Don’t be Blockbuster

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June 3, 2021

When David Cooke opened the first Blockbuster video store in Dallas in 1985, he made it different from other video stores. At those mom-and-pop shops, you had to hope that one copy of Teen Wolf was returned on time and you happened to be at the store within minutes of its return.

So, Cooke stocked Blockbuster with tons of copies of new releases, stayed open until midnight and created a family atmosphere, which meant getting rid of the videos behind the back curtain.

Brian Horn, editor, Lawn & Landscape

But it was Cooke’s software that separated his store from everyone else. Instead of pen and paper logs to track videos going in and out, Cooke used databases to streamline inventory and made checking videos out more efficient. That allowed him to replicate stores faster than his competition and a year later he had 20 stores. By 2004, Blockbuster hit a peak of approximately 9,000 stores.

We all know the rest …if you don’t, I recommend The Last Blockbuster on Netflix. And speaking of Netflix, Blockbuster could have bought the now streaming giant for $50 million in 2000. They passed and the rest is history, although the former Blockbuster CFO claims that’s not why the blue and yellow monster failed. I’ll let you watch the documentary to get his point of view.

“Industry companies continue to see the worthwile investment technology can be. I know it can be pricey, but again, it’s an investment.”

But the documentary does infer that Blockbuster executives were too focused on the cash pouring in and not the competitor right around the corner.

I bring this up because of the importance software and technology continue to play in the green industry. Our technology report, which you can read turning this around to the back cover, includes research and stories about how landscaper’s interest in technology continues to grow. Industry companies continue to see the worthwhile investment technology can be. I know it can be pricey, but again, it’s an investment — it’s what can help your company become more like Netflix and not falter like Blockbuster. – Brian Horn