Archives for July 2013

The Gift Economy in business

'Uncle' Fata Strickland - a Samoan businessman who understands the gift economy

‘Uncle’ Fata Strickland (with WWOOFers) – a Samoan businessman who understands the gift economy

In this Sermon from Samoa, I share the importance of exercising faith in business and stretching our thinking on HOW to do this by removing the usual profit, power, planning and purpose motives from the business equation entirely, ending up with a bigger, better business based on closer, stronger relationships – with others and with God. Christians lean on the bible for guidance. Economists call it the gift economy. [Read more…]

Embarrasing Moments

"We're gonna put our tent up anywhere . . ." Oops!

“We’re gonna put our tent up anywhere we end up . . .” Oops!

My son answered a friend’s prompting with a video camera, “Now tell me about your Dad . . . ” “Well,” he replied “My Dad is never embarrassed – embarrasing sometimes, but never embarrassed!”

Mostly true, but not so entirely as this post explains:

[Read more…]

Samoa Domain Names

Samoa, in the middle of the largest expanse of water on the planet!

Samoa, in the middle of the largest expanse of water on the planet!

A random list of 750 or so Samoan Domain Names, because I’m sure you’re very interested!

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I’m very tempted

Scene of a Samoa bus accident tragedy in Lano, Savaii

Scene of a Samoa bus accident tragedy in Lano, Savaii.
Photo / Samoa Observer

A couple of ‘difficult’ guests caused me some problems recently, then ended up themselves in a tragedy. I’m sorely tempted to do what the Samoans did to those who suffered in the Tsunami of 2009 and say, “Well they deserved it!” or “Too bad eh?” or “People get what they deserve!”

But I can’t, and won’t. This is why . . .

[Read more…]

Lifting Samoan Tourism – Summary

Lifting Samoan Tourism – 11. Wisdom

rainbowIn previous posts I have shared thoughts on how to be realistic about Samoa’s Tourism troubles (the perceived crisis is actually just ‘situation normal’ here); the role of leadership (essentially politicians and bureaucrats are not business people); how to think strategically (a real mission for Samoans who have had a highly ordered life for generations); three practical steps for tourism operators to help themselves (develop niche markets, create strong productisation and work collaboratively) and the importance of applying creativity (again a mission for people who in the main only do anything if they have to, and pretty much leave their thinking to their leaders), but I cautioned that meaningful change is unlikely here due to leadership and cultural issues (best summarised by the somewhat obnoxious but accurate phrase ‘proud people’).

In this post I finish my commentary on Samoan Tourism by detailing the key to getting it right when moving forward, that of plugging into what I believe is God’s primary strategic purpose for Samoa, sacrificial giving in faith. If we get this right, then we will be acting with wisdom. It’s a hard message (to both elicidate and probably to receive). [Read more…]

Lifting Samoan Tourism – 10. Projects

Umu fire-starting - a regular Samon Sunday experience but mesmerising to a tourist!

Umu fire-starting – a regular Samon Sunday experience but mesmerising to a tourist!

Over the 3 1/2 years I’ve lived, worked and played in Samoa I’ve seen many opportunities to lift Samoa and Samoan Tourism at a local, regional and national level. Projects to develop better marketing of great resorts, natural resources and tourism-related experiences need not be complex or expensive but usually require vision, commitment and in many cases cooperation.

Most of them therefore have remained simply ideas, for Samoa struggles with all three.

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Lifting Samoan Tourism – 9. Relationships

tagaloa-and-guests

Guests with a local Matai – memorable to all. There is commercial potential and social benefit from retaining the relationships.

While there are tourists who prefer to remain aloof, and to see the Samoan people and culture from a distance, most visitors to Samoa wish to engage. Building relationships is central to the Samoan culture and fits naturally with the desires of the market. Building and maintaining relationships needs to be systematised at a country/industry level.

[Read more…]

Lifting Samoan Tourism – 8. Voluntourism

Voluntourist 'enjoying' plantation work on the WWOOFing programme

Voluntourist ‘enjoying’ plantation work on the WWOOFing programme

Voluntourism is a growth industry worldwide – the combination of tourism and volunteering. Sitting somewhere uncomfortably between corporate, NGOs, Religious and government endeavours, voluntourism can be formalised (like VSA, Peace Corp, AusAid or SWAP) or it can be as simple as a direct barter between a willing offshore donor and a recipient business in Samoa (I’ll help you with your [needed goods/services], if you give me a cheap/free holiday, sort of thing).

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Lifting Samoan Tourism – 7. Value Adding

Floating flowers - a form of art, is a simple way that Sinalei adds value, but there are ways to increase the perceived value.

Floating flowers – a form of art, is a simple way that one resort adds value, but there are easy ways to increase the perceived value still further.

One of the simplest ways to increase the health of a business is by value -adding. Applicable at all levels from a simple street vendor through all aspects of the tourism industry to a national level. I explain this important business principle and how it can be applied and used practically in Samoa.

[Read more…]