Death Machines!

by Josh Cowen | May 1, 2018

There was this one time I visited an Artist Colony in California. When I walked through the old six-story converted factory, I wished I lived there. The whole place was full of interesting people exploring art from the very traditional to the really bizarre. It had spaces designed to free the mind, and spaces to get ‘er done. After shuffling through many colorful studios, I came out the back of the building to find machines that were designed to destroy themselves. Awesome!

There were three of them, one of which was a robot over 10 feet tall with an axe that was designed to continually hit itself. I wanted to see them in action! But unfortunately, by the time I found them, they had already lived their lives. They were designed, brought to life, and died all within the couple of hours it took me to walk through the factory. To be honest, I was really bummed. What is it about a car wreck that we want to watch?

In business and our personal lives, we see this all the time.

“What are you talking about? I don’t see machines killing themselves in my life, you weirdo!” – Concerned Reader

Let me explain. How often do we have something in our possession that we neglect? Maybe it’s a gadget that we were so excited to get we slept outside the store the weekend before, but now it just sits in on the shelf? How about a new friendship we developed, but over time and a couple of life changes later, it was easy to forget about? What about the leftovers in the back of the fridge? It’s so easy to let things slip over time. Speaking of which, I should probably change my air conditioning filter!

As much as we don’t want to admit it, we do this in business too. Whether it’s the systems we develop and put in place, the website we set up in the 90s, or the way we answer the phone, we don’t always keep up with these things. How many tri-fold brochures do you have sitting out with outdated info and some killer gradients?

Much like the death machines, business plans, processes, and materials left alone will kill themselves and their purposes. Your website was awesome in the 90s, but if you haven’t changed it since then, your customers are looking at it and wondering if they should work with you. Customers might love your product, but your customer experience is horrible. And if it’s horrible, you better make damn good products or look at changing your system.

Where does this neglect come from? I think part of it is because we don’t like change. Or we think, “It worked before. It should work now.”  And sometimes, we’re just lazy. We have to put forth the effort to remember that culture changes and therefore we, our processes, and our customer-facing interfaces need to change along with it. Over the years I have encountered a lot of clients that don’t want to change. Yeah, me too. I didn’t want to change, and at times I have been forced to change. Change comes to all of us, whether we like it or not. And we all need to get to the place where we can be nimble and change on the fly. If we do, we will catch more business, have more peace, and find more joy in what we do.

So get out there and tackle those things you’ve been neglecting. Don’t let neglect/laziness/fear kill the business you’ve fought so hard to build!

Oh, and here’s a bonus video of a washing machine killing itself. What’s the point here? Don’t put metal objects in a washing machine! Duh. 🤣