These days, it seems like the humorists are smarter than the analysts. Beyond The Daily Show's nightly truth-telling, The Onion has a unique ability to continually cut to the heart of the matter. Even, sometimes, when it comes to business issues.The Onion does a great job keeping tabs on the cultural zeitgeist, and that includes business and technology. So when you see your business model, or God forbid your actual business, roasted on The Onion, you know that everyone knows you're in trouble.
Last year, they nailed the odd and utter uselessness of Radio Shack. And I just came across this new video exquisitely ripping another retail chain: Historic ï¿¼Blockbusterï¿¼ Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past
If you're in the bricks and mortar retail business, you had better be paying attention. Or you might find yourself in the situation of RadioShack CEO Julian Day:
"There must be some sort of business model that enables this company to make money, but I'll be damned if I know what it is," Day said. "You wouldn't think that people still buy enough strobe lights and extension cords to support an entire nationwide chain, but I guess they must, or I wouldn't have this desk to sit behind all day."
You could say something similar about The Gap, Best Buy, Macy's, and just about any big retail chain or mom-and-pop store. I mean, unless you're selling groceries or something else you need right away, operate a unique personalized boutique, or offer some fancy-pants "shopping experience," your actual store increasingly perceived as an over-priced, under-inventoried backwater.
My advice for staying on top of trends and opportunities? Forget the pundits, prognosticators, and market researchers and stay tuned to The Onion.