Drop a dime on the street with the human pay phone

I’m in Bogota for a few speeches this week. When I travel, I always try and observe how people approach entrepreneurism and marketing.

When I saw this man offering his cell phone on a chain for 200 pesos (.10 US) a call, it stopped me dead in my tracks. He is a human pay phone! He wasn’t alone, there was a human pay phone on every block — just like pay phones used to be prior to the wireless revolution in telecom. And they were busy!
You see, in Columbia telecom carriers offer unlimited usage plans, just like in the USA. Meanwhile, traditional pay phones vanished. Hundreds of out of work people innovated and bought cell phones, then made simple signs offering them to anyone who either didn’t have a cell phone or had a dead battery.

This is the heart and soul of how small business operates: Leverage economic trends and gaps in big biz thinking to fulfill unmet needs.