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By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com

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“Thank you America! Thank you!

Thank you for being a great country, a great people, a country made up of great people.

You know, we won this election based on many things, one of them is a slogan, and it’s a fabulous slogan, “Make America Great Again.” I say “we” won this election because we all did. Every one of us. There are no losers today. There are no losers in a free country when democracy grinds its often loud, often difficult way toward what it is we all desire, even though we propose to get there in different ways.

We argued and debated, checked and rechecked our system, and we learned that it is still a great system. It’s always been great. Today proves it’s great again. Our forefathers made this system great, and you’ve made it great again today.

This election proves what I’ve believed all along, America truly is great. The fact we’re standing here together, on this day, proves how truly great America is. It’s the reason I asked you two years ago to hire me for this job, one of the most important jobs in the entire world, and by far the most important and sacred job I’ve ever had the privilege of doing.

During this last administration Americans showed why we’re great. They rallied, they demonstrated, they debated on both sides and they worked through a difficult process to be heard. And you are heard. So here we are. Thank you for speaking up, and speaking out.

And I have one thing to tell you as we start out today, America: I hear you.

I hear you calling out from the factories and the assembly lines and the check-out counters. I hear you when you tell me that half of us can’t afford the basics even though the stock market nears all time highs. I hear you call out from both sides of the aisle, no matter where you live or how you live or what you earn. I hear you. And I’m listening.

I’ve heard that government is so bloated with its own rules and forms and regulations that it can’t push away from its own dinner table to answer the knock on the door of people who want the freedom and liberty to remain great, and the ability to be even greater.

I’ve heard that things like the Affordable Care Act are anything but affordable. I’ve heard that you can’t afford to take care of your aging parents even though you work three jobs and sixty hours a week. I hear that you can’t afford college for yourself or your kids so we can continue to be great. I’ve heard that you work so hard that you have no time to retrain for a new job in a changing economy. And I’ve heard one thing that bothers me the most, one thing that ultimately got me here today, I’ve heard, both here and outside our country, that America isn’t as great as it used to be. Well I don’t agree with that. Today proves we’re right.

And America, I’m listening. And I’ll keep listening.

You’ve hired me to do a job, and I’m honored to be the candidate chosen for that job, it’s the most important one I’ve ever had, and I’m humbled that we stand here today, together, ready to get to work. And along the way to getting here you’ve told me what you want done.

You’ve told me you don’t want a hand-out, that you want a way up. You’ve told me that Washington needs to lead, to follow or to get out of the way. We’re going to do some of all three, and in different ways than we’ve seen before.

I’ve heard that we face threats to the ideals and values that we hold dear. The things that are guaranteed to all women and men. These threats originate in places far, far away. We’ll meet those challenges with strength and resolve at every corner.

I know that the creeping cancer of terrorism threatens America. That cancer will never infect our country. I’ve already picked the strongest and most experienced team of people in history to lead our continuing fight against terrorism. And I have a message for those who choose violence and oppression over unity and liberty; Your evil ways are over.

And I know that you hired me not just to listen, but to deliver on the promise of an American dream that, during this past decade seemed, to many, like only a dream while we waited in endless lines and filled out endless forms for a hand-out or a fair chance when all we wanted was to get to work.

I hear you.

Today we do get to work. We work on forging an America better than ever before, built on the foundation of the greatest country on earth. Built by people from all over this world who have always wanted three precious things; a chance, a change and the freedom to prove there are no limits in the United States of America.

This won’t be easy, and in the long American workday we all won’t get everything we want as individuals. But America isn’t only about individuals. It’s about unity, community and our great national ‘whole’ being greater than the sum. That when we reach above our differences and find our common goals, our common aspirations, we can unite in the hard work to make our shared dreams into a reality better than ever before. And as Americans working together in these United States, we can accomplish anything.

I hear you America.

And now the world will hear the sound of an America made great once more. An America that rises up again and again and again, built upon a succession of yesterdays from our foundation and principles to a future of tomorrows greater than we can imagine. An America that will reach ideals and goals not yet dreamed of.

Think of our lives 30 years ago and how different they were then. Now try to imagine our lives 30 years from now in an age when the only constant is change and change happens so fast we sometimes feel we’re lost in a succession of ever-reinventing Americas that often seem strange, out of control.

But we are not lost. Our founders drew maps called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Those great maps will take us to our destiny across any future, no matter how changing and unforeseeable. When we use our shared ideals as our national roadmap we can navigate any change with courage, ambition and grace.

And as we navigate this change together I pledge to always stay the course of freedom, liberty, the strength of the American people and the things that have always made us great.

America, I hear you, and it is a joyous chorus of voices rising up as one to tell of a tomorrow greater than any of us can imagine.

America, I hear you. Now join me in listening to the sound of our success! May God bless these United States of America!”

 

Speechwriter’s Notes: 

  1. This is written in the language and speaking patterns of President-elect Trump. It is the result of listening to his oration and creating a style that is natural and comfortable for him, using his favorite words. It also includes his penchant for repetition of themes, and restating them in different words during the same speech.
  2. His penchant for speaking in themes, “promises” and leaving specific commitments out of the delivery.
  3. There is a moderate “centering” of position in the post-election rhetoric as the President-elect transitions from a divisive election narrative to the mission of aligning a divided nation in the interest of progress and cooperation; the campaign divided us, the President-elect’s term must unite us in order to accomplish anything.
  4. The speech, as written, runs only seven minutes (07:00). Previous inauguration speeches, including Ronald Reagan’s first address, ran over 20 minutes and were more substantive. In keeping with President-elect Trump’s history of orating only on theme rather than specific substance, and the success it has brought his campaign. At the President-elect’s discretion, specific themes can be outlined into the script while care is taken to maintain the continuity of the theme.
  5. The intent is for media to colloquially refer to this as President-elect Trump’s “I Hear You” speech, a theme that will be revisited throughout his term.

 

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By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com

President Obama during his speech at 2010 winter commencement held at Michigan Stadium on May 1st 2010. (SAM WOLSON/Daily)

Friday, January 20, 2017 is the final day President Barack Hussein Obama II will serve as President of the United States. He was President for 2,931 days.

Those were among the most significant days in my life.

The day President Obama was sworn in I owned a business grossing well over $1M. I earned an upper-middle class living. I owned a house in the city where I was born. I actively participated in local government, paid for a new car in cash and was on track with retirement savings for a person my age.

A year later I lost everything.

The full weight of the banking collapse, the global recession and the automotive meltdown settled on Dearborn, Michigan. The stock market plummeted to 6,000. People lost houses, businesses and livelihoods. I lost all those things and more. I had a stroke and lost part of my vision and needed heart surgery. I declared bankruptcy, packed a suitcase and moved to Tucson, Arizona in a modern day “Grapes of Wrath” migration to start a new life.

Now, 2,500 days later (give or take) I’m back. Detroit and Dearborn are back. I own part of a business again and write for four media outlets published around the world. Abandoned buildings and empty businesses on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn are gone. New ones are being built. Ford Motor Company is rebuilding its engineering center. Small businesses are going back into Dearborn. The stock market is flirting with a new record at 20,000.

Seven years later I have hope again.

It would be wrong to attribute America’s entire comeback to President Obama, and it would be equally inaccurate to blame all of America’s many remaining problems on him.

It is entirely accurate to acknowledge his steadfast adherence to his ideals. It is also accurate to credit him with a measure of unity and compassion that was much needed in America when he was elected.

When President Obama first took office our country was fractured and afraid. And while much of that feeling remains and even expanded during this last, divisive election year, President Obama presided over our national crisis with quiet strength, dignity and wisdom.

He inspired us to rise up, come out, speak up and get to work. If you believed in him, he inspired you to support his agenda. If you disagreed with him he inspired you to oppose his agenda with action and resolve. No matter your political orientation President Obama inspired us to action. He inspired us to hope we could be a part of the system, then he set an example that everyone can be a part of that system.

A consistent theme of President Obama’s time in office has been “Hope”. When he was elected he said;

Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

But hope is a hollow doctrine without action, and President Obama inspired us through his own action. In every policy that he believed in, in every doctrine that he supported, he was tireless, resourceful and relentless. I did not agree with all of his initiatives, but I remain inspired by his endurance, tenacity and grace in driving them.

Understand that President Obama stood for two things: his political agenda- that you may or may not have agreed with- and most importantly, the strength of hope. Not hope only for our own agendas and politics, but hope for every single American, regardless of politics, race, religion, orientation or aspiration.

That hope has carried us, sometimes in the absence of anything else.

 

 

 

By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com

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In a brutal week for traditional big-box U.S retailers, Sears Holding announced the closure of 108 Kmart and 42 Sears locations in 40 states. Overall 150 large department stores are being closed by the formerly popular department store brand. Additionally, department store giant Macy’s announced the closure of 68 stores across the U.S.

As with any large shift in business there is likely no single reason for the closures. They are the result of a complex amalgam of factors that have aligned to degrade the appeal of big department stores to retail customers.

What can the bicycle retail industry learn from the big-box closures?

If you insist on a singular narrative to the “big-box bust” it is failure to adapt.

Big box retail stores are essentially a time capsule of retail since the post World War II consumer boom era. They have not changed significantly since then. Items are stocked by category in displays on a large sales floor. Displays highlight featured products. Shoppers can see, feel and touch items before they buy them. And while this seems like a logical way to present and sell consumer goods it fails to acknowledge a simple theme: Most other factors in retail consumption have changed.

When Sears, JC Penney and Macy’s were founded Costco, Sam’s Club, online shopping, smart phones, Amazon.com “One-Click” and e-Bay did not exist. These new alternatives to traditional retail have exerted a kind of slow, painful “death by a thousand cuts” on traditional department store retail. Add the “reset” affect of the U.S. recession and structural changes in age demographics and you have a brutal conspiracy of factors working against traditional retail.

Retail has become increasingly polarized, with consumers gravitating toward either end of the retail spectrum. They buy from massive online and warehouse stores for commodity items like appliances, most daily apparel and food staples. They buy from small well-branded niche retailers for discretionary purchases like fashion apparel, luxury goods, specialty recreational equipment and items that help define their lifestyle.

The lesson for the bike industry is simple; sell, stock, display and market differently than old school department stores. Look at what they have done, and do the opposite.

Here are a few specifics for bike retailers: Avoid excessive program buying that makes any one brand dominant in your store making it feel like a generic “brand store”.

Bike brand takeover of independent bike dealers has been an emerging trend because of attractive pricing incentives for dealers, financing of inventory and the marketing strength that the big brands offer the small shops. These things sound great to a small specialty retailer. Bike brands have sold small independent dealers on the idea of “competing with the big boxes” by aligning with a big bike brand for marketing, financing inventory and even point of sale systems. The problem with that logic is that small specialty retailers don’t need to, and cannot, compete with the big box retailers. Instead, they need to create and maintain an entirely new identity unto themselves. They need to create their own niche, and that takes original thinking and acceptance of risk.

If there is a singular lesson it is: If the big box retailers are doing something, then the small independent bike shops should invent another approach. Small specialty bike shops should capitalize on their small size by remaining nimble with inventory, rapidly adaptive to trends and constantly changing their merchandising to reflect their position at the leading edge of the sport. They also need to be honest about the structural elements of their business. Are they located in an area where cyclists live, ride and shop? Does the local population use specialty retailers? Are they near other niche-category specialty retailers?

Finally, the small specialty bike shop needs to exploit the great equalizer of modern commerce, the Internet. This doesn’t necessarily mean having a shopping cart experience online, but it does mean presenting products that are unique and branding themselves by communicating a unique voice that reinforces expertise, candor and authority.

It’s possible for the small bicycle retailer to succeed, and some continue to, but the rules have changed and continue to change quickly enough that doing the same old thing will earn a retailer the same destiny as once-great retail giants Sears, Macy’s and JC Penney.