Category Archives: business modeling

Pinball Wizard

Creature pin

I love pinball machines and that’s partly because they remind me of those halcyon days of my youth – inexorably linked to car culture – of carefree days (and nights) cruising to games arcades, milk bars and making a play for pinball wizardry.

Apart from the nostalgia trip, they’re also works of engineering, design and art crammed into a wooden cabinet.  If you don’t know what I mean, get a load of one some day and take note of the artwork, the design, the colour, the screen-printing (yes, screen-printing; heard of that?), the lights, the sounds, the themes and of course the design of the game play.  Way more character than a PlayStation, but I digress.

Most of all though, I simply love the challenge of playing them because no two games are ever the same (ever).  That got me thinking about the insight to be drawn from pinball, applied to marketing and business planning (particularly in the context of a more strategic, longer run view).

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Feedback

Positive feedback equals recognition, reward, motivation and satisfaction.

On the other hand, negative feedback means something’s wrong.  The current method or strategy isn’t working.  The plan isn’t rolling out.  A new course needs to be charted.

One hears a lot about positive feedback and the need to feel “loved”.  Articles abound that theorise the need for positive reinforcement as a route to engaged staff and teams.
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Rejected? Try Hippo Skin!

A hippopotamus has skin that’s an inch and a half thick and is 25% of its total body weight.  For an animal that weighs 1,800 kilos, that’s a lot of skin.

It’s almost impenetrable (some say bullet proof) and yet a hippo’s very survival out of water depends on a coating of oil it secretes that acts as a moisturiser and sun-screen.  So even though a hippo sports some of the best body armour in the animal kingdom, it still needs to adapt when called for.

It occurs to me that when it comes to dealing with rejection, sometimes hippo skin would come in very handy.
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