There was a time when life was slower paced and simpler. Take the turn of the century, for example- no, not the last one, the one before that—1900 into 2000. Folks back then didn’t have computers, telephones, automobiles, smartphones, credit cards, PayPal, online shopping, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, nor a plethora of other up-to-the-minute stuff. Hardly anyone had a car, so people who could afford it owned a horse and carriage.

Many people kept a horse far beyond the introduction of the automobile, even in cities. Horses are efficient, economical, they don’t burn gasoline, you don’t have to have insurance on them, they don’t use polluting products like motor oil or antifreeze, and you couldn’t text while riding one.

We can say that owning a horse for transportation today is silly because we have a 100+ years of historical perspective to prove us right but the folks facing the automobile trend didn’t have that luxury; they had to decide if it was good or bad and how it would affect their personal and financial life.

The optical industry and its professions are facing a number of trends, too. It’s easy to bemoan that things are fine the way they are but that’s not the way life works. Our industry has proven that it can turn out a cornucopia of new products, services, and processes continuously. Do we resist them? Do we try to keep the status quo?

Take eyewear retailing on the Internet. If the public didn’t want it, they wouldn’t use it. If they understood the value that their retail optical office provided to eyewear, they wouldn’t be looking for eyewear on the Internet. Not all online retailers turn out shabby work. You could be selling eyewear on the Internet, extending your services, and providing convenience. I could go on with this but you get the point. I’m not advocating online eyewear retailing; I’m simply pointing out that it’s here to stay because the public wants it and feels it has merit, right or wrong. Consumers will get what they demand, and while online eyewear retailing will probably never be big-maybe 12% of all Rx eyewear in the next 10 to 15 years —it will grow.

Take any modern example and test it this way and you’ll discover that many things have merit if you just remove your personal emotion and see it for the possibilities it may have. Remember, whenever there is chaos in the marketplace, there’s opportunity; the trick is to find it.

Do you want your horse back? Probably not, and I’ll bet you’ll pass on listening to John Philip Sousa’s band playing on a gramophone, too.

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