When Values Lose Value

It was first the sticker that got my attention. Like a bad word said at family supper, the stick figure decal stuck out with its subversive picture, of two adults having at it in public. And then I saw the car.

A neat black Mini Cooper. It’s the kind of car for someone like me- renegade bohemian with a taste for the fine things of life. I overhead the car owner said to another guy, “07 model. Europe used.” Quite neat for a 2007 model, I thought. “Everything in it is BMW. It’s a BM.”

Of course I knew the Mini has been a BMW property since 2000. But then the fellow quipped: “It’s just that people here don’t know the value.” Yes, value! This is why I’m doing this post.

Here’s another anecdote. In 2014, our ad agency wanted to buy official cars for the directors. As one of those said directors, I was asked what I thought and I said, Wait, let’s buy something unusual. You know what, I know the Mini Cooper is too close to the ground and would lose in a Lagos traffic jam battle; but what if we bought three FJ Cruisers—in fire red!

My boss was quiet. “I’ll get back to you on that,” she said.

We ended up with that year’s Ford Explorer and kept the factory black. And you know what? She was absolutely right. We were not at crazy FJ Cruiser values yet. Clients and colleagues preferred those Explorers—didn’t regard us as a bunch of wackos, which, in Nigeria, would have been bad for business.

Finally, story number 3 about values:

The CBN’s policy on FOREX has been a temperamental seesaw. And with each of their declarations, the naira has either jumped or cowered, throwing ordinary folk into jitters about the future. Some learned thinkers, however, think the CBN is overplaying its hand and, with crypto in the equation, may find itself outmanoeuvred, going forward from 2021.

So. We may or may not be in a simulation but we’re definitely in a movie. Screenwriters have a term for what we’re currently seeing: Value Shift. It is that point in a scene when change happens and the story gets better or worse. It’s been argued that every scene must have a value shift to impact the big story.

As it is for cars, tech, business, and currency, values are shifting. But thousands of us would miss the moment either because we wouldn’t know what to look for or we’d let change petrify us. But change, yes, is inevitable. If the new crypto, Netflix, and Tesla millionaires have taught us one thing, it’s that we must find a channel to learn the factors triggering this shift and—if it’s important to you—align with the new values. Expeditiously.

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