I love bad movies. In fact, one of my greatest pleasures is staying up till the wee hours of the weekend watching ill-contrived films and wondering; Why were they made? Who financed them? For what return? Did the writer(s) think it was any good? What were the actors thinking?
I don’t derive the same joy from bad business writing — bad arguments, contrived in support of bad ideas. By way of example here’s a beauty; although, I didn’t stay up half the night pondering its lack of syntactic sense or substance:
The shelf life for a product or service is the shortest it has ever been. The customer is more difficult to satisfy than ever before … Many of the products consumers interact with every day – apps like Gmail or hardware like the iPhone – are constantly evolving. Evolution here equates to consistently and regularly increasing the value of a product or service over time.
If you haven’t already been frozen in place, please pause here a moment and consider the implications of what we’ve just been asked to accept wholesale, which is this: Despite the fact that the shelf lives of products and services have been reduced to historic minimums, the value of those products and services needs to evolve. Got it.
And how, you wonder, is such evolution to take place? How can it be made manifest? Oh, don’t be coy. You know this. Come on, all together now; and you don’t even have to do it in multi-part harmony:
Organizations [must] abandon incremental innovation and replication in favor of breakthrough and disruptive innovations.
Right! Disruptive innovation. I knew you’d get it. And most of you were on pitch. (You. Back there in the third row. If you’re going to hold the note on the last syllable, a little more vibrato, please. You sounded a tad flat.)
Even with all of the benevolence we could muster, there are just four possible sets of conditions under which those statements could be true:
- Disruptive innovation will reduce the historical evolution of decreasing shelf lives. (Did history get it wrong?)
- Gmail and the iPhone are immune to short shelf lives and customer dissatisfaction. (Did Google and Apple get it right?)
- Every short-shelf-lived product will evolve a collectible value for which customers’ decreasing satisfaction creates increasing market demand. (Will everything except Gmail and the iPhone become collectible?)
- The chooch who wrote those statements is utterly delusional and prays to God we’re at least as whacked as he is. (I have no further questions, Your Honor.)
Since most of us aren’t in the movie business, there isn’t much we can do about bad movies, other than to watch and marvel. But we can do plenty about bad writing, bad arguments, and bad ideas.
We can start with small steps, perhaps reading more carefully and asking more questions. Then maybe we can move up to ignoring the lion’s share of the tripe that’s being slung at us. Finally, we might graduate to telling the innovatively disruptive, self-contradicting tripe-slingers to tell their stories walking.
To paraphrase Edmund Burke, the only thing necessary for the triumph of moronity is for those who know better to do nothing.
Image by geralt, courtesy of pixabay.com.