What Went Wrong at Blockbuster?

When my family first started renting movies back in the 80’s we went to a small mom-and-pop establishment called Carmen Video in Camarillo, CA. It was decked out like a movie theatre complete with a popcorn machine – something modern movie rental establishments look nothing like.

Sometime in the mid-80’s the first Blockbuster video opened up in town and within 18 months Carmen Video closed its doors forever. Between you and me- I think the only reason it stayed in business as long as it did is due to a selection of adult videos that they kept locked up in an adults only section (more like a cellar) of the store, which I never went into.

Blockbuster put Carmen Video out of business, and dominated the home movie rental business for years, because it had the lots of copies of the latest movies. They also had a huge selection of video games.

In September 2010 Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In early 2011 they approached their creditors for more money- more debt, which is bad when you are already bankrupt.

What happened? Karma? Poor management? Bad investments? Antiquated business model? Competition? A combination of all these things? Continue reading

AT&T’s New Stance After iPhone Exclusivity

For over 3  ½ years AT&T was the sole mobile phone network to carry the most iconic phone in the history of mobile phones, the iPhone.

All of that has now changed as Verizon executives have officially announced that they will begin carrying the iPhone 4 on their CDMA network. A quick visit to Verizon’s website revealed a huge banner featuring the iPhone 4 with the copy reading “iPhone 4. Verizon. It begins.” Sales start 2.10.11.

The move has been rumored for months and AT&T has spent millions of dollars during this time to beef up its network and tout other smart phones like the Blackberry Torch from mobile phone manufacturer RIM, as well as other phones based on Android and Windows mobile operating systems. In addition, AT&T pushed early upgrades in an effort to lock those craving an iPhone 4 into 2-year contracts. Smart, but short-term. Continue reading

36.4B Reasons to Like eCommerce

According to an article by Ann Zimmerman of, people bought $36.4B of stuff from online retailers this holiday season (between October 31and December 23).

This represents an increase of 15.4% over the same period last year. Online retail sales now account for about 10% of all retail sales – excluding gas and automobile purchases. 1 in 10 dollars made in retail this holiday season was made over the internet via ecommerce enabled websites.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that the sector that experienced the largest growth was specialty clothing retailers –up 25% over last year. This is interesting because most of us like to try stuff out – especially things we need to wear.

What does this say about our perceptions of the buying experience? Continue reading