I remember September of 1969 very well. It was the start of my sophomore year in college, and a group of us stood in a long line outside a record store at midnight in order to be one of the first to own Abbey Road.
What would you be willing to stand in a line for? What products are so great, so compelling, and so exciting that you would invest the time to stand in a line that snaked around a building?
It's the question that keeps Ford CEO Alan Mulally up at night. He is in awe of products like iPhones and Kindles that captivate consumers to the point where they will wait in long lines to be among the first to get a hot, exciting new product.
His goal at Ford? To become one of those companies, and he envisions customers standing in lines outside his dealerships.
If you're an American car basher, go ahead and laugh. But this guy has done more to not only turn Ford around - but to instill a different attitude, vibe, and result for the American automotive industry. Here in Detroit, we're pulling for him to keep up the momentum.
Ford's SYNC - which was all the rage at CES last week - may just be the nucleus of that "stand in line" product that Mulally dreams about. In his keynote, he pointed out that SYNC plays a role in a third of the decisions to buy Ford products.
As Paul noted in his coverage of CES, Ford comes off as a consumer electronics company in look and feel. Their gadgets just happen to be tethered to vehicles that take you from one place to another, providing a unique form of custom entertainment and information for both drivers and passengers.
What product does radio produce that consumers would be willing to stand in line to enjoy? Shouldn't this be what we aspire to? Creating shows, programs, and multi-platform vehicles that make consumers sit up and take notice?
And how many radio shows might actually qualify as "stand in lineable" but we simply fail to market them or strategically allow consumers to spread the word?
By the way, Abbey Road was worth the wait.