Business Lesson from a Child’s Smile

2min30 read –

I bought a nice car recently.

My nephew saw it and loved it, he is 6 years old.

Impressed by the car, he eagerly wanted to go inside, so we decided to go for a drive.

My nephew was excited as if it was Christmas eve.

He was behind, standing in the middle space.

I told him to sit down and buckle up.

To avoid flying and crashing into the windshield if I suddenly brake.

Then he answered: “But it’s ok, it already happened to me twice, in Mom’s car !”

I stopped, turned around, and looked at him.

He was smiling big time.

Proud like a shining 38-ton truck.

His big, wide-open eyes were spitting fire of joy and pride.

With his funny haircut and cute face, he looked like a character in a Japanese cartoon who had just discovered a dragon egg.

This moment is what I call a Matrix Error * , a tiny detail with monumental consequences.

And this happens in cross-country business, all the time.

We can call it a cultural gap, a language misunderstanding, or anything we want.

It does not matter.

What matters is that a Matrix Error has the power to kill your business.

One example.

Two years ago I set out to sell the products of a European company, here in Indonesia.

I had a training and a brief on the strategy and objectives.

My pitch was ready and compelling.

This is what I told the first customer I was able to put a hand on :

Here is the product that you already know and use.

I am the new sole representative of the original maker of this product for the Indonesian market.

My value proposition is to connect you to this European manufacturer so that you :

Get direct access to the original product.

Original product, the best quality.

No more low-quality copycats.

Faster delivery time.

No middlemen.

Lower prices.


Now that I think of myself at that time, I realize I must have looked like my nephew.

Big smile, proud of my terrific value proposition, unbreakable, indestructible.

The customer looked at me …

And his look was the same look I had for my nephew in my car.

My proposition, if he accepted it, would kill the existing purchasing circuit he had for years.

A circuit with many middlemen, all happy to get a fee.

Lower quality products, that need to be replaced more frequently, meaning more purchase orders, meaning more fees.

I was in front of a Matrix Error and I did not see it.

The way this customer buys might not be right or good or effective, … maybe.

But doing business is not about being right or wrong.


It is about understanding what the customer does, how and why he does it, what he needs, and addressing the need.

For customers who don’t know exactly what they need, your suggestions will be highly valuable to them.

They will learn and you will earn a spot in their mind.

And when the time comes to choose their supplier, you will be a “top of mind” candidate.

But your proposal should not put the customer’s world upside-down because you “think” he is “wrong”.

Instead, stick to your company values, provide expert ideas, and don’t impose what you think is good or bad for the customer.

When you have to spot and avoid Matrix Errors in a country like Indonesia, it’s pretty impossible to succeed alone, or quickly.

The experience and knowledge of a local partner will help you.


Contact us at Cintasia to :

Avoid the Matrix Errors we have made ourselves

Save time and learn from our successes

Get your value proposition right

Win orders and contracts


PS: Matrix Error ? -> In the Matrix movie there is a moment when a cat appears strangely, revealing a bug, and the existence of the matrix… a small detail leading to huge consequences.