Book Reviews Competition Starbucks The Slight Edge

Dangerous boys vs play dates

As some of you know, I am the Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop here in Columbia Falls. Others of you know that I used to be on the Montana board for Scouts, but that’s a story for another day. A friend referred me to this book, and noted that it speaks of many of the things we 30-40-50 somethings did as kids that it seems more and more kids aren’t exposed to these days.

In a world of play dates and kids who don’t even know what stitches are, our Scouts still go out in the woods on 100 mile treks into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, float for a week in a canoe following Lewis and Clark’s trek down the Missouri River and find excitement in similar adventures. A group of Scouts from California are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro during the summer of 2008 and have invited our troop along for the adventure. How many kids get a chance to do stuff like that?

This book can give your kid a taste of the harsh, rough, adventurous, awesome times we had as boys in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Let em at it, a couple of stitches never really hurt anyone. You turned out fine, didn’t you?

What does this have to do with business? Everything.

Think about how homogenized business has become, generally speaking. If you’re a franchise, that’s exactly what you want, because part of the attraction of a franchise is that you can depend on the same experience in Pottawatomie as you can in Anchorage or Lafayette Louisiana.

If you aren’t a franchise, it’s a great thing to be up against – someone else’s homogenization.

Those boring franchises and big box stores that you’re up against are just like a play date. Not even comparable to a trip to the Bob Marshall Wilderness or a week on the Missouri River. Your big weapon against the big boxes and franchises is differentiation – something most of them arent even allowed to try.