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Getting Personalized with Kjell Nordstrom

I was mesmerized by some of Kjell (pronounced “shell”) Nordstrom‘s ideas in his keynote presentation today called “Funky Business.” Of all the ideas that he presented, I think the most relevant one to our industry is this: the world is becoming more personalized. He didn‘t then take this and apply it to our industry, but I think it‘s easy to see how it could be applied. People don‘t want a cookie-cutter club anymore; they want one that speaks to them, they want a workout that meets their needs and they want equipment and classes that fit them.

He says that the world is more personalized because of the proliferation of information (he wondered what universities and professors are for anymore when all the information they offer is already available in the world), the growing single population (more people are single today than ever before) and the ability of people to choose where they live based on where they feel they fit in (as more of the population becomes urban, cities are actually becoming more different from each other as the elderly move to warm-climate cities, entertainment people move to Los Angeles, financial people move to New York and London, etc.).

He also sees a little Marxism at work as a transfer of ownership to the people occurs. By that, he means that 96 percent to 99 percent of what most people do at work is intellectual.

“This is the property of you and me,” he said. “This is a shift. It requires a different way to run a corporation.”

Power, then, is in the good idea. All cars look alike because all car manufacturers read the same books, study at the same schools and use the same auto parts.

“You can make money if you have the good idea,” he said.

What is a good idea?

It‘s a good idea if it‘s innovative and it‘s a temporary monopoly.

“Successful companies do not compete. A temporary monopoly is a moment in time when you are perceived to be different, unique. It‘s all about perception,” he said.

Wow! Most of this could be applied to our industry in several ways. I was glad I was there for his presentation. --Pam

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