Chapter 4. Reinventing Retirement

mitch anthony

Imagine you're a blacksmith a century ago. You've prospered in your business for many years because you've provided an indispensable service to your community's chief transportation system. One day you look up and coming down the main street you see a loud contraption that people are calling the horseless carriage. "Huh?" you say. "That will be the day!" And back to your work you go. Ten years later your business is half of what it was before; 20 years later it no longer exists. You failed to recognize one key psychological axiom in succeeding with consumers: if there is a more efficient way to live, we will choose it even if it presents a whole new set of challenges. Many a regretful blacksmith probably discounted the motorized contraption as too complicated, problematic, and unproven for the majority of consumers to adopt.

Markets for popular products don't dry up overnight. The shift starts as a slow trickle, increases in current slowly, and years later, reaches a rushing torrent. Successful merchants keep fluid mind-sets as they watch trends develop and adapt their goods and services to them. The wise blacksmith a century ago would have expanded his business to include repairing horseless carriages as well as shoeing horses. This expansion would have been accompanied by a new learning curve on the workings of gasoline engines. Those who simply kept their nose to the grindstone with the same offering of goods and services were eventually ...

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