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Gerry Harvey responds to Kogan

Posted: 16 Aug 2010

Last week Today Tonight ran a story on the LED TV price wars in the Australian consumer electronics marketplace. They interviewed me about the Kogan business and they also interviewed Gerry Harvey for his take on the situation. You can see the story here: As some of you know, I hold all entrepreneurs in high regard. I respect the risks they have taken, the sacrifices they have made and the hurdles and roadblocks they have had to overcome to persevere with their ideas and produce all the goods and services that we depend on in our daily lives. As such, I hold Gerry Harvey in very high regard. 49 years ago, he invented a business model that forever changed the Australian retail landscape. Because of my respect for such an accomplished businessman like Gerry Harvey, it was sad to see him on the back foot and being very defensive about changes that the industry is undergoing. I have never seen Gerry behave in this manner, even during the recent financial crisis, he was always the one in the media with an optimistic outlook. Our goal at Kogan is to make technology more affordable for all Australians. We never want to achieve this by bad mouthing our competitors -- in fact, we want more competition. We think more competition will drive us to do bigger and better things and will help make technology more affordable for all Australians. A good entrepreneur is someone who can take a rational look at the marketplace, absorb all the conditions and find a way to create extra value for the consumer. A good entrepreneur does not resist change, but embraces it. It is sad to see that Gerry Harvey is living in denial when it comes to the business model he engineered (which has been a great business model over the last 49 years). The fact is, the business environment and marketplace is constantly evolving to find ways to bring better value to consumers. Companies and entrepreneurs who cannot adapt to the changing landscape are doomed to fail. I encourage Gerry Harvey to look at amazing entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs and to realise how they have had to constantly re-invent their businesses to adjust to trends, and set new trends, to ensure their customers are always winners. In the Today Tonight interview, Gerry Harvey told me, "the competition is on, and guess what? You've lost". I hope Gerry doesn’t think it is going to be that easy :). Harvey Norman is many times larger than Kogan today, but I challenge Gerry Harvey to compare the growth of his business with Kogan’s growth – I’m sure that data may cause Gerry to rethink his view. I would like the opportunity to explain to Gerry that the competition is just getting started. I am proposing a LIVE DEBATE between Gerry and myself as to the current state of the consumer electronics industry, where it is heading and how we can make technology more affordable for all Australians. My only condition for the debate is that it must be uncut and unedited - other than that, I am ready..anytime..anyplace! If Gerry agrees, I will approach every major broadcast network in Australia to see who wants to host the debate. I hope Gerry will agree to this discussion that will help make the consumer electronics market more competitive and provide better value for everyone. I will keep you posted with progress on this. I truly hope Gerry will be open to discussing ways we can make the industry better in an open forum. All the best, Ruslan Kogan Founder & CEO

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