A Tale of Two Eco-Systems

A month ago I visited a small town center whose entire business model is based on the existence of an abattoir. I was with my 5 years old child and it was such a tremendous learning experience, seeing it through her eyes.

One of the things that amazed me was how business was being conducted ‘without’ the things that we place so much emphasis on in the corporate world. I say ‘without’ because things like customer service, value adds, unique selling propositions, sales funnels, etc were not obvious. One would be forgiven to think that they are non-existent; but after about an hour of observation and interacting with butchers, leek, and coriander (dhania) sellers, I realized that that ecosystem has its version of the things which make it as successful and enterprising as it is.

The Abattoir

I was driving a 14-seater commuter van and with no established parking system, I had to look for my own parking spot and seek a parking fees attendant to whom I could pay. Finding none, I consulted with one of the shop owners near where I had parked and she informed me that it shouldn’t be a primary concern as I went about my business. Through the mud (it had rained the previous night), my daughter and I walked to the street of butcheries selling meat.

We were clearly strangers in this part of the city, evidenced by the way my daughter sidestepped the gross mud pools and bloody coats of the butchers we passed. Her well-spoken English, while asking about all the amazing things she was seeing, was a direct sell out that we were visitors. It took us a while to get to the shop where we had been referred and it was an hour before we trekked back to the car with our kilos of fresh meat

The Mall

A week later, I went to the Galleria Mall and my experience had a stark difference from the abattoir. Designated parking spaces, staff with name tags, wifi for waiting customers, clean benches spread out, designer shop branding, etc. The most distinct difference at that moment was how less busy the mall looked compared to the abattoir ecosystem!

The more I thought about these two worlds, the more I realized that they are as different as they are the same and interdependent.

It’s business borrowing from how we are structured to live as people. One big community that is made up of unique individuals with special abilities and value to bring to the table.

Here is the reality

We all do what we need to do to pay the bills and live out our purpose on Earth.

Because our realities are different, we must never look down upon what the next person is doing to make their ‘little heaven down here’.

We should constantly keep sharpening our skills and abilities.

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Wangari Maina

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