Posted by: bevmeldrum | April 8, 2008

Am I A Clown?

I’ve just been reading ‘Small Is The New Big’ by the marketing genius that is Seth Godin. It is a collection of his best blog posts and this one I particularly enjoyed …

Being called a clown often isn’t a compliment – apart from the big shoes and bad makeup – clowns embody what’s wrong with human nature maginifed!

1. Clowns Ignore Science

Whether it’s the magic of fitting sixteen full-sized clowns into a Volkswagen Beetle or the constant struggle between clown and gravity, the fruitless conflict between what’s real and what a clown desires is a fixture in a clown’s act.

Organisations tend to believe science is optional – but if you run an ad and it doesn’t work, however you spin it it didn’t work. If there’s a new product that comes on the market that is better than we have, then it doesn’t matter whether we like it; it’s still there.

2. Clowns Don’t Plan Ahead

Clowns get big laughs from slamming into a brick wall or running to catch up with a car that left without them.

Organisations that don’t plan are clowns.

3. Clowns Overreact to Bad (and Good) News

We all have memories of a clown bursting into tears when he stubs his tor or drops an ice-cream cone.

We sometimes behave like clowns too – instead we should react then act to address the issue.

4. Clowns Aren’t Very Nice to One Another

Clowns are famous for willfully inflicting harm upon their fellow clowns.

It shouldn’t be unusual to find a company where the boss cares for his employees or a team where teamwork overcomes selfishness … particularly in social enterprises and co-operatives but it often is.

Godin thinks clownhood is our natural state and the alternative is the anticlown.

Success lies in rejecting your inner clown and adopting a long-range view of the world (even if it’s just five minutes longer than your peer’s view).

He suggests we issue little red foam rubber noses to everyone and any time someone in a meeting acts like a clown we whip out the nose and put it on.

What would Krusty do? Or Chuckles? Bozo? Figure out the behavior of a real clown – and do the opposite.



  1. Lovely seeing again and the hair is looking particularly gorgeous 🙂

    I would take being a clown as a compliment. I think I am often performing the role of a court jester when talking to senior NHS staff. I get to say uncomfortable truths in a humorous way but am mainly ignored. It is an interesting role and (apart from being unable to create animal balloons) is reasonably satisfying.

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