, and by the very nature of being there.

The number one thing to do when it comes to being what you say you are is to provide places for people to experience who you are.. It’s not advertising, does it? That’s why you have companies like Starbucks, right? That doesn’t advertise at all. They say ‘You want to know who we are, you have to come experience us’.

And think about the economic value they have provided by that experience, right? Coffee at it’s core is, what? It’s beans, right, it’s coffee beans. You know how much coffee is worth when treated as a commodity, as a bean? 2 or 3 cents per cup, that’s what coffee is worth. But grind it, roast it, package it and put in a grocery shop shelf and now it will cost 5, 10, 15 cents when you treat it as a good. Take that same good and perform the service of actually brewing it for a customer in a corner diner, a bodega, a kiosk somewhere you get 50 cents maybe a buck per cup of coffee. But surround the brewing of that coffee with the ambiance of Starbucks, with the authentic [-seating?- cedar!] that goes inside of there and now, because of that authentic experience, you can charge 3 to 4, 5 dollars for a cup of coffe.

I also liked how he made the obvious but no less important observation that his talk very much applied to TED itself, calling it “the experience capital in the world of conferences”.

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