But, also I learnt in the journey, it is fairly easy to miss-read the purpose of things. Does Sun exist to warm up the earth, or keep it bound in an orbit? Or, less glamourously, is the business about making money or about making a difference? Do I exist to generate more carbon or to contribute?
The other issue about purpose is that it must change over time. Because the purpose is not inate in things, but it is what others, mostly people, find in it. Since societies and people change, the purpose of things must change.
I return to retail, as I must. For example, my grocer had a purpose to exist 20 years back - he was making available, under one roof, things that I needed to buy. That changed, since supermarkets invaded our lives. Sadly, the grocers still believe that they must exist for the same old purpose.
It seems our expectations, as consumers, change far faster than our habits as suppliers or producers. I see things changing in the booksellers' world. I do see a great future of specialist bookstores, who combine a great online and offline model, offer great value on books and create communities of customers.
But, well, how many do it? I was talking to the Finance Head of an upcoming retail store in Calcutta, and asked him how he intends to reward loyal clients. He said he believes the great collection and fine interiors will do the job. No online presence, I must add. No home deliveries. Well.. it has to be that purpose question I need to go back to, yet again.