Building a Slow Business
Today seems like the appropriate day to write this post. It’s Friday 24th November. Black Friday.
In the beginning I didn’t plan to open an online store. I wanted to change the world - but needed to find a way to turn it into a business.
What did I want to change in the world? I’ll explain.
Humans have been hacked. The very essence of what allowed us to survive six million years, is now being exploited to sustain a model of consumption that is destroying the planet, and destroying us. It’s the last part that I wanted to do something about.
Technology has been the catalyst. Specifically, the internet and smartphones. In just ten years, they have shaped and morphed human nature in a way that previously may have taken hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
How have we been hacked? By whom? Why?
Ironically, the very instincts that allowed humans to survive on this planet, are now the ones that threaten us the most. Industry knows this, but now has the tools to take it to another level.
Abundance, convenience and distraction. This is how we were hacked.
Industry found out how to keep us in a constant state of desire and want. Our taste buds were hacked to keep our brains constantly craving cheap unhealthy foods - even if it means eating ourselves to death. Our dopamine receptors were hacked, and now through smartphones, we live in a constant state of distraction. This works well for business, because whilst we’re addicted to dopamine sparks in the brain, and whilst we’re distracted, we can be harvested for every piece of our consciousness, hung by the feet and relieved of every pound, euro and dollar we may have.
So, today, we rarely talk to each other, we don’t look up from our smartphones, we eat too much, buy too much, and have sacrificed real human interaction for the illusion of a connected virtual framework that in the end is nothing but a hack for our dopamine receptors. Social network - the irony is painful.
So you see the dilemma. How the hell do I turn this mission, into a business - into something I can support my family with, whilst still effecting change. Perhaps most important of all, if I want to do something about over-consumption, how is starting another store part of any possible solution?
Well, it does play a role, and, as The Revive Club approaches its first birthday, I’m starting to see how it all fits together.
The answer to over-consumption is of course not no-consumption - but smarter. The change must come from empowering people to see they’ve been hacked, and regain control of their minds. That doesn’t happen from hiding your smartphone. It comes from using it on your terms; on better terms. Choosing not to open a store will not change anything - but perhaps opening a store with different values may. A store that can prosper through a different relationship with it’s market and customers.
I think, that perhaps opening a store, is the only way to demonstrate the change that I’d so much like to see elsewhere. I know it’s a much used reference but as Mahatma Gandhi said, “you must be the change you want to see in the world”.
The Revive Club will be doing this by doing two things. First, by hopefully showing that a business can prosper whilst promoting sensible consumption. You will see this in the way we buy products, how we sell them to you, and importantly how we market to you. The second way is something I’ve been working on since day one. The Revive Days.
The Revive Days will be a series of annual events, workshops and talks that will help restore your human perspective. Seemingly simple acts such as making and repairing things, learning valuable human skills, conversation, friendships…..become part of a restorative experience. Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be posting more details on The Revive Days and how you can be involved.
To make all this happen, and stay in business won’t be easy of course. Competing at the sharp end of business is unforgiving. Simply to survive, a business must use every tool in the box to outwit the competition, and own the customer. But can you survive or prosper as a business, if you choose not to play by these rules?
There has to be a better model of business and consumption - a different way to run the race. To do this we need to change the rules of the race. Consumers must drive that change. Change that puts value and merit in how you run the race, not how fast you run.
So this is why it’s the perfect day to write this post. I hope this post will explain why Black Friday is something we could not possibly consider doing. We’ll still be here on Saturday, and so will you.
Revive Club founder