You’re no better than a Blackberry!

[photo Obama selfie with Merkel]

Many of you will know that a last year, the high street store Jessops went under. For those not in the UK, Jessops was a specialist camera shop that has been around for 75 years. My dad, a big camera buff, bought many products from them in his time. It went the way of HMV, Woolworths, and many other stores for fairly obvious reasons including the internet, and supermarkets selling similar products for much cheaper. Nowadays, the camera market is split in to broadly 3 categories – high end (expensive) big SLRs, compact pocket sized cameras (cheap), and mobile phone cameras.

Because Jessops never really entered into the mobile market, they had to rely on shifting large volumes of the generally cheap compact cameras to keep a business going, but the demand for these has dropped off dramatically in the last few years, and I’m sure you know why. Pretty much everyone, even kids these days, are walking around with a smartphone in their pocket that packs a 5mega pix or better camera. Why bother with a separate compact? So now, there are really only 2 categories of camera. And Jessops couldn’t sell enough SLRs to stay afloat.

For the most part, the mobile cam does what it needs to do. My Sony phone takes really nice photos for Facebook and evenĀ  just about good enough for a computer screen. But I also own an SLR with a big lens, much heavier but with incredibly good results, so this is the one that goes on holiday with me in the main. But SLRs make up only a small part of the market, because most people are content with their mobile for their snaps.

Problem is, phone cams are pretty rubbish in low light, any slightly fast moving object, anything requiring a flash etc etc. My friend has recently invested in an SLR and, while a self-confessed amateur, recently posted some recent pics he took and I think they’re great. The outstanding difference between them and the photos he used to take on his iphone is the clarity, and the ability to focus on the subject while the background generally remains just that – background. That’s because you can, with a little expertise, tweak an SLR to take great pics, and nowadays they’re so clever they can do most of that work for you anyway.

And that’s what I noticed is the primary difference between an mobile cam and an SLR. The electronics in the mobile simply aren’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between the subject you really want to focus on, and what is just background ‘stuff’. So it tries to focus on everything it sees. For many people, this will do, but it’s just not even close to the quality of the SLR. he megapixel may be similar, but despite what the salesman tells you, megapixels alone do not guarantee you a good photo. The superiority of the SLR is down to the lens, its ability to focus on what’s important.

So why am I banging on about the technical qualities of cameras? Because I can now bring us back to my opening statement, that we collectively are no better than a mostly average mobile camera. It should now be clear why this is but just to bring it all together,

1) We have an unnerving tendency to settle for ‘average’ quality in far too many things.

2) We struggle, generally, to focus on what’s important.

If you look at the real success stories around us, those household names who’ve made it big, they are the exact opposite of these 2 tendencies. They have an innate ability to focus on the target, and they never settle for average. I confess that I have been known to lose focus on the goal myself. Maybe you can relate to this. I come up with a grand plan for success, health, wealth, whatever and I set it in motion, but in the middle of the project something else distracts me, or another idea or project comes into my mind and the next thing I know, I’m sidetracked. I’ve lost focus. Try and juggle too many items, and they will come crashing down. Focus on keeping one thing up in the air and your chances of success are much higher. Makes sense, no?

So the takeaways from today’s story are,

1) Focus relentlessly on what you need to do

2) Ignore the background stuff

3) Don’t get distracted. That’s what losers do.

The great joy is that, we as human beings do, in fact, have the capacity to keep several projects going at once. I don’t believe it is necessary to ignore one’s physical health, for example, to achieve a financial or educational goal. And yet again, it comes down to how good you’ve built your team around you to help you achieve all the things you want. Oh, and be prepare to adapt. Don’t continue to offer what no-one needs, or more importantly, what everyone already has and doesn’t need any more of. Think about what you offer as a person. Because if no-one wants it, you’re out of business. RIP Jessops.