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This is the 72nd issue of The Better Mousetrap.
We have archived the most recent issues on our web site. It
is easy to review them. Just click
here for the list or go to the Cheshire
Group web site and click on the link that says "Newsletter
FIRST THINGS FIRST.
time to time, a lady we know goes down to the sea in ships...well
not ships exactly. She goes down to the sea in sailboats,
and she goes with her husband. He is captain, she is crew.
"Always eat the best thing
first," is her only advice about sailing. "Then
the next day," she continues, "look at what you
have in the galley and eat the best thing that you see. This
way you are always eating the best thing you have."
Makes sense to us—you
simply act on your first, best instinct. It's like taking
the Regent's Exam.
Every semester, every New Your
State high school student took a Regent's Exam in every major
subject; back when we were in high school in Brooklyn. These
were standard tests that allowed the state to measure differences,
gauge performance and project trends. In theory, at least,
the tests gave every student the same chance.
New Your State kids learned
a lot about taking exams. Twenty or thirty years after graduation,
former students from Brooklyn to Buffalo can still recite
test taking strategies that their teachers taught.
"On the multiple choice
parts," goes the advice, "take the first answer
that occurs to you. Your first answer is almost always right.
If you don't know an answer, skip the question. Answer all
the questions you know, then go back and work on the ones
you don't. Never, never, never change an answer. If you do
you will almost invariably change from right to wrong."
Why leave good advice like that
at the classroom door? Learn to trust your first instincts
when you are marketing your products or positioning your services.
Your initial ideas for an advertising campaign or marketing
effort or a new product are almost always the best ideas.
Why? Because they come from your deep unconscious. The place
where your gut says it's right.
The first response—the
gut response—always bears listening to. You don't even
have to act on it right away. If the steam worries you, you
could let that hot little response cool off for a time while
you do nothing. But don't let the impulse get away altogether.
Remember that your first instinct is usually correct. The
thing that looks best to you, usually is the best. Learn to
trust your first response and you'll learn to trust yourself.
YOUR VIEWER PARTICIPATE
IN YOUR IMAGE.
is a close approximation of the logo of Boston's Museum
of Fine Arts. It is a strong and compelling identity because
it draws the viewer in and makes him work to create the design
in his own mind. The logo makes use of the principle of closure—the
natural human tendency to try to close gaps in order to complete
forms that are perceived as unfinished. A closed shape is
static. It leaves nothing for the viewer to do so it can be
boring. An open shape, however, invites human participation.
It asks you to become involved.
By positioning the initials
"mfa" at the lower edge of the red square, which
the designer wisely made bright, warn red, and by allowing
the letters to bleed out of the square, the logo causes the
viewer's eye to fill in the missing elements. It projects
an element of tension. The eye must work to complete the image.
And in making that effort the viewer stays with the image
a few seconds longer.
Can you use the principle of
closure to strengthen your corporate communications? If you
already have a logo, can you use it in a brochure or newsletter?
FROM THE SCHOOL ROOM.
Lee McFarland is a science writer whose funny article
"Is That Blood Negative or Affirmative?" turned
up in The Boston Globe many years ago. McFarland said
that she'd gathered the collection of malapropisms off
"Water is composed
of two gins. Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin.
Hydrogin is gin and water."
"To collect the
fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test
"The pistol of a
flower is its only protection against insects."
"The tides are a
fight between the earth and the moon. All water tends
towards the moon because there is no water in the moon,
and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins
in this fight."
" Equator: a menagerie
lion running around the earth through Africa."
"The moon is a planet
just like the Earth, only it is even deader."
you find crawling all over a dead cat."
"Vacuum: a large
empty space where the pope lives."
solution is one that holds more than it can hold."
HEALTH AND FIRST AID
alimentary canal is located in the northern part of
Indiana." "To remove dust from the eye, pull
the eye down over the nose."
"The skeleton is
what is left after the insides have been taken out and
the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the
skeleton is something to hitch meat to." "For
a nosebleed put the nose much lower than the body until
the heart stops."
"For fainting: rub
the person's chest or if it is a lady, rub her arm above
the hand instead. Or put the head between the knees
of the nearest medical doctor."
apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead."
"The body consists
of three parts—the branium, the borax and the
abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain,
the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable
cavity contains the bowls, of which there are five.
A. E. I. O. and U."
ABCs OF BUSINESS-PART XI.
A Modern Glossary for Workplace Survival
is great for people who believe that they are playing a game.
Quite a few do, but it's a limited analogy. A game is a structured
activity, defined by rules, determined probabilities and skill.
The world of business does share some of those characteristics,
but at its heart, it is an arbitrary pageant of rampaging
human folly, interpersonal manipulation and occasional grandeur.
All central decisions—no matter how they may seem based
on metrics and analysis—are, at the moment of their
birth, irrational, visceral, a leap into the void. So don't
play solely to win. Play to make something grow. And if you
win a lot along the way, so much the better for you and all
who rely on your wisdom, creative spirit and money.
are not people who work hard. Workaholics are people who replace
life with the appearance of work. Much of what the workaholic
does isn't work per se. It's activity—Brownian motion.
Up to a certain point, workaholics must be pitied, for they
are the prototypical victims of their own success. After that,
they're just crazy people getting between you and your dinner,
kids and poker games.
in the Wall Street Journal
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Risk of a Wrong Decision is Preferable to the Terror
is passion tamed."
a Man a Fish and You Feed Him For a Day, Teach a
Man to Fish and you Feed him for a Lifetime."
wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
a better mouse-trap and the world will beat a path to your
Ralph Waldo Emerson
can build it but they don't have to come. Let your
market know the product is there.
BETTER MOUSE- TRAP helps you do it. To do it even better
call The Cheshire Group at
978 475-1478 or visit us at: