Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gilgamesh and Web 2.0.

It might be heresy but I happen to think Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 or the Web turned upside down is so much hogwash.

Why?

Because such phrases are merely digital argot designed to make Web seem complex and inscrutable. Only web guys can get it. That's bunk. The Web doesn't matter. Good communication does.

Now not long ago I read (not in the original Sumerian) one of the first books ever written, the epic Gilgamesh. It's over 5,000 years old and it was pretty riveting. Gilgamesh got me going and here's what I concluded:

I don't think communication principles have changed since the beginning of time. Techniques have. Principles haven't. So to that end, and thanks to Gilgamesh, here goes:

8 Retail Principles
By Gilgamesh ibn Mahmoud, proprietor,
Gilgamesh’s Date and Camel Hut,
Sumer, Mesopotamia
3323 BC

  1. Be nice to everyone who enters the store. If you don’t know them by name, attempt to learn their name—and their interests—so you can greet them by name the next time you see them.
  2. Based on what your customers have bought before, make suggestions on what might interest them now. Suggest but don’t be pushy.
  3. Reward customers who come back. Often I give my best customers special service, my son. First dibs on the freshest dates from the greenest valleys over the high sand hills of Nod. You know what I mean. Quid pro quo.
  4. We sell a relationship. Not dates and camels. In other words, service the products and services you sell. If the camel you sold Mrs. Weintraub pulls up lame, give her a loaner until we can rehabilitate it. An expensive business practice, yes, but good for the long haul. My son, repeat business is what it’s all about.
  5. Hire the smile. Remember Annukaki, the bearded one with the scimitar in his belt? Not a good hire. The gestalt of our shop should be friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, my boy. A smile is your face to the world and must appear whenever a customer shops with us. Even Mrs. Weintraub and her lousy Bactrian.
  6. Choices lead to sales. Yes, dates and fish are an Emperor’s dish, but what if you have only Medjools and the Emperor wants Deglet Noors? A severe pain might ensue from where your hand once was. You cannot anticipate all, my son. You must provide choices.
  7. The customer is Caliph, my son. Make it easy for the customer. Thank the customer. Provide the customer with service and he will reward you with loyalty.
  8. Don’t point. Show. If a customer says, ‘what aisle are the dromedaries in?’ don’t gesture and say, ‘over there, buddy.’ Take the customer to the dromedaries. When you show the customer where the merchandise is, when make things easy to find, they’re apt to buy more.
Though all of the principles above can be applied to Web design, it's not Web 2.o we should worry about. It's People 1.o.

2 comments:

tore's tour said...

Long live the truth.

Marianne said...

How many camels do we owe you for that tidbit of wisdom?