A design analogy

By Tom Stephan

I really wanted a tattoo, but I had no idea what I wanted I just wanted a tattoo. So I went to four or five different tattoo studios and said, “Hi guys, I want a tattoo, and it has to be cool and it has to be something that says this is me, this is who I am, and after you decide who I am and what I want to tell the world, I will pay you for it and you can tattoo it on my arm. If I don’t like it, I can always have it removed later.”

Oddly enough, the tattooists all asked me, “well, how will I know what kind of person you are?” and I said “I dunno, just give me some designs and I’ll see what I like.”

The reputable tattoo studios refused to take me up on this, and I was astonished, here I was, offering them a chance to go wild and let their imaginations take flight, and they weren’t interested. It was the less-than-great tattooists who took me up on the offer, and when the designs came in, none of them were like me. None of them said anything about me as a matter of fact they looked more like what the tattooist might like on themselves.

I was pretty disappointed. Next time, I’ll have to rethink whether I want to put my identity in the hands of strangers.

Moral of the story? If you’re willing to commit someone else’s ideas to your business, without a clear concept of what you yourself want or desire, you leave yourself open to the mercy of other people’s caprice and fancy. If you’re running your business, don’t you want the right to get it the way you want it without gambling on something that may cost more to fix than to get right in the first place?

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