Back in March, I went up to Chicago with Dan for his spring break. Before leaving, his mom gave me a book to read called The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I blew through it earlier this week. Linda said it had some incredible ideas in it, possibly some that may help me in spreading word about my coffee shop, when ever it comes to fruition. Part of me expected it to explore business strategies, but I was way off. This book is incredible. It has nothing to do with money. It's about people.
Days after finishing, I'm still buzzing from it. Gladwell takes several examples, such as the sudden popularity of Hush Puppies and the rapid decrease of crime in New York City in the 1990's to talk about how cultural epidemics are started. He talks about how small notions can have huge effects, and when those notions get in the hands of specific types of people, the outcome can be even bigger than seems possible.
I don't want to write a book report, so I'll just say this: this book is worth reading. It has gotten me interested in a whole world of group psychology that I never thought I would look into.
The tourism industry is fascinating. I see 140,000 people flood into Juneau, and 150 of those intimately, on my bus, face to face, everyday. Not only am I responsible for keeping the bus under control when I'm driving, but also the moods of 50 people. The amount of emotion shuffling and juggling is incredible. One person's mood can "infect" the rest, good mood or bad. I'm doing quite a bit of thinking of the negative situations, where one person would turn the rest of my passenger's against me, and what I would do about it.
My opening speech when everyone is sitting and waiting to leave the dock is a powerful moment. It's really the only time I'm facing the group. It's like the first day of class where the teacher sets the tone. I have one chance to let these people know they are going to have a good time. They hope they are, but I need to prove it, and prove it quickly. Some may be angry they didn't get the front seat, some may be uncomfortable, some may not have gotten the tour they wanted. Regardless, I need to make them forget all that. I've gotten pretty good at my pitch pointsin that first five minutes I'm given to do my "safety speech." What happens in those five minutes? What is it that I've gotten good at? Tone, humor, competence?
In the time these 150 people are with me, I share a lot of information. Like a good mix CD, I switch speed and tone, between facts and tid bits, long stories and short, keeping them from zoning out. There are jokes, I laugh into the microphone, and more times then I can count, people comment about it. I have one long story and sometimes, after my long 6 hour tours, the last 10 minute stretch is just quiet, letting them enjoy the road vibration and the warm sleepy feeling of being worn out. Every tour is different. But they all start with that first five minutes.
I'd love for you all to ride my bus.
In other news:
- I got the go a head to move from my land lord. He found someone to fill my lease, so starting June, I'll be over on Douglas Island again. Yay! No address yet, but I will post it when I know it.
- My Achilles tendon seems to be healing, thankfully, without going to the doctor. I'm not running yet, but with my nightly stretching and longish walks on flat ground, it seems to be better. No more pain at least.
And on a more personal note, Dan leaves for India on Sunday and will be gone until July 21st. Everything has been so sporadic, with our conversations being a hybrid of text messages and short calls, with a long one here and there. He'll be 13 hours ahead of Alaska time, so this will be a challenging few weeks. But, he'll get back, then he's coming here! Sometime in August I get a Dan-sized package on an airplane!