Every business has unique and interesting things happening around them.
Many of them neglect to tell that story.
I just read this excellent story by Jay Abraham, author of "Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got," on how Schlitz beer came to #1 in the United States -
Years ago Schlitz Beer boosted themselves from #9 in the market to #1 in six months through a simple process. Back then, everybody and their brother was a commodity. They were all saying, "Our beer is good because it is pure." And there was nothing distinctive about that.
A person who happened to be a marketing expert toured the Schlitz brewing factory, and he was incredulous and amazed. The facility was on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The first thing that struck him was the fact that even though they were right on the shore of a water source, they had dug down 5,000 feet and had three artesian wells to draw up water because it had to be a certain mineral content, and it had to be a certain purity. That fascinated him.
Then he walked inside and he saw the way they brewed their beer. The beer was brewed by a method that started with a mother yeast cell, which was the basic progenitor or creator of all the subsequent yeast that was used to brew the beer. That yeast cell was the result of 1,537 different experiments that the Schlitz Brewing research team had conducted to find the perfect balance, the perfect embodiment ofyeast, one that would produce balance, richness, taste, and robustness.
After they had created the perfect yeast cell, they then went through a purification process which was amazing. First, there were massive rooms with six foot thick glass plate walls where water was condensed and distilled, and condensed and distilled - three or four times so that it had all the impurities taken out of it.
Then the bottling plant - they took bottles and then cleansed them three times. Then they put them into live steam at 1500 degrees. The bottles then went through one more cleansing and purification process before they added the purified water to it, and then added the yeast product.
At the end of the production line there were samplers who would arbitrarily pull off one bottle out of every 150 and taste them. Occasionally they would reject entire batches because they were slightly off. Most people would never have noticed, but their samplers would.
At the end of this tour, this man was incredulous. He said, "My God, why in the world don't you tell the marketplace how distinctive and unique your beer processing and manufacturing function is?" And the owners said, "Well, because everybody makes it, plus or minus, that way." The expert said, "But the world doesn't know that, and the first person to explain it to them will gain proprietary advantage."
They allowed him to do just that, and in six short months their beer rose from being #9 in sales to being #1 - and stayed there for about 20 years.
Brilliant story. While many processes seem mundane on the inside, the outside doesn't know about them and would be fascinated to hear how things work.
The story about is from Abraham's "Mediocrity to Millions," but it doesn't seem to be on sale any more - pick up a copy if you can see it, because it's excellent. His most-referenced work is Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got which also seems excellent.
In 2006, I quit the vast majority of intoxicants. I don't drink, I don't use recreational drugs, I don't smoke tobacco, I don't drink soda, and I am working on quitting all sweets entirely, and largely succeeding. I am not one for fine dining, and not frequently one for other forms of hedonism.
I usually do not advertise this - I might write about it for people who wish to know what I do, but I do not bring it up in conversation unless it comes up. But occasionally it does come up, and a common reaction is someone saying, half-joking, "Then why bother living?"
I think I understand. Many people do jobs they dislike for causes they feel nothing about. This must wreak havoc on a man's spirit. Most people spend more of their waking time on their work than any other thing - I can only imagine what spending the bulk of my time on something I disliked would feel like. Or worse, not even something I disliked - but something I felt very neutral about.
If a man's occupation becomes a slow crushing of his spirit, then of course he would need high energy, and high impact to free him from it. He needs to fit all of his leisure into his remaining waking time - from 6PM at night to 10PM when he is home from work, on the two days of his weekend, and his vacation time each year. Of course, not even that time is all his own - he still has to commute, run errands, do admin, do necessary little things. The reality of the situation is far worse - most people don't live bad lives, they just move slowly and quietly through things they don't particularly care for.
Of course, if a man only had 5% of his waking time to himself, he would want to maximize this time in the easiest, most surefire way of producing pleasure and relaxation. Who could blame this man? I don't. If I was suffering through a soul-killing occupation and had very little time, I would want to make sure that the time I did have was very enjoyable.
Today's story is dedicated to my good friend Austin. I moved from Boston to Austin my freshman year of high school and of course had no friends here. On the very first day I made friends with the people who remain my best friends to this day, and I consider that to be perhaps the most fortunate event of my life.
One of those friends is Austin. Now in the military flying whirly-copters, he used to be the one guy (well, actually I could pretty much always count on Terry too) who would always be in for a crazy plan.
This scheme fell right into our laps.