Sunday, August 7, 2011


Charlie and four of his octopi friends
(Photo courtesy of S. K. A.)

An enterprising local boy from Kauai has combined his passion for octopus fishing with the e-commerce vitality of the juggernaut social medium, Craigslist.  

Fellow Kauaians who eagerly search for octopus in local stores, sadly discovering that this seafood is often sold out, find themselves without bait while their friends and other fishermen are hauling in papio, ulua, and other game fish that are compelled to strike the alluring tentacles and mantles of the octopus.

In the meantime, Charlie, a proficient octopus hunter, was facing a different kind of problem.  He had a freezer full of octopi.  Even after giving some of the delicacy to family and friends, he found himself hard pressed to clear up room in his freezer for ice and frozen foods.

One day, while discussing the very issue with his brother over the telephone, the proverbial light bulb came on.  Hey!  Why not advertise on Craigslist?  What could he lose?  After all, the listing would be free, and in what appears to be a double dip recession, you can't beat FREE!

His brother thought it was a brilliant idea and fully supported it.   Although Charlie was initially skeptical of the idea, he found his brother's support to be encouraging.

One day, then, he drafted a simple little ad and posted it on the Kauai Craigslist.

At first, not unlike Charlie's initial endeavors to catch the slippery, elusive TAKO (Japanese) or HE'E (Hawaiian), the lack of response almost prompted him to abandon what appeared to be a hairbrained idea.  But he committed to leaving the ad up for another week.

Eventually, like the sudden shock of a big fish hitting a line with tremendous impact, the first sale came through.  At first, the initial sales were few and far between.  Gradually, however, the entrepreneurial dam cracked wide open, and like a rushing, hellbent flood, orders began pouring in.  

Soon thereafter, Charlie's octopus stash was 100% depleted.  

About the same time, Kauai was hosting its annual papio/ulua fishing contest.  The locals were in a frenzy as they searched high and low for the prime octopus bait.

You know how it goes when demand overshadows supply.  The economic dynamics favor the seller. Such was the case with Charlie...big time!

Literally working his butt off (he'd lost 15 lbs in a month's time), Charlie went diving almost every day, diligently studying and taking wise advantage of the tidal and meteorological patterns.  He was able to meet his orders while growing a substantial customer base and a secure advance reservations list.

Most of us have heard the recent news about tragic Craigslist events.  This post won't give any attention to these things beyond the mere mention of them for the purpose of creating a contrast.

We need more stories like Charlie's to provide a basis with which to inspire other aspiring hobbyists and potential businessmen to utilize Craigslist and other social media for the promotion of constructive and successful transactions.  This is of special significance during these anxious and unsettling economic times.

Congratulations to Charlie and others like him who perpetuate the American economy, one small step at a time.

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