Square Watermelons

I thought this was pretty novel. 


A square watermelon. 


Why do you need a square watermelon?


It was created to make transportation easier and to fit on the tight shelves of small stores in Japan. 


How do you make a round/oval watermelon square?


Why of course, you put a box around it while it’s still small and on the vine. 


Ah, I think they broke the mold on this innovative idea.  LOL


The problem is that that because they are harvested before they are ripe, they are inedible. 


So the Japanese use them for decorations, and they can last about a year. 


They are so unique, they cost roughly $100 for one. 


Why be square, when you can be round? 😉


(Credit Photo: Defense Acquisition University)

Selling By Customer Stereotypes

Saw this displayed on the wall inside a Free People clothing store…


It categorizes their female shoppers into 4 types:


1. Candy (hearts): Sweet, girly, flirty, whimsy, and femme  


2. Ginger (cherries): Sexy, confident, edgy, attitude, and mysterious


3. Lou (baseball): Cool, tomboy, laid back, tough, minimal


4. Meadow (sunshine): Flowy, bohemian, embellished, pattern, worldly


So this is how they stereotype their customers “to be helpful”?


Interesting also that they don’t see that people can be complex with: multiple traits that cross categories or even in no category at all.


Moreover, people can have different sides to themselves and reflect these in different situations. 


Perhaps in an effort to market and sell more, what they’ve done is reduce people to these lowest common denominator of idiot categories.


And what makes this worse yet is that it seems to be based just on snap judgment of how someone looks coming into the store and all the biases that entails. 


How about we look at people a little more sophisticated than this and treat them as individuals, with real personalities, and not just as another empty label?  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Upside Down Bird, Black Sheep–Same Thing

I thought this art was funny and accurate:

There’s always one in every family.

Really, it should be there is always one (or two) in every family, group, and organization. 


Whether it’s the upside down bird or the “black sheep”–I think we call it that person a troublemaker!


Is it the attention they crave? 


Is it a good fight or argument they are after?


Are they just different and that’s okay.


Listen, we are all the same, but we’re also all different. 


Imagine being completely the same and how boring that would be. 


So being the upside bird isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 


The other birds may look at this upside down bird as cuckoo.


But the bird may not be a cuckoo bird at all.


He may just be acting himself. 


To the upside down bird, he probably thinks of himself as being right side up bird, and that it’s the other birds that are the cuckoos.


From my experience, there is being different and then there is being cuckoo for real. 


There really are one or more cuckoos just about everywhere you look.


Worse yet, if the other 4 birds are sane, then watch out because you may be the cuckoo bird.


And then there was the movie, “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Happy Sock Faces

I just thought these socks with faces were really cute. 


I was tempted to even buy some. 


But the faces were on the feet.


So you couldn’t see them around the ankle when you wear them.


If you wear the socks without shoes then you can see the cartoon faces.


However, then you also wear out these fun socks 


I’m in for fun socks.


Just have to get the faces in the right places. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Snowflakes Are Unique

Thought this was an interesting analogy. 


A colleague refers to some customers as snowflakes.


At first, I didn’t get it. 


Then I understood. 


Every snowflake is unique. 


Based on how the ice crystals fall to the ground through different temperatures, moisture levels, and atmospheric pressures, the shape of every snowflake is different. 


Sometimes when it comes to project management, customers too think they are unique, different, and special.


They think that solutions that work industry- or enterprise-wide could never work for them and their wholly distinct ways of doing business. 


Hence, as I learned, the term snowflake. 


For those of us who have been around the project management block a few times, we know that while there are specific customer requirements, most of them are not all that unique. 


And when some customers simply don’t want to do things differently than they’ve done it before, there can be greater resistance to change. 


Hence, the “We’re special. We’re different” reframe along with the standoffishness, doubting, circling the wagons, throwing up obstacles, or just refusing to fully participate. 


Obviously, it’s a lot more difficult to modernize and transform through technology and business process re-engineering when your customers aren’t on board. 


So it is critical to manage organizational change, address the questions, the fears, and elements that are truly unique, and bring the people along as true partners. 


Not every requirement is a snowflake and neither is every customer, but we have to manage the similarities and differences in every project and make sure it improves performance and meets the needs of the customer and the organization. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Not So Indispensable

So I heard a story from a friend and colleague that I thought was important. 


It was about someone in their organization that was being fired. 


The person who was going to be let go went up the chain to complain and said “if I am fired then everything in my subject area is going to fall apart and it will be disastrous to the organization.


The person in charge responded and said, “Listen, even if I were fired, things wouldn’t fall apart; within 2 weeks no one would even remember that I worked here!”


Wow, that is a powerful lesson said that way. 


No one is so indispensable.


Everyone is replaceable.


Even the very top people!


The other important thing they said was:


“Don’t think all people are in it to advance the organization; many are in it to help themselves first! Everyone is talking about their salary!  Their stock options!  Their bonuses!”


I guess it’s not completely surprising right.  People do have to look after themselves and their families. But I suppose when you hear it so matter of factly, it sort of really makes you think about the functioning of our companies, agencies, and society.


How much are we getting from people for our organizations and missions vs. how much are people trying to “milk” the system for their benefit?


In the end, (almost) no one is irreplaceable on the job–except maybe a Steve Jobs-type–someone who is truly a one in a million leader. 


And if we see people aren’t contributing their fair share and are taking more than they are giving or they are real jerks and hurting others–then why the heck are they still in place? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)