Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Grocery Store Sourcing
July 10, 2008, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Research, Thoughts


There is an endless supply of information available to us these days. This information comes at us in all forms – emails, blogs, RSS feeds, tweets, at times I know we all feel bombarded. Come join the latest social network! Check out my new website! Please subscribe to my blog! How can you possible keep up with the latest trends within your industry to maintain a competitive sourcing edge without spending the rest of your life trying to play catch-up with your RSS reader?

I propose looking at the flow of information and knowledge outlets in the same manner that you approach a trip to the grocery store. When some people go to the grocery store, they create a list of items they need ahead of time. This makes the trip quicker – in and out. Of course, there are always a couple of rogue items that get put into the shopping cart that were not on the list (usually your kid sneaks a candy bar or a bag of chips in when you’re not looking). Then, there are those who have an idea in their head of what they need when they hit the store. Usually, more rogue items end up in those people’s shopping carts, right? 

Regardless, you go to a grocery store, filled with thousands upon thousands of perishable and non-perishable items, and you come out with only a small sampling of what was available to you. Why? Because that’s all you need – at the moment. However, those other items that you did not purchase will be available to you the next time you need to go shopping, just in case you need one or two of them.

How is this like our seemingly endless flow of information? Well, the Internet is like that grocery store. It houses all the different portals and networks that we need on a daily basis to have a competitive edge in sourcing. Each of these knowledge outlets is like an item sold by the grocery store. They serve a specific purpose for a specific audience. And the important thing for us to remember is that we don’t have to buy every item in the grocery store (register with every network, read every blog, subscribe to every RSS feed). All we need to do is go in with our list, take what we need, and leave the rest on the shelf, knowing that if we need it next time we go to the store, it will be available to us.

What are some good ways of keeping these things organized? The example I’ll use is RSS feeds. I have about 16 different folders in my reader – one for recruiting blogs, one for PR blogs, one for analyst relations blogs, another for social media, etc. Each one is a specific category that I can choose to read at my leisure. Or, I can collect the blog posts for future reading if it’s not an area of top priority to me. For example, I still have a folder for RFID, which is an industry in which I researched over 2 years ago. Who knows if I’ll ever need that knowledge again? But just in case, I’ve got that folder there waiting for me.

So, remember that you don’t have to buy everything in the store; just get what you need at the moment and know that the other items will be there if you need them. Happy Sourcing!

3 Comments so far
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very well written post! looking forward to seeing you at SC08….


Comment by Jeremy Langhans

[…] Grocery Store Sourcing « Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess (tags: rss filter) […]

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An excellent metaphore comparing a grocery store to all that information streaming in.

As a guy, I admit I’m sometimes (often) intimidated when forced to go shopping. I mean all those different engergy drinks! How many names for brown can there be? Is it ethical to buy two knowing you’ll have to return one later?

I prefer to get in and get out, but the stores keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger; and I get lost everytime they change the store layout. Suddenly I’m in kids sports, when I thought I was going to electronics. (I can always find the candy isle whenever I’m really stressed.)

Shopping is a skill to be learned, over time, sometimes without mom or friend to mentor.

Such is the world of Information. Intimidating as hell sometimes, but the alternative is to starve.

Comment by Steve Delaney

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