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Great stuff as always. Reminds me of this one from Hugh


It seems like people want a thing that means something, not just a thing that does something.

Paste Magazine's tagline is "Signs of life in music and culture." Sounds like you're going for something like signs of life in business.

I often say that work should be life-giving, not life-sucking. I think it applies to doing business with customers, too.

Matt -

Thanks for pointing out Hugh's drawing. Not sure I've seen that one, but probably have and somewhere back in the cobwebs, it stuck and influenced this.

I don't know if we want everything to mean something.

Do you really want your laundry detergent to mean something to you? Or do you just want to believe they are doing everything they can to make their detergent the all around best it can be? (Best for cleaning your clothes, best for the environment, best for helping your clothes last longer...)

Bill -

Thanks for the reminder on PASTE. Forgot about them and don't know if I ever knew their tagline. Definitely in the life-giving, not life-sucking area. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


I'm with you in that we don't want each product itself to mean something (very Alan Wolk's Your Brand Is Not My Friend), but maybe the act of buying/using it does.

The detergent example makes me think of Method and how crazy that brand's growth has been. It's still just laundry detergent, but the idea that is "Method" means something to people. That might be eco-friendly, good design, trendy, etc., but the fact is that you can get something that works more or less the same for less, but I think it's what Method means that drives it.

Good example, Matt. Method is exactly what I was talking about with a detergent being the all-around best it can be.

What I was taking your "meaning" statement to be was more around the idea of people wanting to feel emotions for things instead of just using them.

If I take your original statement and swap "stands for" with "means", then I agree:

"... people want a thing that stands for something, not just a thing that does something."

And this is getting to a better explanation for the slide - it's about having beliefs, values and a purpose that you actually back up with actions, rather than just pay lip service to.

Thanks for continuing to put your thoughts here.

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