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03/04/2009

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What about the CEO of Starbucks saying that their company was no longer the intimate experience it used to be. He seemed to want to return to the smallish niche market...
Is it possible for a brand to be both big AND personal/niche?
I'd say Starbucks and Apple have yet to answer this question, but Gap and Dell went big a long time ago.

I don't "hate" big companies for their success. I hate some of them for their reckless behavior towards workers and associates.

Case in point: Whole Foods Market

I shopped in their first small store in Austin, Texas. What a cool place it was! Extremely supportive of customers and vendors. Today, as a small vendor, I have to pay $25 if I want to sample out my product in their stores, supporting their sales.

I'm forced to use Tree of Life Distributors to deliver my product to WFM. ToL is another example for big and bad!

After supplying all WFM stores nation-wide with my product, ToL refuses to pay me. They eliminated direct communication with vendors. 6 months later they finally responded with made-up "additional fees" not shown in our contract. I'm out of $50k production cost and - according to their "innovative" business model - I owe them.

Sorry, the "cheers" got stuck in my (almost) bankrupt throat. "Hooray", though, to me for constantly re-inventing myself.

Great post. By creating a new category the firm is able to expand in any direction it chooses. Should I hate this, I do not think so. As you explain, it is common for a firm to expand into a market, increase the consumers which leaves room for more firms to join. In place of multiple Starbucks on every corner, new shops are opening up to provide unique experiences that Starbucks never dreamed of - or did but decided that their current model is more profitable. But being the first can backfire if it is not handled well. IBM could have dominated software, but they dropped the ball where Microsoft picked up. Microsoft could have dominated the internet, but the failed where Google picked up. Each wave of innovation has its 800 pound guerilla. If the guerilla does not adapt, it will be history.

I agree... We can't blame big companies for being big. If a StartUp enters a market and "creates a new category" where there is room to grow, how can we blame them for filling that void?

Yes, true the Gap may offer "bland products to the masses" but they obviously fill a once empty space in the market, people still buy from them, and they're still in business. If there wasn't the demand there wouldn't be the business.

Now, there is nothing wrong with big but there is something wrong with being unethical and making poor decisions. Problem is that when you're BIG, your poor decisions affect a bigger base of people.

BIG size comes with BIG responsibility.

I ran the utility to create "recovery discs" on my new laptop. It aborted. I registered and emailed tech support for a set of discs. I waited. I emailed again. I waited. Over 3 months, including two emails to the office of the CEO, Mark Hurd, this produced...NO EFFECTIVE COMPAQ SUPPORT!

My laptop is useless without recovery discs and I can't get normal support, escalated support, or support from the office of the CEO.

Will I ever recommend or buy Compaq or HP again? Not in THIS lifetime.

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