July 15, 2011
News & Opinion: The Obvious Choices
So I've been thinking about some examples that have struck me and continue to come to mind. Examples that aren't so obvious, yet have their own undeniable awesomeness. The first that comes to mind is Sally Hogshead's analysis of Jaegermeister, the "delicious" liqueur who's brand continues to grow in spite of the fact that no one claims to enjoy it's taste. Sally's reference to this enigma appears in her book Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation and it's a compelling study. On the surface, it seems illogical, yet the business truth exists. But how? You'll have to read Sally's book to understand that (and how to create that scenario for your business), but the point is that this is an obscure example, and almost because of its obscurity, it stands out more.
When we look at obvious examples, we make assumptions. That's not to say that obvious examples aren't relevant in terms of what they address, but it is interesting how we perceive them and how we absorb them.
On an even more obscure scale, author Hugh MacLeod uses a tiny meat market in Texas to exemplify how companies (and individuals) can "keep it simple," meaning, do as much of your business as you can yourself, and serve your customers in the most helpful way possible. As Hugh realizes at the end of his story, there's a good amount of money to be made in that philosophy. Check out this story and more in his book Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination.
Certainly, there are many other examples, but you get the idea. Sometimes it's good to not take the obvious route. Look around, observe things, take note. There's a lot to learn out there, but sometimes the lessons come from examples that are far easier to find, understand, and analyze, than the big, obvious choices.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.