Optical Retail Success 89


Formerly Optician Success but still the same tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.


Innovate or Die

Toys-R-Us, the biggest toy retailer in the history of the universe, is declaring bankruptcy and closing more than 800 stores because they rested on their laurels. They refused to innovate and tried to serve the market like it was Feb 2, 1993.

Guess what? Optical retailers are doing the same thing, but they somehow expect a different result. We’ve had a cushy run, for a long time, with a steady stream of customers, thanks to the AOA and long arm of the law. That happens to be the only thing keeping us from imploding right now. But the foundation beneath the old way is crumbling. The cards are toppling and the ground is quickly approaching.


Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

—Stephen Hawking


We Need More Freaks

In industry after industry, the Internet eats away at the middle. Average people don’t care enough about their average products, to do more than click and buy.

So, it’s never been truer, if you are selling to everyone, you are selling to no one.

Remember Muzak? That’s what happens when you try to make something for everyone and that’s the same feeling when I walk into most opticals.  

It doesn’t matter how good you are. Being better isn’t enough to separate you from the masses.

Being better is absolutely essential, yes. In fact, you have to strive to be among the best at what you do. No question. Studio musicians are some of the best you’ll find anywhere, insanely good, often better than rock stars, but they’re not rock stars.

The difference is, a rock star has a connection with the fans. There’s something different about a rock star that a small (niche) group of people closely identify with. Those people become so fanatical about the work of the artist—that’s why they’re called fans—that they buy everything the artist creates. Not only that, they feel obliged to tell the world about the joy it brings them.


We need Rock Star Opticians.


I’m not suggesting opticians need to build a false persona, in fact, quite the opposite, a Rock Star Optician has to be authentic, but not afraid to be different. Take what love about optical and—here’s the key—combine it with something else you love, that you can relate back to a core group of your ideal customers (fellow freaks), then seek to become the best (maybe even the only one the world) at the intersection those things.


Dr. Garrett Wada is not an optician, but he’s a freak and a rock star

We need more freaks.

If you can do this successfully, you can escape the fate of the middle, because the core fans of a Rock Star Optician (or doc) are not only a consistent source of income, but they are also marketers, salespeople, and amplifiers for your business, your passion, and your brand.


This is not just about success, but survival.


The bad news is, there is no guarantee that any of this will work. The worse news is that there is a near certain guarantee that business-as-usual will, sooner or later, result in no business at all.


We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit.

—Stephen Hawking


AOA’s War on the Future Is Past


Already, deep learning AI is matching or exceeding the performance of experts in identifying and grading the severity of the diabetic retinopathy. Even crazier, the software wasn’t programmed to recognize its features. It looked at thousands of healthy and diseased eyes and figured out by itself how to spot the condition. That’s not a bad thing.  

Ocular telehealth advocates are gearing up for battle in the handful of states where the AOA has successfully lobbied to have use of telemedicine platforms for eye exams prohibited.

They recently announced the launch of Americans for Vision Care Innovation, a collection of more than a dozen advocacy groups, research organizations and online eye care vendors formed to “encourage states to adopt legislation allowing vision care telehealth services, including online vision testing and online prescription renewal for glasses and contact lens wearers, and to end restrictions on such services where they exist.

Perhaps it’s time we accept the idea that telemedicine and self-refraction technology are not going away. The sooner we abandon this Luddite struggle and use the wasted time, energy, and resources to find a way forward that serves the needs of patients and the market, not just the myopic needs of the profession, the better.


You can disdain gravity all you want, call out its unfairness, seek to have it banned.
But that's not going to help you build an airplane.

—Seth Godin





Stephen Hawking’s Advice for A Fulfilling Career

Homing in on what you love can give you the raw energy that blends career and identity; that allows your work to give you greater meaning and purpose beyond chasing promotions or paying bills (a notable side effect of being a Rock Star Optician).


Stephen Hawking was certainly a Rock Star Physicist.


Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it

—Stephen Hawking


Video of The Week:  Compensate For What!?

If you have ever wondered what exactly is going on with compensated free-form lens designs and why the lens power returned from the lab does not match the lens prescribed. We’ve got your answer right here.


Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.

You can help keep it going in two ways:

Become a paid member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).

Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!


I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success.  

Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.

Thanks for reading and sharing!