Words and Photos by Eric Franklin Shook
Passing Our Hobby From One Generation To The Next
Significance: according to most southern grandmothers could be best summarized as “Ain’t no one in the will gonna fight over the Teflon.”
Culture has changed over the last century at break-neck speeds, and even more so since the turn of the century. It’s not so far out of the realm of reality to imagine that our future generations in nearly all habits will be unrecognizable to us. Imagine traveling 100 years back in time to visit your ancestors. Would you be the descendant they envisioned or wanted? Probably not.
As new generations of audiophiles form, we should not expect them to apply significance to what their audiophile ancestors chose to. With the immediate rise in headphone sales, shifted mostly by lifestyle changes in youth culture now extending into all facets of adultolescence (e.g work-spaces, commuting, and apartment). Foreign to many my age and younger is the idea of a listening room, replaced instead by something more private and practical. Music is still significant to young people, and after the last two decades of low rate pirated MP3s, young people have found significance is how music is ingested. Authenticity being the underlying premise of high-fidelity, and that appeals to millennials.
Many have tried to make the internet catalog model of doing business smarter and less costly through autonomy. Working to develop smart algorithms that supplant the human intuition necessary for guiding consumers through complex purchase decisions. Amazon’s algorithm like many top-tier online retailers is still far from being a god like power. The augmented human aspect needed to develop insightful product curation for it’s customers remains missing. For brick and mortar hi-fi dealers this has proven to be a good thing. Sometimes.
Any hi-fi retailer can recall a few times when a “prospective client” has walked into their store, perused the showroom, listened to a few demo systems, benefited from the staff wisdom and experience, only to leave empty-handed, all along with the premeditation to buy it all online. It quickly becomes obvious that customer savvy is key for “self-service internet economies” to work.
In steps Audio Advice, Online.
Complicated purchases are not easy for most web-based retailers to execute without the uncoordinated aid of bloggers, press writers, YouTube reviewers, and forums. Turning our youth loose to browse online merchants without first yourself evangelizing to them about system building or maybe giving them a few articles providing “well tested audiophile perspectives” is a surefire way to overwhelm even the most adept of internet shoppers.
Launching in November of 2016 Audio Advice has been laying the groundwork architecture for what I call “The Augmented Age of Online Retailing” — striving to encompass the brick and mortar experience through online media channels and integrated education resources.
See so much more at: www.audioadvice.com.
And don’t forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2:
- Audio Advice: “Music Matters” in Raleigh, NC — Part 1
- Audio Advice: “Music Matters” in Charlotte, NC — Part 2
Kudos to Audio Advice for laying the groundwork for a great on line buying experience. On line sales are not the devil to high end audio. There are some obvious logistical challenges to offering in-home demos, especially of large items, but the model is entirely capable of creating a great buying experience for the customer. Just like the brick and mortar sales model, the key ingredient to a successful online operation is GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. This involves human interaction. No algorithm can replace the guy at the other end of the phone/PC.