A Walk On The Beach

It’s been so long since we walked on Moonlight Beach. Either of us. Today I convinced her to go to Encinitas and look at a couple of dream houses that we could afford if I sell a zillion books. Maybe a couple zillion. I do want to get back there. It’s where I’m from originally. My native land, so to speak. Spoiled? Maybe. But we can’t help where we’re from. I just happen to be from a beach community in beautiful Southern California. Now we live 1/2 an hour inland.

In a way I guess I feel like I have a right to live there. I know I felt really good walking with my wife along the ocean there. And sitting on a bench at the top of the hill just in front of Moonlight. We got some sun during our walk and our sitting. Not too much. I can feel the impact on my body as I used to feel when I was just a kid.

Back then we didn’t worry about sunburn too much. I don’t think we knew that it could lead to skin cancer. Just leathery skin. And we had a cute neighbor who was really, really tan. I saw her years later and I don’t think she had had cancer. She did have the leathery skin. She was still cute. We lived on a little street back then. L-shaped. Patty Lane in Leucadia, which is a community of Encinitas.

We looked at a couple houses just across Pacific Coast Highway right above the beach today. Upwards of $2 Million for a 2000 square foot house with not much yard. If you want a place across the street that’s truly right next to the ocean that will cost you $3 Million. And what a beautiful view of the ocean out your backdoor you’ll have.

I know lots of people think this kind of real estate is preposterous. Keep in mind that there is plenty of wealth in the world. I’m not talking about anything airy-fairy or new agey here. If you divide the amount of wealth that exists in the world by the number of people in the world you will find that there is a really big number available to each person. More than a billion dollars per person. I’d just like a few million.

What so many people have lost sight of is this: If you provide value, people will pay you for it.

Especially here in the United States I have seen it. People think in terms of a job or even a career and they don’t always think of what value they bring to the table. It’s not enough to be nice and helpful. How helpful are you? If you help 10 people that’s wonderful, but if you help 10,000 then it’s likely you’ll get paid more on average.

Steve Jobs said that you have to provide something that people want. I’m pretty sure I got that right and if I didn’t I’m sure it was just that you can add in something that people need. But Steve certainly did create something that people want. So many people want those products enough to pay good money for lots of them. I daresay that he also provided people with an experience. Some people call it a cult and if it is I think it’s a pretty harmless one.

Apple customers like quality. They also like that there are many other people who share their ideas about quality and the experience of using the quality products in their lives on a regular basis. They like that there is a community of sorts.

When I say quality I don’t mean what some people sometimes commoditize and then forget about. Lots and lots of people in the world don’t really seem to mind if they get lower quality stuff or just ok stuff. But those who do like a better experience using the product are willing to pay more and Steve Jobs figured that out early on.

He also noticed that people like innovation. That’s part of the experience. You get to have some capabilities earlier than other people or the functionality of the products is so much higher that it’s a more enjoyable experience to use it.

I’m amazed that some people just don’t get this.

If people enjoy something more, many of them will pay more for it. Seems pretty simple.

We got a weedeater the other day and I don’t enjoy the manual which has all these warnings. I can’t even store the battery in a metal shed because that could cause it to get too hot. I understand that we can only do so much with certain technologies, but that seems pretty basic. When you get a metal shed they should warn you that some of the stuff that you want to store in there is not safe to store in there. But why were you getting the metal shed in the first place? You simply wanted to store your rakes, brooms, shovels and the like?

People who think this stuff through create better products.

Sometime in the last year or so I bought a pair of toenail clipper at one of the chain pharmacies. Not too long after I bought it it started to rust. Really? The manufacturer didn’t think that I would like something in the bathroom drawer that remained rust-free? When I was growing up I don’t recall ever buying a replacement pair of clippers like that. I’m not saying that my parents never did that, but I never remember seeing rust on one? I doubt that they were replacing the clippers regularly and I never noticed.

My dad was not a big spender on most things, but he was generally wise about what he bought. It was going to be sturdy and it was generally going to last. Sure, in my family my mom did most of the household spending, but my dad’s philosophy certainly had a huge influence. My family lived on a budget and there’s no way my mom would have bought clippers that could rust so quickly. It’s just that back then I don’t think it would have been easy to find toenail clippers that would start to deteriorate so rapidly. They simply made things better.

Notwithstanding breakthroughs in technology, manufacturers did a better job of putting out a quality product in most cases. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that my mom had a foot-powered sewing machine in the early 1970’s. That was probably from the 1940’s or earlier and it lasted. It was well built.

When I buy a product that starts to fall apart so quickly I want to tell the place that I did business that I would rather not do business with them anymore and that I’ll encourage others to do the same. It astonishes me how many places of business don’t actually care. Even in this economy.

And then they wonder why they’re closing their doors. Amazing.



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