Provenance

The beginning of something’s existence; something’s origin.

Dictionary.com

I’ve just bought a new pair of Jeans. Not everyday ones, Selvedge Denim from Hiut Denim. Several times the price of a perfectly functional pair of Jeans bought in the High St.

Why?

Because they’re the third pair I’ve bought in over six years, all of which are still wearable.

Because I know where they’re made.

Because they’re signed by the person who made them, and because I admire and support what Hiut Denim stand for.

And because over the lifetime of the Jeans, the premium I have paid is insignificant compared to the pleasure I get from owning them.

In addition to making Jeans, Hiut make a noise. They contribute. They provoke.

Algorithms don’t do that. They can help make the supply chain more efficient, but they can’t add personality. They can’t think, empathise or emote.

I think it’s about connection. Buying something from someone who cares about what they do. Algorithms are part of a machine, not the Principal.

The trouble arises when for sake of cost, we try and fool people that we are offering them personalised service via an algorithm. It’s when uncanny valley kicks in.

As we get tempted to replace people with algorithms, we need to be very conscious of what we are sacrificing.

In an age when you don’t have to, caring means turning up, connecting and taking responsibility. In person. For something that matters to you and your customer.

End note. High Five to thetrainline.com . I booked a cheap, non refundable ticket yesterday, and made an error. Rang the help line, a real person answered third ring, corrected my error and refunded my non refundable ticket as it was clear the error I had made. Nice. Appreciated.

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