Saturday, July 28

Podcast Bob, Retailing and 'The Big Question'

And whilst we're on the subject of Podcast Bob...........
He earns his daily crust as a independent e-tailer who has quickly gained a reputation for finding/stocking innovative products, some astounding customer service, and actually using the stuff he sells.

In short - he knows what he's talking about out when it comes to backpacking and lightweight outdoor gear. Plus of course setting up a new retail venture via the Internet. And despite lots of big name companies doing the same, it's still by no means an easy thing to do properly (as opposed to just having a website because your competitor has one)

Bob has just updated a thread here when he sought comments on an idea in 2005 to set up his business. Bob's updated it with his experiences since then, and some of the thoughts it raises are already starting to pop up elsewhere in the UK blog sphere.

I've added some comments of my own as the issues raised affect anyone who buys outdoor gear, and more generally our whole approach to retailing in the 21st century whatever the market or product.

Like it or not we in the western world are a consumer society. The basis of western capitalist democracy. Whatever your political tendencies it leaves us in the UK, and surrounding areas historically as something called "The First World". The affluent countries;

I recall the theme from a long ago read SciFi short story about a society where consumption was a statutory requirement, to keep the circle of production/purchase/usage continuing, to prevent a social breakdown.

Despite signs of an awareness of alternatives, and the impact our approach has elsewhere, as a society in general we've never needed a law for this. Its now deeply embedded in our culture and reinforced by the continual and carefully targeted brainwashing, otherwise known as advertising.

I've never intended for this to be a gear blog. There's lots of good ones around, and personally if something works I'll use it. I might even spread the word. But I wouldn't pretend to be a suitable reviewer. Too much hard work to be honest. Its hard enough choosing my own gear from the small range I select on my own criteria, without having to look across the rest of the market as well.

And then there's the cost and access of getting the gear as well to be properly objective. This is an amateur and non commercial site after all.

At this point in my blog's life its a timely juncture for review what this site is all about, at the moment at least.

I learn from my own mistakes. If I can learn from others experiences then that hopefully reduces making similar mistakes myself. Or improving myself, my life, or the way I approach it. Maybe. Actual experience is always a better teacher than a second hand account. But I try to learn and develop.

At the same time my circle of physical acquaintances recognise the outdoor things that I do; May even involve themselves to some extent on the periphery of outdoor activity, to follow their own interest. But mostly they either don't share or don't understand,my level of involvement and what's actually involved, or why it works for me.

My initial posts were an attempt to communicate this interest, not from a gear/route viewpoint, but more from a how and why. A perspective on an approach. Mine; A chat about what works and what doesn't. For me; And the emotional values of life amongst the hills, or just out walking. As for most of us a small part of a normal, but at times mundane existence. Work, Family, Social obligation etc. As seen from my viewpoint.

Sometimes I strike a chord. Sometimes good things have come out of talking/meeting with like minded individuals. And sometimes its just drivel.

But I hope mostly its thoughtful. Or thought provoking. Because that's the sort of individual I am. Looking behind those commonly accepted truths all around us. Questioning why. Making me far too self reflective at times, but as I age (and hopefully mature) recognising It's My Way, and handling it better than in the past.

I'll never be a sheep, though I've spent many years wandering within various flocks. Or seeming to. Well disguised as so many of us are. Occasionally I find others with similar leanings. Or at least prepared to ask why they feel so frustrated as times in this modern utopia. And yet so happy when 'just out for a walk'

It's a long way from Podcast Bob to that last paragraph. But Bob's communications will do that to me at times, sparking a train of thoughts. Chasing down some of that ever elusive truth.

You swine Bob. I let you do it to me again. And no you can't have a writer's credit.

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Great piece
Sounds like me you post in reaction to stuff sometimes.
I enjoy those posts a lot, for me often they are written in a way that captures an emotion at the time when I was reading the original inspiring material. Or I hope it does anyway.
Once again well done
Cheers Darren. Just wish I could get the message out more succinctly at times. Words words words
Blogs are personal journals, so they suffer from the limitations of communication. However, they do allow the blogger to try other media - images, video, audio - to get the message across. Sometimes the message is straightforward, sometimes not.

Keep up the good work, John.

As to being a sheep, nah, you're not good looking enough ;-)
See my latest blog entry about using words sparingly & things falling into place. I think JH does this. (As for sheep,I encountered quite a few sheep on the PW this spring who were worse looking than John)
Ahem. I think thats enough about sheep with the forthcoming Welsh trip due.
Too may chances to test out those theories
Gosh, that was a super-quick response! Guilty conscience..?
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