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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thinking Backwards

I’m a big fan of Thinking Backwards; not backward thinking. I like to fully visualize a goal, concept, product, service, and/or business. I envision all of the possibilities, bells, whistles, etc… I envision the end first, commit to it in my mind, and then start from the beginning in order to get there.
This was true years before I opened my first Retail Tobacconist; I used to obsessively sketch the shop and make lists of things we would have and need. I made lists of the music we would play, colors we should use, I made lists for everything. Of course many things changed over time, but having a CLEAR VISION has always helped me understand where I am going.
Having a Clear Vision in life makes the endless decisions, details, ups and downs relatively easy and obvious. Thinking Backwards is about determining what and where you want to be and then working your way backwards and doing everything necessary to get there.
All of Tobacconist University has been created backwards; avoiding traditional revenue models, biased information and propaganda all while trying to create as much value as possible. We want:
  • free education for Consumers & Tobacconists
  • free promotion and leverage for Retail Tobacconists
  • Credibility within our industry
  • Credibility in our society
  • to Preserve Luxury Tobacco For Generations To Come
…. it is not a lot to ask for (?)… But these are extraordinary goals and there is no way to accomplish them with existing business or organizational models (i.e. advertising, product sales) ….. unless you Think Backwards. By Thinking Backwards, people can create new ways to solve problems and achieve [once unimaginable] goals.
So, when I think of Tobacconists and Certification, I think of the future. I imagine a world where Tobacconists are valued like Sommeliers, Masseuses, Realtors, Accountants, and other credible professionals. I imagine a respectable place for Retail Tobacconists in every community and a thriving marketplace to sustain them. I even imagine restaurants and bars with cigar & pipe sections, smoking lounges abounding, and plenty of places to enjoy luxury tobacco outdoors as well. I envision a future where consumers can’t wait to visit and learn from their Retail Tobacconists and have their appreciation enhanced and their expectations exceeded by a flourishing generation of cigar and pipe producers. I dare to dream of a society where non-smokers are not quick to chastise cigar and pipe lovers but rather understanding and considerate of our passions. I think of this ‘future world’ every day and move forward, one step at a time, towards our goal: a better quality of life. Anything else would be backwards thinking…

Jorge Armenteros, CMT

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