April 5, 2005
Excerpts: Passionate Loss
In the beginning, there was an entrepreneur with a noble idea to make life better through a new product or service. This entrepreneur used passion to create and sell new products. In fact, the company was running on passionwhich was contagious and caught customer attention. This passion also drove the company to understand customers better (as well as the reasons they purchase products). Then the company grew, and the bean counters took over. They processed everything and stripped away the most important intangible asset: passion. Without a passion for customers, no strategy will work.
Products and customers are two separate entities, which require glue or chemistry to connect them. Without this chemistry, the product is just another set of capabilities. It is actually not the products or services but the way they interact with customers that creates the appeal and the drive to purchase. For many young companies, the passion provides the gluea personal touch that makes the product or service appealing. Without this passion, the product becomes undifferentiated and similar to competitive offerings. It loses the chemistry that makes it desirable. Companies will repeatedly deny that they have lost passion when in fact they have, and in the process they have lost the bond with the customer. Loss of passion means losing the core reason for being in business and often equates to sinking into the abyss of commoditization in the name of cost control.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.