An Exchange

single KWhen Julian Jaynes came out with “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” (1976), it was a book that not only had a long title, but left an incredible impression on some of the great thinkers and writers of the day.

original cover(I’m smoking a Kolumbus claro piramide as I go over this post and I must say that it’s a very good companion to the piece.  More in due course.)

“When Julian Jaynes. . .speculates that until late in the second millennium B.C. men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of gods, we are astounded but compelled to follow this remarkable thesis through all the corroborative evidence.” – John Updike, The New Yorker.

“He is as startling as Freud was in, ”The Interpretation of Dreams” and Jaynes is equally adept at forcing a new view of known human behavior.” – Raymond Headlee, American Journal of Psychiatry.

(This claro has some unusual notes that complement its smooth and delightful complex flavor – a bit of espresso, and a breeze of caramel and cedar.  The filler is from Breῆa (La Palma, Canary Islands).

So when I was having this heated discussion on the philosophy of selling high-priced cigars, believe it or not I started to think about Jaynes’ book (yes, I did read it) and how its influence was felt in the intellectual community as well as the general public who took the time to wade through it and about how it related to our exchange of ideas about price.

It was amazing to me that the person to whom I was speaking had a magnificent, logical strategy about his methodology for selling his cigar that was antithetical to the way I’ve been successfully selling cigars for years.  His philosophy bordered on the theater of the absurd that there are stores that will purchase a new, high-priced boutique cigar as long as it is supported.  What exactly that meant came to no conclusion.  His thoughts were that the consumer and the retailer would support a lesser known cigar even though it was priced at let’s just say $22 provided it was placed in the “right” shop – sounds a bit elitist to me.

ash close up K

(Gesh, you should see this ash, white as snow, compact, and hearty.  Solid construction is on this cigar’s side.)

My take is that a new boutique cigar has a better chance to build its brand if it comes in at a moderate price rather than a through-the-roof sticker shock cost.  I’ve represented many a boutique brand that came into the market – unknown, and were introduced at ridiculously high prices.  Eventually, that cigar manufacturer realized the cigar wasn’t moving at the higher price and that there needed to be a change.  Bring in a cigar that most guys could afford and then slowly bring in the higher-priced cigars simply because the brand now had some cred and the more dear cigar will at least be tried once.

Sure, a new cigar can be at an ultra-premium (i.e. expensive) price.  But I can assure you the moderately-priced newbie has a better shot at shelf space; once that’s accomplished – the rest seems to fall into place.  As written in Updike’s blurb, it sometimes seems as if the manufacturer is indeed “automatically obeying the voices of (tobacco) gods” and should really be aware of the economic conditions at the time – not imagined heavenly utterances.

(The cigar is getting more bold and complex as it smokes down, seeing that it started out rather mild.  An inviting change that should give this cigar a spot in the marketplace.)

“Forcing a new view of human behavior” (Headlee), i.e. that a cigar smoker will be more apt to try a higher-priced boutique cigar simply because it’s in the “right” shop seems a bit forced to me, and excludes who the manufacturer is trying to bring in – all cigars smokers.
So the discussion ended with the existence of two distinct, separate philosophies.  I understand his thought process, and I’m sure he understands mine.  Success be damned.

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