If You Build It, They Will Pass By

The following is a true story.

This past weekend, Sana and I met some of her coworkers for lunch at the nearby mall. It was amazing hot pot (think boiling soup in front of you while you cook meat and veggies yourself) and all in all a good time.

After I had had my fill, I told Sana (my wife) that I was going to go and find one of the massage chairs they have setup around the mall and relax for a bit.

So I’m walking around the mall, looking for the chairs that you pay to sit in – and while I’m looking for them, I walked right past two separate vendors that were setup in the middle concourse of the mall that were selling massage chairs.

At one of these places, two young people were sitting on chairs, scrolling on their smart phones, oblivious to the multitudes of people walking by their chairs that might want to try out one of their chairs.

At the other, a young man was standing near what you might call the entrance to their booth, but he simply bowed to me (this is Asia) and otherwise ignored me as I walked by.

I finally found a massage chair, put in the money and enjoyed my 12 minutes of rest.

I probably don’t need to mention that both of these vendors had zero customers, not even passersby taking one of the massage chairs for a spin. I’m no expert in marketing, but it seems to me that butts in their chairs begets more butts in chairs – which begets sales.

I told Sana about this, and she said that is so typical of Vietnamese businesses. They have the ultimate “if you build it, they will come” mentality when it comes to marketing (or lack thereof) their businesses.

Another example is a new coffee/tea shop down the road from our apartment. They have a nice baby grand piano inside, and they call it “Piano Cafe”. It’s designed to look a bit upscale, appeal to adults sans small children to have a cup of tea after dinner.

And Sana and I walk by it every night and more often than not, it’s completely empty. Again, the people inside are busy filling their minds with the mental circus peanuts one finds on Facebook and Tic Tac. And this is after I’ve brought my virtuoso pianist friend to visit and play on their piano. No effort was made to book him for a playing gig to attract business. We’ve seen nothing in the way of using their very nice piano as a means of bringing in business via live music. And Covid isn’t really an issue here, so it’s not like they’re using that as an excuse.

Now contrast this mentality with that of Bill Peck. Bill Peck was given an assignment by his employer to do something, and he did everything it took to accomplish the task. And even when he realized his boss had sent him on a fool’s errand, he kept his cool.

He didn’t wait for people to come to him to get what he wanted; he went to the people and literally bent reality so that his will came to pass.

Bill Peck was a true go-getter, and I recorded his story and put it on my mobile app for you to listen to. It’s under the “audiobooks” tab, and you can access the app (by following the easy instructions to gain access) at this link: committedmedia.org