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Krugman was wrong?

By Dr. Burt Smith November 30th, 2015

wrongOh no, you may be thinking. Krugman was wrong? Say it ain’t so! Not Krugman!

To be honest, I had never heard of Paul Krugman until I ran across this little tidbit on a Motley Fool Podcast.

Paul Krugman is an economist who, in 1996, said that by 2005 or so the economic impact of the internet will be no greater than that of the fax machine. Well, oopsie, I guess.

You can learn more about him and the infamous quote Here if you like.

What it amounts to is that a smart guy just made a wrong prediction. And according to him, he was taken out of context anyway.

The more relevant point is that nobody has all the answers. The remedy is to boldly seek knowledge from a bunch of sources, then  make your own decisions. Do your own thinking!


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Thanksgiving 2015

By Dr. Burt Smith November 22nd, 2015

Thanks for welcoming me into your inbox every week!

Thanksgiving e-card 2015 JPEG


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Wrigley’s says gum sales are down. Why? Largely because of technology. Yes, you read that correctly. Technology.

Most chewing gum is sold at the checkout counter thanks to its being conveniently placed right by the register as you complete your shopping experience. In days gone by, the colorful displays and packaging might catch the customer’s eye and entice a purchase. But today, buyer behavior has changed. Rather than browse the displays, shoppers at checkout stands are often preoccupied, if not completely absorbed, with their smartphones.

Recall from posts-past, such as this one, that you have two basic categories of competition. Direct and indirect. Wrigley is the leader, the dominant force in the chewing gum category, yet they are now facing their toughest competition from an indirect competitor in the form of the smartphone.

So what’s a marketer to do?

One of the nation’s largest media firms, the Hearst Corporation, has researched what areas of the store are less prone to shoppers grabbing for their phones, and have started placing magazine displays in such areas of grocery stores so they won’t have to  compete with the smartphone.  Coke and Pepsi have sought different locations in the store with these concerns in mind as well.

We can’t control the forces of the environment, but they can sometimes be predicted. By always doing your own environmental analysis, you may not only avoid being blindsided by a threat, you may be able to more quickly take actions to counter it.

If we knew what were doing it wouldn’t be called research” – Albert Einstein


Your best source of marketing is satisfied customers. Take care of them and you pretty much won’t have to worry about having enough business. If you want to test this theory, think about your own experiences as a consumer.

Jerry Murrell, founder Five Guys Burgers & Fries, said it superbly in an INC Magazine article:

We figure our best salesman is our customer. Treat that person right, he’ll walk out the door and sell for you. From the beginning, I wanted people to know that we put all our money into the food. That’s why the décor is so simple – red and white tiles. We don’t spend our money on décor. Or on guys in chicken suits. But we’ll go overboard on food.”


How do you get MORE business? Just do GOOD business!


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Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely. – Kay Lyons

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Purple Heart Trail - Just across the Texas line on I-40

Purple Heart Trail

Writing a few words each year at this time to say THANKS to all the veterans is always something I look forward to doing. Ironically, it’s also become possibly the most difficult post I write each year. That’s not just because the subject matter packs so much emotion when you really stop and think about how we would have no free market without the freedom provided by our veterans. Nor is it simply because my own father’s service means more to me each year (more on that here if you’re interested).

The reason this post has gotten so much more difficult for me to do each year is because I know so many of YOU good folks who honor me by reading my writings each week have worn our country’s uniform. And when I’ve asked you if I can mention you by name and thank you in digital print for what you’ve done, you have each politely, but firmly, declined. The reason being that you don’t feel like your service was anything special. You have flatly told me you’re just doing your duty and that you’d feel uncomfortable with me doing anything other than leaving it at that.

I’m tempted to argue. I’m tempted to point out that even if you are a service man or woman reading this who did not serve in a combat situation or during a conflict, you still took an oath to defend this great nation of ours and that oath you took could have very easily landed you in harms way. And how knowing that and still, willingly, taking that oath indeed makes you very important to my family and millions of other American’s you’ll likely never meet, whether or not it’s your desire to be considered so. 

But rather than push the issue, or embarrass or offend you, I’ll simply close with my heartfelt appreciation for your service to our country, and remind us all of the debt we owe you.

Lest we forget, no freedom, no free market.

Veterans, THANK YOU!

 This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” —Elmer Davis


P.S. – Hey, if you’re interested in a good series about WWII, professor Thomas Childers has a program called “WWII: A Military and Social History” and you can find a copy at the Oklahoma City Public Library. I actually got it on audio and am listening to it in my car. Another good series, also at the library, is Ken Burns’ “The War.” 


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