CERRITOS, Calif. — Attending the June 13 membership luncheon of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council was kind of like going to the movies. Guest speaker Kevin Coupe, retail analyst, author of the popular e-newsletter MorningNewsBeat.com and co-author of “The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies,” drew parallels between some of Hollywood’s most popular motion pictures and the business world. “Moneyball,” for example, is “a great business movie,” he said, because the story of how the Oakland Athletics use unconventional techniques to eventually end up in the World Series teaches businesspeople how to do things differently in the face of tough competition. “The Artist,” in which a silent-film actor resists the onset of “talkies,” teaches that “we must adapt to the fact that the environment changes,” Coupe said. Not even a company’s so-called “core values” should be immune. “It’s incredibly important to attack the sacred cows if you’re going to make change,” he said. The retail world is changing, too, he said. Trader Joe’s is changing the way people shop, Walgreens is getting into the food business, and retailers are switching from super sizing to downsizing, he said. In “The Hunt for Red October,” the submarine captain speeds toward a torpedo, which bounces off the ship because it has not had time to arm itself. Coupe advised his audience to go toward a challenge rather than run away from it. That way, he said, “You’re dealing with it on your own terms, and it’s less likely to blow up in your face.” He referred to a line from “Jaws,” when the characters spot the enormous shark for the first time and star Roy Scheider says, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.” “’Jaws’ is about the importance of dealing with reality,” Coupe said. Coupe encourages everyone in business, no matter what tactic or strategy they’re employing, to “make sure you have the right size boat.” “If you don’t have the right people, if you don’t have the right technology, if you don’t have the right vision, you may get eaten for lunch,” he said. Todd Smith, produce buyer for K.V. Mart Co./Top Valu Market, Carson, Calif., was master of ceremonies for the meeting, at the Cerritos Sheraton hotel. Key sponsors were Amport Foods, T. Marzetti Co., Naturipe Farms and The Oppenheimer Group.
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