10 December 2007
One of my former employers is going out of business. I was trying to put into words why this wasn’t a surprise to me, but it turns out David Pogue did that for me last spring: “Most of the stores I’ve visited have been sterile and soulless, and pervaded by a feeling of abandonment.” (The Gutting of CompUSA) That’s indeed how I felt the few times I was there in recent years. I was lucky that, when I worked there, there were some great people who ensured that wasn’t the case. They were knowledgeable. They were friendly and fun. They created events—in connection with local Austin developers when possible—and other ways to draw people into the store. But they did it in spite of the company. The company did nothing to create, attract, develop, or retain such people. Sure, competing with online stores isn’t easy, but—with the right people properly motivated—I’ve no doubt they could have done it successfully.