Sharing is CaringJuly 29, 2019
I was recently set to be a witness in a civil case between two consultants in the pet care industry. I spent a number of hours preparing with one of the lawyers and went as far as purchasing airplane tickets and making hotel reservations. The case settled on what I think was the proverbial courthouse steps.
I’m writing this blog not because I want to call out who I think was right or wrong in this case, but more because I think that this case is a testament to how much the pet care industry has changed since Pet Camp opened around 20 years ago.
Way back when and for many, many years, the pet care industry was known to be a very sharing industry. There are a host of pet care conferences every year where stories are swapped, and one ends up learning more at the bar than at the seminars. Here in San Francisco, there are informal get-togethers, and I try and meet with the CEO (at least I think that’s his official title) of our largest competitor quarterly.
Why do we share so much information? There are two reasons. First, a bad pet care facility is bad for everyone. If pet parents have a bad experience at one pet care facility, they are likely to never trust any other pet care facility. Our goal is to ensure the best care for a pet, and while we hope a pet parent chooses Pet Camp to provide that care, if they go somewhere else, we still want what’s best for their pet.
Second, there are plenty of pets for all the quality pet care facilities to host. There is no reason to be petty or attack another pet care facility when there is plenty of business to go around.
So, what’s changed? If I had to pick one answer it would be the plethora of consultants that have inundated the pet care industry the last few years. When a few owners or managers get together they swap information pretty freely because they all have something to gain: if I share a good idea with you, you’re likely to share a good idea with me. We both benefit, and so do the pets under our care.
Sadly, not all, but too many of the consultants in pet care seem to operate as if it’s a zero-sum game when it comes to good ideas. They don’t want good ideas shared and if ideas “must” be shared, they only want them shared among their clients or for a price. They act as if a good idea belongs to a single person as opposed to understanding that ideas, even good ones, get better when you involve others in the discussion.
I understand that people, even consultants, want to get paid for their work and want to protect their work product from others, but no individual has a monopoly on good ideas. When pets suffer because ideas are not shared, the entire industry, including our clients and most importantly the pets, suffer.
So, come on pet industry consultants, try and remember that while we are all running businesses and need to get paid for our work, our work is providing the best possible care for people’s pets. You, the industry and pets benefit when good ideas are shared.
Thanks for reading.