I have no pity whatsoever for Gerry Harvey. In my view he’s arrogant and out of touch.
It’s a view I formed in about 2000. At the time I was studying an Internet unit at Curtin for my MBA. Our assessment was a presentation about Gerry Harvey’s stand on the Internet. We played a clip of him being interviewed on a current affairs TV shows. His attitude was that the net wasn’t going to amount to a hill of beans. No, I’m not going to rush out and build an online retailing presence, he said. In fact I’m going to leave that to one of our franchisees. Then he went on to say that he’d keep an eye on it but he didn’t expect that he’d need to do anything.
Gerry moved too late. Way too late.
But it seems that he still doesn’t get it. He told The Age that the abuse had been particularly nasty on social media sites and blogs.
You might have got a nasty phone call or a letter back in the old days but now anything slightly controversial, these people, whoever they might be, they go for you zealously and with hatred all over Twitter, he said.
If you are a CEO of a company and you speak out and then the board gets involved… it is suicidal. Because of my profile, I then get all these threats and people home in on me.”
What he appears not to realise is that “these people, whoever they might be” are Australians just like me. “They” include me. “They” are his country mates. “They” think, have opinions and know how to write.
Perhaps it’s time for Gerry to stop being so arrogant. Perhaps it’s time for him to listen to what people are saying. For “they” aren’t expressing hate but rather a frustration that big business simply isn’t listening.
The tables have turned Gerry.