A Stony Story

My motivation for writing this story was two-fold. Firstly, to expose the motivations and business models of many corporations and how they seek to manipulate us. And second, to explore the power of relationship. I hope that you like it!

Stones: A free resource!. source

My friends and I attended the Salon du Cheval exposition in Paris. This is a large expo of new products and services in the French horse world rather like Your Horse Live in the UK. On our way home, we were amusing ourselves by thinking of a horsey business we could run together and become rich beyond our wildest dreams. We didn’t want to carry any stock or provide any services as such.

We came up with two ideas. The first was for homeopathic rocks. The business model was that we would hire a stand at exhibitions such as the salon du cheval, travel, collect some rocks from parks and gardens near by, clean them in the “Femmes” and sell them on our stand. I know what you’re thinking – that’s crazy no-one would buy these things…

Well I think they would. You need to understand riders to get it. What every rider wants is an improved “connection” with her horse (and ideally as quickly and involving as little effort as possible). We would say these rocks promoted the connection all riders seek.

It was worth a try, so we went for it. In no time word got around and soon every stable yard had one of our rocks. We were rich! But not rich enough. We needed more money to fund our new expanding lifestyles. We had to sell more rocks…but how?

We discovered that riders were sharing rocks and using them on several horses. We announced that our “research department” had found that the rocks’ effectiveness improved when used solely by one person…and that they lost their powers when used in groups (this also conveniently helped to explain why some of our rocks weren’t working…)

Our prayers were answered with a rush on rocks. We couldn’t get enough. There were waiting lists for our rocks and we were forced to raise our prices. We were able to have houses and cars and other necessary possessions all over the world. We were very happy for a time. But once again our luck turned sour and rock sales started to tail off.

Why was this? Whose fault was it? There were still plenty of rocks available. We went and had a snoop around some stables and discovered that riders with several horses were still using the same rock on all their horses. And lots of riders end up with more than one horse once they get the horsey bug.

We announced that our research department had made another breakthrough and discovered that the rocks worked best one to one ie one person – one horse. Strong bonds had to be unique. We revealed this first to our loyal customer base and even gave them a special offer on additional rocks to reward their loyalty.

They rewarded us with much higher sales and we were all very happy for a time. Top riders offered to endorse our rocks, and this helped convince even the strongest opposition. Soon every rider in the country had a collection of rocks and we were stuck again.

We considered global expansion but none of us really wanted to travel. We thought about offering rock personalisation services (design a rock) but couldn’t be bothered to learn the skills. Then we had divine inspiration. The power of the rocks must get “used up”. Clearly, they would need “recharging” from time to time. We set up a recharge facility in one of our gardens and we had the permanent steady income stream we had always desired.

Our other idea? This one was inspired by a natural horsemanship display. How about starting a riding boutique selling breeches for naturist horsemanship. We wouldn’t even need to handle any dirty rocks. Our strap line “nothing comes between you and your horse” was clearly a winner….

# Questions 1. How else could we increase rock sales? 2. How many “rocks” have you bought? 0. Is this business ethical? 3. Do you think a strong connection (relationship) can be bought? 4. How do you know if a relationship is strong? 5. What have you found that helps to create strong relationships? 6. What gets in the way? 7. Which of these things can you influence? 8. What are you going to do differently?