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should i cut my prices???/the world is flat

updated thu 26 jan 06


Michael Shernick on wed 25 jan 06

On Thu, 23 Feb 2006 23:25:28 -0700, Joseph Herbert

>Probably be better to raise them.

>It really seems that there is no possibility of competing with foreign
>sources of pottery on the basis of price. If price is not something we
>use to separate ourselves from that flood, perhaps our selves are the
>Joseph Herbert

Joseph has hit the nail exactly on the head!

Read Thomas Friedman's book, "The World Is Flat," which is about the
breaking down of the trade barriers we are now experiencing between the US
and especially Asia. Friedman points out that to survive in a "flat" world
(which is a world where we can just as easily hire someone in Bangalore as
we can someone in Bangor), you have to think of your job/work/livelihood
as falling into one or more of the following 4 categories:

Unique - Peter Voulkos was unique. Not everyone can be or will be as good
or as well known as Voulkos. Very few people are in this category, but if
you are, your livelihood is largely based on it (think also of Bill Gates,
Michael Jordan, etc.).

Specialized - Mel Jacobsen is specialized with his shinos - everyone on
this list knows him as the expert for that. Same with a heart surgeon who
is one of only 5 in the world doing a specific kind of surgery. If you're
specialized, then you get clientele who ask for you due to your expertise.

Highly Adaptable - The ability to change, embrace change, change quickly,
reinvent oneself, move, try new things, think outside of the box, etc.
Vince Pitelka's innovations with tools not only make him a specialist, but
also allows him to be highly adaptable.

Anchored - You keep your livelihood because the service or product you
provide cannot be outsourced or off-shored. This is exactly what Joseph
hit on with his post about making localized pots. Other examples of
anchored jobs include most trades (plumbers, electricians, etc.).

So, Joseph is definitely on the right track. Lowering your prices to
compete with Wal Mart will only hurt you. The way to compete with Wal-Mart
and similar is to make sure you fall into one or more of the 4 categories
Friedman has identified and then work it for all it's worth. And read
Friedman's book to have your eyes opened as to where we're headed!!


Michael Shernick
(An IT worker who works with very nice people in Bangalore who do
great work, have a great attitude and work ethic, and are every bit as
good as my colleagues here. The writing is on the wall....)