Thursday, April 4, 2013

Is Selling Online A Science or an Art?

Yesterday, I was talking to a store manager about buying some of his old inventory at a deep discount so I could flip it on eBay or Amazon. He said that he’s already got someone working on developing the science of eBay so his current employees can learn to do it.  So he’s hanging on to the outdated items as they accumulate in his already over crowded warehouse.

My knee-jerk reaction was to say: “It’s not a science, it’s an Art!”  Well, he thought that was some kind of sales pitch, so it ended the useful part of the conversation.  But I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I guess baking a cake is science – 2 cups of this and a tsp of that, stir, cook at 375, etc.  But it doesn't give me the sense of having accomplished something that I get from finishing a good listing a rare and interesting one of a kind old book.  There’s so much room for individual taste and preferences.  Experience certainly shows through.

So, I started to wonder:  what’s the difference between a science and an art?   For one thing, I think it’s a lot easier for a scientist to get a job than it is for an artist to find work doing art.  Scientists don’t get to have wine and cheese parties.   There’s certainly an overlap with both technology (the science part) and creative both required.   Here’s where I stopped myself as I recognized the vicious cycle of the chicken or the egg sort.

I’d like to hear any other thoughts on this question.  

Are internet sellers scientists or artist? Both?