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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

The Hard Truth

A blonde decides she’s sick of hearing all of these jokes about her hair color and wants a fresh start. So she dyes her hair brown, packs up her stuff and starts driving across the country.

Driving along, she sees a huge bunch of sheep crossing the road. With no way to go around them, she stops and starts counting the sheep as they cross the road. When they all get across, she sees a farmer walking behind them.

She stops him and says, “Hey, sir, I’d really like one of your sheep. I’m driving a long way and I’d like one to keep me company. I’ll make you a bet…if I can guess how many sheep you have, you give me one.”

The farmer thinks about it and says, “Sure”. What are the odds she’ll get it right?

She thinks for moment and guesses. “137”

Shocked, the farmer says, “Well, that’s exactly right! Ok…go ahead and pick one.” So she looks around and finds a particularly friendly, energetic looking sheep and starts loading it in to her car.

The farmer comes up to her and says “Ok, fair is fair, but I’ll make you one more bet. I bet I can guess your natural hair color…if I’m right, I get my dog back.”

There seem to be two camps when it comes to hearing unpleasant truths (whether it has to do with politics, relationships or business) — those who want you to give it to you straight, so they can roll up their sleeves and do something about it, and those who want you to feel good, and are not interested in helping at all. Reality can be hard to accept, but denial in the business world can be extremely costly.

Let’s use you for an example. You build a widget.  You love it; you can work on it for hours and it is pure joy. You logically assume other people will love it too. You are ready to mortgage the farm and go into full scale production. HOLD UP!  First let’s find out if other people actually even care. We need to translate the passion you have for your widget into hard numbers (the DATA doesn’t care if it hurts your feelings).

How do we find this almighty all-knowing data? Option 1- you spend a fortune (and a year or more) to have a market research company do it or Option 2- you simply send emails to 200 friends and see how many like your product (like needs to be defined that they would spend their hard earned money on it – freebies don’t count). If nobody likes it, the next question is, do you need to change your widget? Hearing that nobody likes your widget can hurt. It has been said that the truth hurts. I have found that it hurts a lot less when is doesn’t cost you the farm.

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