Heard Malcolm Matson of Oplan speak the other day. While his whole speech was memorable, two one-liners were so memorable I didn’t even need to write them down. (Which I did anyway.) One was Dare to to the right thing first. The other was The customer owns the customer.
The latter comment called to mind a conversation I had a few months ago with a high-ranking executive at a large retail company that prides itself in caring about its customers. By my own estimation, this is a company with an enviable reputation for being both good at what they do and morally good (relatively speaking) as well. At one point he talked about “owning the customer”. I asked, “What’s a word for ‘owning’ a human being?” “Oh my God”, he replied. “It’s slavery!” Then he said he was amazed, in respect to wht had just become obvious, at how much people at his company talked about customers as if literal ownership were both desirable as well as a fact.
Such legacies die hard. And it’s the customers themselves who will have to kill this one.
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