Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starbucks Could Learn a Valuable Lesson from... Gamers?

iTunes has been through this before. The Gap unsuccessfully navigated these treacherous waters. Starbucks has now ventured into the same depths.

What were they thinking rolling out a new logo in the age of Twitter?

The important lesson from all the negative tweets might sound outrageous, but let me make my case.

Even the people who live on the cutting-edge, the early adopters among us, are still highly resistant to change. Don't misread this. They like "new." But they are not so comfortable with change. There is a difference.

From Twitter user @DarrenLangley
Seemingly unrelated, but still significant evidence of this theory exists in the gaming community. One of, if not the most popular online game is Counter-Strike. At any given time there are between 60,000-80,000 people online playing Counter-Strike. The game was originally released in 1999. Now, a decade later, the game still tops the list of most-played online games. Countless newer alternatives have been released in the last decade including an updated version of Counter-Strike called Counter-Strike:Source. The updated version was released in 2004. The two games split the player base a bit, but they continue to both reside comfortably at the top of the charts each of them having over 50% more players than the next most popular game.

Why is this? Why can't anyone unseat this 12-year-old game? There are probably numerous factors going into this, but I believe one of the strongest draws of Counter-Strike is nostalgia and comfort. The players intimately know each map in the game. They have lived the last decade of their digital lives in this game, and the community is strong. Why would they ever want to change?

When you think about online gamers and people who live their lives on the web, we envision a community that craves the cutting edge. Could it be that those who crave the newest gadgets are not so willing to budge when they are asked to change? What should this teach us about how we approach change in our churches? Maybe that's a question we're afraid to ask honestly because we're afraid we wouldn't like the answer.
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