UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 16 December 15, 2005

Old joke speaks volumes

John arrives at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter tells John that he has the unique opportunity to take a look around at Heaven AND Hell and decide where he wants to spend eternity.

John takes a little stroll around Heaven. Nice puffy clouds, people hanging around playing harps, smiling, peaceful. He thinks, “that looks pretty nice” and he hops in the elevator down to Hell.

Stop worrying about the big boys.

The doors open and the devil shows him into a big room… WOW… What a party! People dancing, singing, laughing, having an amazing time.

“Now,” he thinks, “this is the way to spend eternity!”

He jumps back on the elevator and runs to tell St. Peter that while Heaven is certainly lovely. Hell is simply an awesome party and that is his choice.

John jumps back on the elevator and when the doors open he is shocked to see flames all around, people screaming with fear and pain, etc… John quickly runs to find The Devil and says, “What happened? I was just here and it was a giant party… how could this be?”

“Simple,” replies The Devil. “Before you were a prospect; now you’re a client!”

If they are a big company, you better believe they have a whole pitch about how they still provide personal service.

Stop worrying about the big boys. They don’t matter. The sooner you focus on delivering at the intersection where your core purpose meets the core needs of your market the sooner the competition will be irrelevant.


User Profile

Howard Mann is the founder of Brickyard Partners, a business strategy agency based in Portland, OR. Prior to founding Brickyard Partners in 2001, Mann owned a premier international logistics company with over 140 Million in revenue, six U.S. offices and a global network of over 40 agents worldwide.

As that business came under severe pressure from the previous economic downturn and industry consolidation, Howard lead the company out from those treacherous times by returning to the basics that make every business great and completing 6 acquisitions that re-imagined the business so it was highly attractive to buyers. Finding that “secret sauce” did not come easily but has fueled his purpose to help other business leaders to never have to go through what he endured. 

Through real world experience and those hard times in the “trenches” of business he has learned that it is not following the latest fad, copying competitors or adding complexity that makes a business truly great. His pragmatic approach and knowing what it feels like to sit in the CEO/Owner chair is what makes his work so different and effective.

In addition to his strategy, marketing and communications work, Mann coaches a select group of entrepreneurs, CEO's and business owners. His highly focused workshops and keynotes help executive teams take aggressive action to unlock the true potential of their organizations and build remarkable businesses that endure. In good times and bad. Online and off.

Howard is a sought after speaker both in the U.S. and around the world. He writes frequently on his blog about the importance of the basics and reconnecting to the passion that too often gets lost as businesses mature.

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Like your site

Nice metaphor :)

Keep it up! This site rocks.

Once again good insight; I am liking the writing style you guys are using on this site.

I like the analogy. I completely agree. I say find a niche, be the best, and focus on getting your clients what they need. The rest is easy.