Posts Tagged ‘Moral Hazard’

I’ve been given a book to read by a colleague. I hate it when that happens.

After a month of gathering dust on my windowsill I have started it, with a sense of duty rather than because of any interest in the title itself. The book is “Life’s a Pitch: What the World’s Best Sales People Can Teach Us All”  and is by Philip Delves Broughton. Not my usual cup of tea would be an understatement.

Anyways, I thought I would try and get through the book by speed reading it on the bus to work and back so I could at least return it to its owner knowing broadly what the content is (helps answer any quiz questions!). And then, out of nowhere, the author neatly summarizes the following quote,

 

“” You get these young salesman who think they can sell anything, and in sectors like financial services they’re selling things with a very negative impact on people’s lives. They’re selling a crappy product with no accountability[.]…. I’ve been called  a huckster, a snake oil salesman, everything. But now more than ever, if a product doesn’t work, or people don’t think they’re getting value, they can destroy your reputation online. It’s easy. If that happened to me, I wouldn’t still be in business”.

The strange thing is, he’s right. Sullivan is exposed as s salesman in a  way the salesman of Wall Street are not. Institutions and governments protect the latter when things go wrong. Sullivan may only be dealing in toilet cleaners and mops, but his reputation is constantly exposed to the bleaching sunlight of consumer scrutiny and market response. His professional safety net when selling gadgets is far smaller than for those selling products that can sink an entire economy.”

 

Quite. Perhaps this book won’t be as painful as I first imagined…

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