This past week has been a struggle – in my office, at home, and in the news. Along with all of these events I learned that United HealthCare and Best Buy are going direct to consumers and my favorite great innovator, Steve Jobs passed away. There is so much information from the first events that they will consume a few weeks of blogs.
When I first heard about UHC and Best Buy I was hurt and angry. I started in this career to go on a journey with people to help with communication and relationships. I do get frustrated when some in the industry or start ups make it all about a product. The product in these marketing ideas, in my opinion, makes it all about the end result. I have always made it my philosophy to make the hearing device part of the journey. The journey includes friends, family, tools, counseling and better developing relationships. I do not agree that an end product can accomplish this.
This thought brought me to Steve Jobs. He wanted his products to be more of an experience, not just a machine. There has been numerous links to his past speeches and ideas in the past week that I have reread. In reading his quotes about living and how he saw life I became inspired all over again. I was reading many other blogs and one that caught my attention was by Mona Nomura , in which she talked about how Steve helped her grow through being vulnerable. I often feel vulnerable when trying something new whether it is a marketing strategy or new product, but most of the time the pay off is worth it.
Steve Jobs liked to borrow a quote from Wayne Gretzky:
“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
I need to look at the future and work at figuring out how to make my own offices better. The introduction from UHC and Best Buy will only affect me in a negative way if I let it. Alternatively, I can use the adages of Steve Jobs to focus my practice toward success in a time of technological challenges.
If I lose business from to UHC or Best Buy, I cannot blame those companies. I can use that threat to force myself to look at where my practice is vulnerable: is my practice failing to educate consumers as to the importance of quality service? Do we need to reinforce the importance of patient-practice relationships that grow out of successful hearing healthcare services? We have had these things come up before. I was in private practice when Songbird came and then went direct retail. We must always work on keeping ourselves strong. Yes sometimes the chances we take make us vulnerable, but we must learn and grow through these changes.
Next week my thoughts on how the instruments from UHC and BB are being marketed and sold.