Thursday, February 26, 2015

Its in the Flies

If you have ever walked into a fly fishing shop and looked around for at least 5 minutes, its not hard to see that everything they sell is expensive. Weather it is fly rods, waders, boots, fly tying materials, nets, packs, and so on. If i had to take a guess i would say that most of their monthly sales comes from rods and reels but that is not the case and it actually only makes up about 10-20% of total monthly sales. If you think about a printer, most of the money that is made is not from selling the actual printer, the money is in the ink cartridges. Just like fly shops, the money is not in the fishing rod, it is in the flies. The flies are what keeps the money coming in as well as the customers. Today the price of your most basic fly pattern is about $2.50. Some of those fly's consist of a piece of string tied to a hook. It is expensive and adds up quick and i have yet to meet anyone that has been out all day fishing and hasn't lost at least 3 or more to a tree or the bottom of the river. 

Which leads up to my next topic of online sales of flies.Who wouldn't want to save money for basic fly patterns like the San Juan worm or simple bead headed nymphs which consist of minimal material and skill to make. Those are the types of flies i would be buying online but still buying the more sophisticated flies at my local shop that i know are of high quality, design, and will stand to last. Although it is a matter of time before someone steps in and starts selling flies online and becomes a reputable seller. As soon as word gets around that you can buy well made fly's online at half the price, people are going to react. This will eventually bring more competitive pricing to all areas as well as more innovation in the design of flies. With more competition, fly shops (who actually know what the fishing industry wants) will have a first mover advantage over their online competitors. Shops might have to lower their margins when it comes to flies but will be able to make up for that with their "specialty" flies that aren't available online. People will still be buying rods, reels, and everything else from the shops because most people still like to touch and feel those types of products before they buy (at least i do). Not too many people are very concerned about seeing a fly in person before buying because they know exactly what they are getting. As time goes on i feel like it will be harder for shops to compete with online fly sellers and that is a scary fact because without those shops we have nothing. You can't replace the feeling of walking into a shop and talking to friendly people that work there about fishing and hearing their own opinion about a product. When it comes down to it, a fly is just a fly, but a fly purchased at a local shop comes with an experience and advice that an online retailer will never be able to knock off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The book Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein was an interesting read. The whole idea of the book was about the choices people make and how we are led in different ways to make better ones. This book doesn't just tell you that if you are eating unhealthy you should quit doing that and eat healthier foods. Instead it simply exposes people to what is called choice architecture to help boost a certain response to something. Choice architecture basically means the different ways choices can be presented to somebody. A very basic example of choice architecture would be the design of a 4 burner stove top as described in the book. The oven at my house has the nobs in one row above the burners and as dumb as it sounds it always makes me double check to see what electric burner got turned on. Having the nobs positioned in a way that represents burners on the stove top indirectly influences my decision which therefore is an example of choice architecture. Thaler tries to find a common ground between libertarians and paternalists. This works because you can give people the freedom of choice and at the same time structure those choices in a manner that will help them. Thaler states that the golder rule of libertarian paternalism is offer nudges that are most likely to help and least likely to inflict harm.

An example of a clever Nudge i noticed was this past Christmas when i was skiing with my family at a hill in Minnesota called Afton Alps. I grew up snowboarding at this place and always remembered their being cans everywhere while going up the lift. There was a trash at the top but that didn't seem to help much. Since the last time i had been there, which was about 4 years ago, they had put a big trash can under the last lift pole. Instead of people throwing their cans off the lift they would hold on to them and try to make the basket.
This was an easy answer to their on hill trash problem and people enjoyed it at the same time. This is the kind of stuff that nudges are all about.