I think most companies have got the point about being open, honest and transparent about how they work. Customers are ever more demanding than ever, and the first step to building an relationship impervious to competition is honesty right? This is who we are, this is what our brand stands for. When you use our service this is what you will get. But how transparent is too transparent?


For example I don’t like Swami Safari’s (interview with founder here) transparent pricing approach.  A product is more than the physical part that falls from the envelope, or rests on the hanger.  Its an idea, experience, art-form. When people buy toy Batman figures, its because when the movie ended, they didn’t want to leave gotham city. The toy figure extends that experience, and looking at or playing with it evokes those memories and lets them stay in gotham that bit longer. How its made, who made it, how much the plastic that went into the utility belt cost is sort of shattering the illusion that its a plastic figure. To them its the physical manifestation of an experience or entire other world.

I went to see a David Copperfield show once in Vegas, you could feed a family of four for a month for the price of that show. But I got lucky, well depending on how you look at it. A guy wiped out on roulette and was selling them cheap, I guess it was them or his kidney. A kidney after a trip to vegas is bound to be worth a lot less than before, but thats hedonistic party cities for you. I’ve sidetracked slightly it would seem.

Back to topic.

So the magic tricks performed in the show were incredibly impressive, and hard to solve. I impressed my girlfriend at the time no end by “solving” them all and inventing complex scenario’s to explain how they were done, which usual involved
Circus Midgets
Jedi’s
elephants
mirrors (the phrase “its all done with mirrors” must have some truth to it right?)

“The levitation trick? Easy. There was like this circus midget, commanding an elephant who picked him up.”

“So when he looked like he was floating and flying around the stage he was actually riding on an elephant with a circus midget?”

“Yep.”

“Why didn’t I see the elephant or midget?”

“Mirrors”

“Mirrors?”

“Yep and Jedi mind tricks. Anyway, shall we go and wipe out on roulette? I have a spare kidney if anything goes wrong.”

Oh, I’ve sidetracked again.

Back to topic.

When I buy something, mystery is what impresses and excites me. Later when I saw one of those trashy “magic uncovered” shows and they actually showed me how it was done, it was disappointing. Not only because it didn’t involve circus midgets, but because once you strip all the mystery away, you can’t put it back again. Now I have an understanding for the basis of those tricks and my enjoyment of them is decreased. When I buy something or use a service all i really want to know is:

– The story that went into it (the brand, designer etc)
– How much it costs.
– That no-one was exploited to make it.
– When it will arrive

Sure if done right reveal more, but if you reveal too much it all just starts to look like buying a heap of cotton, or plastic, or wood etc. What do you think, how much is too much?

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