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The Panhandler User Experience

by Howard Mann
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Are you making even the mundane memorable?

Panhandlers. Beggars. People who spend their days asking the age old question “Brother, can you spare a dime.” Every big (and some small) city has them and their approach is always the same… “Excuse the interruption. I lost my job, have no place to live, have no food, have 8 kids and need any money you can spare.”

They work the corners and ATM machines. On the subway, they move from the front car all the way to the back telling the same story over and over. They follow the exact same formula day in and day out with the same result. It has become so commonplace that people don’t look up or even blink at some of the saddest stories you can imagine.

Recently on a seemingly usual ride on the F train in New York City a man stood up and announced:

“The next stop is the 23rd street station. Connections can be made to the X,Y,Z trains. Up on the street you will find Barnes & Noble, Staples, Starbucks and The Container Store. Please be sure to pick up any newspapers you have left behind to help keep our subway system clean. Thank you and have a nice day.”

Every (now smiling) passenger was totally focused on him. He delivered a message that was concise, valuable and totally relevant to the people listening to it. He did it with energy and a friendly smile.

His delighted audience paid him generously for it.

post authorHoward Mann

Howard Mann, Howard Mann is the founder of Brickyard Partners, a business strategy agency based in Portland, OR. Prior to founding Brickyard Partners in 2001, Mann owned a premier international logistics company with over 140 Million in revenue, six U.S. offices and a global network of over 40 agents worldwide. As that business came under severe pressure from the previous economic downturn and industry consolidation, Howard lead the company out from those treacherous times by returning to the basics that make every business great and completing 6 acquisitions that re-imagined the business so it was highly attractive to buyers. Finding that “secret sauce” did not come easily but has fueled his purpose to help other business leaders to never have to go through what he endured. 

Through real world experience and those hard times in the “trenches” of business he has learned that it is not following the latest fad, copying competitors or adding complexity that makes a business truly great. His pragmatic approach and knowing what it feels like to sit in the CEO/Owner chair is what makes his work so different and effective. In addition to his strategy, marketing and communications work, Mann coaches a select group of entrepreneurs, CEO's and business owners. His highly focused workshops and keynotes help executive teams take aggressive action to unlock the true potential of their organizations and build remarkable businesses that endure. In good times and bad. Online and off. Howard is a sought after speaker both in the U.S. and around the world. He writes frequently on his blog about the importance of the basics and reconnecting to the passion that too often gets lost as businesses mature.

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