Does Mom Always Know Best?

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

7 June 2018

She picked out your clothes for the first twenty years of your life. She’s fed you countless meals. She knows your favorite ice cream flavor and loves bragging about your life’s accomplishments. She’s your Mom. And while I am sure she embodies grace and knows a thing or two about a thing or two, she may not be the right person to consult about your business endeavors. Whether we are talking about your logo design, your business plan, or your newest hire, her motivation may not be the same as that of a stakeholder in the company.

Maternal Malarkey

Ed developed a chip that can be inserted into the brain stem to record personal data. It provides insurance companies with all the information needed to rate life, health, auto, and homeowners policies. This chip will revolutionize the industry. But before bringing it to market, Ed asked his mom for help. Three years later, the product launched alongside a new dating app – Mother Knows Best. Instead of gathering personal information for the insurance industry, Ed’s Mom convinced him to harness the data for something really important … her algorithm for love.

A View From the Balcony

When it comes to important business decisions, it may be best to pause and think about the situation from different perspectives, from disinterested (or at least objective) third-parties. Imagine all sides of the argument – and imagine watching those third parties duking it out. If we were in Ed’s shoes, such a detached examination might start with a line of questioning, such as this:

Does the world need another dating app? Do people want my mother choosing their mates? Is true love a profitable product? If the chip were to be used for insurance, rather than dating, would insurance companies be able to convince policyholders to undergo the surgical procedure required to insert the chips? How could the chip be tested? Does it interfere with Alexa or Snapshot?

Critically questioning your business decisions is a crucial practice. When you toss your blinders on and think you are always right — or worse, that your mother is always right — the results can be dreadful.