I have always felt uneasy about those cheesy posters that businesses like to hang in offices to motivate staff. I once joined a firm in a pretty senior role and above my desk was one of those terrible propaganda pieces. I don't remember the exact detail of the content because I had my assistant consign it to the storage room ("be sure it faces the wall"), but it was an image of a rowing eight, taken from above at sunset on a river in Massachusetts or somewhere there is russet light. Very Ivy League. Beneath the image was the word TEAM and the legend - There is no 'i' in team. Even now it produces a feeling of nausea that I find hard to explain.
So I appreciate the antidote. Despair.com
specialise in demotivation posters and such-like. This morning I got an email announcing that new designs are now available. They are very funny. On the site - accompanying the TRADITION image it says:
Grammar Nazis who think this is a double-negative, when it's really a litotes. (If you write us snotty emails about how you'd love to buy this design if only it were grammatically correct, we will hunt you down and pummel your noggin so hard with "Elements of Style" that you will no longer be able to form complete sentences.)
My bet is that they sell truckloads.
It is further evidence, as if any were needed, that there is opportunity in opposites.
If you see a business succeeding in a category - analyse what they do and how they do it and find the people who can't stand it.
You might find the niche is worth exploiting.
Harley Davidson did. People grew to love the ruthless efficiency of Japanese motorcycles. Looked good, went reliably, performed well, but boring. Harley made some truly terrible machines in their day (including a range of small capacity trail bikes that were really a case of(bad)ge engineering - but the less said about that the better) however, manufacturing process can be improved and HD's new management stepped up to the plate and swung for the fences (just thought I'd drop in an American metaphor there). What the Japanese brands couldn't invent was heritage or take ownership of the American fantasy of freedom to roam away from he conformity of suburbia and city life.
Every tribe needs another to pull it together. How much support would the Israelis get from the world if there was no conflict with their Arab neighbours? Peace is not in their best interests. They would vanish from the media radar. The placid child gets little attention.
The moment a rebellious brand becomes an institution you can count on a new contender arriving to shake things up. Without the Sex Pistols there would have been no New Wave, no Talking Heads and Joy Division - the excesses of stadium rock and disco signalled the entropy of an era.
I'd hate to be a member of the Green Party now. Their message, once radical, is now a mainstay for most of New Zealand's centrist political parties. By gaining seats in parliament they have been absorbed into the flow of the mainstream. So why do we need a Green Party? They are marginal but lack the radical differentiation you must have to survive on the fringe.
In the coming election watch as political spin doctors invent differences between parties where none truly exists. You will be distracted by the likes of Helengate
but, when the dust settles we'll have a parliament filled with, mostly, the same old faces, the same old rhetoric, the same (relatively) even distribution of numbers and power and another layer of dust.
One more from Despair.com before I get on with some real work:
The Pessimist's Mug - makes everything taste bitter.
In these irrationally exuberant times, it's getting harder and harder for the self-respecting pessimist to stay unhappy. So pervasive is the hope, so overwhelming the positivity, that without the firmest grip on your sullen perspective, you might actually lose it. Then one day, you wake up looking at the bright side, whistling some inane showtune, and generally annoying everyone around you.
Go on…you know you want one…