Location, location, location and related stuff

There was a time when location mattered.

Location, location, location. A phrase attributed to many people, in many contexts, usually to do with restaurants, hotels and property. A phrase that may go back to 1926 or even earlier.

Location mattered because finding places was hard. So anything that made finding a place easier was valued.

Today finding a place isn’t hard any more. GPS. Google Maps. TomTom. Various types of satnav.

Today, what matters is how the establishment treats the customer. What matters is the quality of the product or service offered. What matters is how the customer and her network of friends feel about the restaurant or hotel, which in turn is based on what kind of experience they’ve had, either directly or indirectly. These are hard things to get right. Location’s easy in comparison.

So is customer experience the new “location”? In a way, but not quite. The transaction costs associated with finding places have gone down sharply. But then so have the transaction costs associated with finding out about the customer experience. All you have to do is to look up the appropriate site or service, the Zagats, the TripAdvisors.

There is a problem, though. The rating needs to be entered into the service. By the customer. Which is why we’re seeing things like the Tipping Point I referred to yesterday.

There was a time when celebrity endorsements mattered.

They mattered because finding stuff that was reliable, that worked, that was value for money, was not easy. So anything that made finding out such things simply and quickly was valued.

Today, what matters isn’t just that you’re told that something is reliable, what matters is the person doing the telling. And whether you trust that person. Which is where friends come in. The transaction costs associated with finding out about what your friends think of a product or service have gone down sharply. That’s what social networks have done. It’s no longer enough to find out what “people” think of something, what you need is to get the opinion of someone you trust.

There was a time when “hit-choosing” expertise mattered.

There was a time when it was very expensive to compose, record and sell music; when it was very expensive to conceive, write and publish books; when it was very expensive to visualise, produce, direct and release films. So you needed all kinds of experts. Experts who decided what you should like, choosing-experts. Experts who decided how the choosing-experts did, reviewing-experts, sometimes called critics. Experts who decided everything. What was funded. What was marketed. What was sold. What succeeded. What failed.

These experts mattered because the cost of finding out what you really thought, what you wanted, what you liked, what you’d be prepared to pay for something, these costs were very high. So the experts decided everything for you.

Today, there’s a new person who knows a lot about what you think, what you want, what you like, what you’d be prepared to pay.

That person is you.

There is a time when you matter.

That time is now.


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