Can you manufacture scarcity?

Variety of Scarcity” by bryanesque is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Recently I was reading an article my dad sent me about +Bobby Flay and his new mission to open a new restaurant in Manhattan–a city with plenty of restaurants already.

It got me thinking. Something like 80% of small businesses fail, and a large number of those are restaurants. So, if a certain type of business has a shelf life, why don’t we exploit that and build it into the business model?

What I am pitching here could be a billion-dollar concept, assuming you can figure out how to lower overhead and control costs. What if you opened a restaurant with an incredible chef, trendy decor, fresh menu items and everything that food critics are clamoring for, but then tell the world that the restaurant will only be open for 9 months. Can you manufacture scarcity?

After time, the restaurant is doomed to fatigue, grow out of its honeymoon period, wither and become stale. People will stop talking about it, and the food costs will rise as the revenues subside. However, if you knew that you could only keep that concept vibrant for a certain period of time and exploited that by telling the world, could you keep the place packed before it was time to close up shop?


The Age of "You're Doing It Wrong"

I am sitting here this morning watching +TODAY on NBC and I noticed a segment talking about selfies and a documentary that is showing how they are helping girls and their mothers boost their self esteem. The director, Cynthia Wade, encouraged the women to take their digital self-portraits without using any filters or image alteration.

Before the segment, +Carson Daly did a great job of demonstrating the differences between our definition and understanding of beauty with a simple Google image search. Carson simply searched Google Images for “beauty” and then did the same on +Instagram. The difference was obvious, Google showed us what the media wants us to think beauty is whereas the hashtag on Instagram showed not a bunch of glamour models, actresses or Photoshopped makeup ads, just a myriad of selfies showing beautiful individual smiles.

There was a popular opinion for a while that taking a selfie was a narcissistic behavior. We were warned by generations before us that we were so self-loving and needed to focus on what was important, and spending less time trying to share every moment of our lives. I’m not sure if you all felt that way, but over the last few years, I saw I bias between generations. The ones before us did not understand or appreciate the self-discovery of the later generations.

As a millennial, I am watching some incredible things unfold. I was the first generation to learn computer programming grade school BASIC, LOGO, I was the first generation to experience mainstream social media before it made it into public domain (Facebook) and now one the generations to fully experience the digital-to-analog transformation.

During this revolution is a new wave of transparency. People now exchange their thoughts, ideas and opinions more openly through social media than they ever have before. Some hide behind anonymous cloaks and others declare their thoughts openly. Regardless of how, so many people have been preaching the essence of this one phrase that just drives me wild, “you’re doing it wrong.”

Whether or not their might be a better way to accomplish something in order to attain ones own goals, it doesn’t mean that we all share the same goals. Just because something doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you should caution all others against it.

To all of those that say “you’re doing it wrong,” I offer you this one piece of advice: you’re doing it wrong.

Allow others to try things, shape their own opinions, learn from their discoveries and share what they learn. In this case, something that was condemned as narcissism (taking selfies) has transformed into a way to let people appreciate their own beauty, realize that we are all different and celebrate those differences.

My differences? When I was a teenager I had terrible acne. I still deal with some of it today. My teeth? Stained from years of smoking. In fact, I just learned yesterday that they will never be Hollywood white and I’m fine with that. My hair? Fine as you could imagine and gray as #AAAAAA in some places. My eyes? Horrible astigmatism and myopia.

You know what? This is me, and I’m pretty cool with that. I may not be Hollywood’s definition of beautiful, but I’m beautiful to someone, and that’s all that matters. If you don’t like my photo, get over it.

If you don’t think I should be taking pictures of myself, then think about this: the Internet is a place where we can connect with billions of people from the around the world. Unfortunately, 99% of this communication is through text. Unlike a face-to-face conversation, you never get to see my face. Facial expressions alone compose the majority of non-verbal communication.

My point? You can learn a lot from someone’s selfie.

The Importance of Sharing

The hardest part about sharing is finding the courage to do it.

We spend so much time during our petty existence worrying about our image. Some of us worry about sharing too much, sharing things that are too personal, or sharing things that others may not like. We feel that we have a duty to ourselves to create and preserve a certain image from which others will perceive us.

Although creating boundaries and maintaining a positive image are admirable traits, by censoring yourself, you deny yourself the opportunity to share your most important thing, you perspective. As I said on a recent post, no one can see the world like you do.

Two of the most important books that I always keep on my bookshelf are Life’s Journeys and The World According to Mister Rogers. Now, I know it may sound childish to some of you, but the concepts that Mister Rogers taught me at such a young age will forever shape who I am as a person.

One of my favorite passages from The World According to Mister Rogers is this,

“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”

Each of us has a unique story to tell. Our perception of the world is shaped by the people with interact with, the situations we were born from the actions that we take throughout our life. As we continue to absorb more information, our decisions change over time. With the more knowledge that we accumulate, the better we are to reason, question and ponder issues that will shape the future for generations before us.

No matter what your opinion, whether it is left, right, or straight down the middle, you will never make an impact unless you share your thoughts and ideas. When we collaborate and exchanges these thoughts and ideas, we learn more about ourselves and apply the knowledge to making better decisions.

By sharing, you are giving someone else information that could completely change the way they see things. By sharing, you have the power to help people better understand themselves and the issues that we face in our overly complicated world today.

As you embark on the journey of sharing, you quickly learn things about yourself. You start to pay more attention to your inner dialog, you get a better understanding for the way that you think and process ideas. As you start to share these ideas, the transmission of them becomes much more fluent, and much more comfortable.

When you decide that censoring yourself, trying to preserve some artificial sense of anonymity or convince yourself that you can make an impact, it is finally time to tell your story.

Your story will develop over time. You will say things at one point that you will later disagree with. Each day, week, month, year and decade you will accumulate new information and a better understanding for the things you ponder every day. These experiences and this additional knowledge will shape your thoughts and perspective and allow you to paint a more complete picture later in your life.

However, as you learn and experience new things, it is incredibly important to challenge them, debate them and think about them. Expressing them openly is a great way to encourage others to discuss these matters with you. From those discussions you will form great relationships, some bonds which will last a lifetime, others which will whither away. However, from sharing your thoughts, your ideas, your arguments, your hypotheses and your experiences, you will allow someone else to see the world through your eyes.

The more perspectives that you are willing to view and the more shoes you are willing to try on, the greater understanding you will have of the world around you and the issues that matter to you most.

However, if no one shares their story, their thoughts, their opinions or their ideas, you will have nothing to think of other than your preconceived notions. Without additional information to change the way you think about things, you will be stuck in whatever mindset you already have.

By sharing, we enable each other to help make the world a better place, that’s why sharing is so important.

Special thanks to +Yonatan Zunger for providing the inspiration for this post. Had he not shared this earlier post (below), I would have been without the perspective I have today.