Last night, I was back at the Taskmaster Ranch, lounging back in a recliner after a long day at work, flicking through the channels, brandy old-fashioned in hand.
While flicking through, I stumbled across the Ten Late News where Gerry Harvey was being interviewed.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
Now Old Taskmaster can’t quite put a finger on why – perhaps it has something to do with my childhood fascination with dinosaurs – but there is something morbidly compelling about watching an interview with Gerry Harvey.
Remember him? He was the guy who once called online retail a ‘dead-end’:
“Online people do not make any money. The whole world was conned with online retailing. People say I’m a dinosaur, and I’ve had people coming to me with sites and saying, ‘Oh, look at this, they have 10,000 or 20,000 hits!’ – but it’s a con, a complete con,” Harvey said back in 2008.
Well, now it’s 2013, and Gerry Harvey has changed his tune. “I think one day you’ll find that Harvey Norman is the biggest online retailer in Australia. But it’s not going to happen overnight,” Harvey now says.
Well, you can’t fault him for ambition; especially since his first online store only launched in November 2011. Then again, Taskmaster Enterprises has ambitions for total world domination, so I guess you can’t fault the guy for dreaming big, no matter how unrealistic.
There were a couple of other gems in the interview – Harvey apparently only uses Google once every few days and he still wants that big new tax on online retailers, to cite just two examples.
But there was one other stand-out comment from Harvey:
“They [youth] spend their time on crap like games. If I could get rid of computers – leisure computers – then I probably would.”
This comment had Old Taskmaster dumbfounded.
First, “leisure computers”? This is why the rest of us use Google and get a basic knowledge of the industries we work in.
Secondly, did this guy really just argue to ban the consumer electronics products he sells in his stores? Or to shut down that direct import online video game store he set up in Ireland?
Anyway, if you’re toying around with launching an online retailer, this is your competition. Harvey’s customers are increasingly shopping online. If you can capture those customers better than he can, you can pick up marketshare.
Think you can do it? Well then, what are you waiting for! Launch an online retailer!
Just make sure you don’t argue to outlaw your own products on national TV!
Get it done – today!