When we first got married, my wife and I were doing the washing up.
She was doing it very fast.
But I didn’t think we were doing it as well as we could.
So I stopped, and I said, “Cath, there’s not enough room on the draining board for all the wet crockery. But if we wash the small things first, we can stack the big bowls on top of them, and we’ll have more room.”
But Cathy wasn’t listening.
By the time I’d finished explaining my thinking, Cathy had finished the washing up and was doing something else.
See Cathy is Chinese.
So she’s more geared toward action rather than talk.
Results rather than reasons.
Cathy’s mum once said to me, “In the west you love to talk and talk, and think things over. But we Chinese prefer to just get it done. “
When I first went to the Far East I was amazed at the amount of superstition.
Every building had to have Feng Shui performed on it.
Every building had a little Taoist shrine in front of it.
I used to think, these people are very superstitious.
Not like us in The West, we’re logical.
Then one day it occurred to me.
They’re not actually anymore superstitious than us.
We’ve just got different superstitions that’s all.
Logic is our superstition.
We believe in logic above all else.
If logic says it will work, that’s enough.
Faith will over ride the evidence of results.
That’s just like any religion or superstition.
In primitive tribes the medicine man is the person who cures people.
It’s that simple.
If he can cure you, he’s the medicine man.
Whether he’s been trained or not.
We regard this as primitive because, in The West, it’s the other way round.
In The West, the medicine man is the person who’s had the training.
The person who’s got the piece of paper on the wall, saying he’s the medicine man.
Whether he can actually cure you or not is irrelevant.
He’s the man who’s has been qualified as the medicine man.
Whether it works or not.
The logic of why it should work is important.
The results are secondary.
It’s the same with scientists, lawyers, accountants, engineers.
The person who must be good at the job is the person who’s had the training.
The person who’s got the diploma, the degree, the piece of paper.
It’s the same with advertising.
We depend on what should work, not what does work.
If an ad campaign is researched enough, it should work.
Of course we can point to ad campaigns that worked without being researched.
But we see that as a bit amateur.
Lucky, a one off.
It doesn’t fit with our superstition.
Akio Morita, the founder of Sony, said “The greatest assistance I had in building my company was the total failure of nerve on the part of Western businessmen to move without research.”
Richard Branson has a similar attitude.
He says at Virgin they try lots of different things.
If something excites them they go ahead and try it.
Lots of these are failures.
But about one out of five is a massive success.
And, before they did it, they couldn’t identify which one that was going to be.
So they try them all.
Because if they tried to avoid having the failures, they wouldn’t have the successes.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, has a similar view.
He doesn’t believe in research.
He said, “It’s not the public’s job to know what they’re going to want. It’s my job to know what they’re going to want.”