A Vital Warning from Atop a Ferris Wheel

My favorite movie ever is The Third Man, the 1949 film noir thriller starring Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, and the incredibly hot Alida Valli.

I’ve owned the film on VHS, laser disc, DVD, and now Blu-ray.

Like I told ya, I really LOVE that movie.

So much so that I dragged Deb with me on a Third Man walking tour of Vienna a few years ago, complete with zither accompaniment.

Anyway, I watch the film a LOT.

But watching it for the zillionth time last night, something knocked me on my butt for the first time.

It’s in the famous scene where Holly Martins (Cotten) and Harry Lime (Welles) meet on the Prater amusement park’s Ferris wheel, shortly before Welles’ legendary “Swiss cuckoo clock speech.”

Lime has stolen penicillin from military hospitals, diluted it for higher profit, and sold it on the black market. The effects have been devastating to his victims.

“Have you ever seen any of your victims?” an angry Martins asks his former friend.

Replies Lime, looking at the park from atop the wheel: “Victims? Don’t be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you £20,000 for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money? Or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?”

Seems to me that these days, too many internet marketers — and even offline business people — see their prospects and customers the same way Harry Lime saw people generally.

As dots. Or numbers.

But your prospects and customers are people. With needs and wants and worries and fears.

And when you forget that, they know it. And they stop doing business with you.

Then you’re sunk.

You probably won’t end up dead in the sewers of Vienna with a bullet in your back.

But your livelihood will be like yesterday’s sewage.

So my advice today is: Go rent The Third Man.

You’ll not only love it (and get a chance to hear the unforgettable cuckoo clock speech), you’ll learn how NOT to treat your prospects and customers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on both the film and its message! Go ahead. Leave a comment below. Don’t be afraid. 🙂

See you at the movies!

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