Industry Myths: a thought exercise

Let us begin with a bit of housekeeping…

The blog post that prompted the missive below was originally posted on the Catalyst Code blog and is entitled Credit Cards Don’t Make People Spend More. Some of you won’t be surprised to hear that…Why are these people so up to date?

Quite simple really…

To the right of this post, you will see a happy little (or, perhaps, large) icon with the text “shared items feed” This is a burnt version of my Google Reader Shared Items (i.e. I’m burning it through FeedBurner in case I choose to change my sharing technology in the future). Not an RSS fan? You should be…but there is another option. Tyler’s Shared Items is a webpage rendered by Google Reader that will allow you to view up to the date details on blog posts that I find interesting.

Or, if you are an avid Google Reader user and want to see my Shared Items (complete with commentary I provide when I share)…then contact me and I will add you to my Google Reader Friends list to ensure you receive up-to-date shared information. That request, it is worth noting, is reciprocal. I am keenly interested in what you find compelling. Social interaction, somewhat by definition, is a 2 way street.

At present, I read 113 blogs daily and try to synthesize the information that is most relevant to those of you who are interested. Think of me as your own personal data aggregator.

With that said, away we go…

To summarize the content of the Catalyst Code post today, I pulled the quote below. However, the entirety of the post is worth consuming as the detail provided isn’t exactly what I am discussing.

But, surprisingly to them, they discovered that there wasn’t much difference between people who used cash and people who would ordinarily pay with cash but were incented to pay with a credit card instead. The cash users spent $4.59 on lunch while the credit card users spent $4.93—a difference that wasn’t even close to statistical significance.

The increase in spending of card vs. cash was, to me, a bit of a foregone conclusion. Perhaps it was “Mother Culture” stating that as an assumption so frequently that I simply believed it. That, in and of itself, is worthy of future analysis…but isn’t really what I found so compelling.

In every industry there are assumptions made. In my time in the Government sector there were several (most of which aren’t worth repeating or sharing)…enterprise retail had its own assumptions…data warehousing folk are notorious for making assumptions about data that may be disproven frequently and yet are still held as beliefs.

What the blog caused me to question is simple. Are there other base assumptions made about the industry I live in day-to-day that are just that…assumptions. I will explore this, internally, over the next few days. With that said, I’m keenly interested in your thoughts about the payments industry, security & compliance, and commerce in general. Are there Industry Myths we all assume are truth?

It is worth noting, that a single study does not disprove a theory. David Evans, in the blog post referenced above, notes that the payments behaviour may change drastically based on type of purchase, ticket amount, etc. But the first step to clarity is challenging the assumed.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques? The comment form is below…

May 19, 2009

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