In the 1960’s Converse owned 95% of the sneaker market. The Chuck Taylor, its crown jewel, was the official shoe of the NBA.
Back then, a sneaker was once just a foot covering. A simple rubber sole. No arch. Canvas material that decomposed after six months. PF Flyers, the Chuck Taylor alternative, promised you could run faster and jump higher in them. I bought a pair. I didn’t run any faster or jump any higher. It was just an empty promise.
And that was all a sneaker was.
Then came Nike. Reebok. Addidas. Puma. Diesel. They took the sneaker to places unfathomable by the old market giants. They incorporated technology into their construction. Sophistication into their style. Market knowledge into developing its utility. And elegance into developing their message. Today, these sneaker companies are lifestyle brands.
Looking through my newspaper’s real estate section this past weekend, I likened what I saw to the Converse of old. Page after page of worn rubber souls, washed out canvas tops, and frayed laces.
I’m sorry, but it’s getting to the point of being pathetic. One home, valued at over a million dollars, features a super-sized picture of the agent and a tiny photo of the corner of a backyard deck. A flower pot was the focal point. Beyond the flower pot was a field.
This actually angered me. I was angry for the seller, angry for the broker and angry for this industry that allows the bar for everything to be set so incredibly low. The entire real estate section in my paper, is utterly, maddeningly, sadly, useless.
My take away is this: If you work in this industry as an agent and if you are doing the same thing you did ten years ago — the same ads, the same themes, the same disregard for technology, for utility, for
style, for branding — you are the Chuck Taylor’s waiting to be clobbered by something new.
I have two pair of Chuck Taylors in the closet. Purple and Black. The black pair is from 1976, the purple from â€˜77. I won’t throw them away because there is something to be said for respecting the past. But I’ll never wear them again. They hurt, they’re uncomfortable and they look funny.