Saturday, August 22, 2009

The E-Myth Regurgitated

I'm in my studio working on my next project, and I'm listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.

This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. His statements are so infuriating to me, it's going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book--I'm not even halfway.

One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused. The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don't realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills. Makes sense to me--don't like it, but it makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn't thinking about how to make the business run without him. That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you. That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.

And then he goes on to hold up McDonald's as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.

I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated. Literally. You wanna know why business is in trouble today? Because people took this guy's perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person. If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end... Yuck.

What's the point? Vacations?

People don't want that anymore. They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that. They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.

Good business is not continual growth anymore. Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that. "Sorry, but that's business," has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks. People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them. Business has to be deeper, it has to matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process. There are too many options out there to spend money. People have a choice, and they're wary of big business.

Business is people now, not consistent product en masse. You can get product anywhere. Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it's given us the economy is has?

Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather. I have got good stuff out of it. I just don't like where he's taking his ideas thus far...

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