Saturday, March 28, 2009

Young Entrepreneurs

Why can't we buy (and enterprising girls sell) Girl Scout cookies online?


Shonika said...

I don't believe that girls who do not have access to technology are not 'enterprising'. What people often do not realize is that you can't exist 'online' until you have existed offline. It is imperative that young people, especially girls, get out there and start building real experiences with real people.

It is easy to be confident with your "e-personality" but to go knock on a door (or make a cold call) and have a conversation is one of the most challenging but important things to learn in sales. If you are online and only receive orders, you never know who said "NO" so you don't know how to respond when people say no to you in the real world (outside of sales).

Additionally, too often adults want to protect their children from 'failing'. "They don't want them to get hurt". It is actually the experience of failing and getting up on their own that builds their independence, self-esteem and self-confidence. It empowers them and helps them to be able to openly speak when they are in public settings or speak out on issues they feel strongly about instead of being a wallflower or reflecting immaturity or insecurity.

The end result of failing with persistence is not becoming a failure it is becoming a success because you realized you had to overcome failure to get there. If you fail and keep going you will soon discover there is no such thing as failure, only delayed gratification. It is more easy to translate that in a real world and not a virtual one.

It's more than about selling cookies...


bounce pounce said...

I don't think that girls who don't have access to technology are not enterprising either. But I do think that it's silly to artificially reduce the ways that kids learn about business -- and that if a girl takes the initiative to use a technology that's available to her, she shouldn't be punished.

If it's particularly important that kids learn from making face-to-face sales (whether door-to-door or wherever), then the Scouts should mandate that this be part of the process, rather than prohibiting other methods.

I also think, just as a consumer, that it's a good thing to be able to buy things online, and that individual scouts (rather than troupes or hucksters on ebay) should be able to be a part of that.

Gavin said...

If I had to speculate, I'd say that it's a combination of artificial (or intentional) scarcity and an intentionally physical sales-based business model. Remember that while Girl Scout cookies are big business, it's also primarily a fundraiser for individual troops. If there were a central online sales outlet, it would either reduce physical sales for individual troops, or Girl Scouts would need to figure out how to distribute the funds.

This would not be impossible, but it would require entirely reconsidering the business model, which is probably not as pressing an issue for the Girl Scouts as it is for, say, the NYT.

After all, would I look forward to my Samoas as much if I could get them whenever I wanted, all year?

Gavin said...

And maybe the bigger problem is offering prizes for girls who reach certain sales levels? If you want to be altruistic, then say that helping the troop is enough. If you want to be entrepreneurial, then offer the girls a straight cut of the sales, no?