2 Responses

  1. Giles Lury The Value Engineers
    Giles Lury The Value Engineers at |

    Great article and I agree

    In fact made me think of one of the stories I tell – in this case about James Dyson and thinking and doing things wrong…

    James Dyson likes to do things “wrong”.
    While vacuuming his home, he became frustrated with
    the lousy suction of his vacuum cleaner. The bag and filter
    clogged too quickly, reducing the suction power to a point
    where he thought it hardly worked at all. Dyson decided
    enough was enough and he had to do something about it.

    Over 15 years, he built 5,126 prototypes before he found
    the one that worked to his satisfaction. What took him so
    long? His answer would be that it took him ages to think of

    He explains: “When I was doing my vacuum cleaner, I started
    out trying a conventionally shaped cyclone, the kind you see
    in textbooks. But we couldn’t separate the carpet fluff and dog
    hairs and strands of cotton in those cyclones. It formed a ball

    (extract from my book The prisoner and the Penguin …and 75 other modern marketing stories

  2. Edward Appleton
    Edward Appleton at |

    An interesting topic, thanks for highlighting it. I have a slightly different take – that we are trapped in stultifying narratives that have little bearing on what people really go through. Which includes – if I may – telling stories about successful people (Dyson) who just kept on chipping away, for ages, until they succeeded. This to me doesn’t resonate because it smacks of cliche and Hollywood happy ends.

    My own preference is for a different dichotomy – honest versus dishonest, as they relate to authenticity and that itself relates to resonance. Honesty can be about anything, success of or failure. From the heart, to quote Chet Baker.

    I am interested in success stories if (for example) the role of chance, and waywardness or even plagiarism were incorporated authentically. Failure stories are only interesting – I would argue – if they reveal complexities of how things move forward, in a wayward rather than ridiculously linear pattern. Prof. John Kay on obliquity is fascinating. Failure per se is not necessarily interesting.

    In any context, honesty comes with a whole shopping basket of risk, and makes the teller vulnerable.

    As we are still in transition mode between shareholder capitalism and stakeholder business concepts, I would sympathise with anyone who sticks to the sunny side of success narratives. The downside is of course the impact this has on people listening to a potentially saccharine and less than 100% revealing narrative….zzzzzzz.

    Great post. btw my recollection of Beckett is more in the line of “Can’t go on. I’ll go on” – ie hardly finding success through failure. Martin Luther “Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders” would be my suggestion.


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