Stupid guy in a boat

In one of those motivational 37-way conference calls the other day, a big cheese told a story about two guys in a boat:

“A leak springs on a boat, and one guy thinks he’s OK, because he’s on the dry side — but they’re both going down. Just because we’re in good shape doesn’t mean we don’t have to circle the wagons.”

I have at least two things to say about this. First off, that guy on the dry side who thinks he’s OK is really stupid. I mean, how big is this boat? The story starts: “There are two guys on a boat.” This is more dinghy than ocean liner. This guy is staring at a leak springing up six inches to his left and thinks, “Whew!”

And the other thing. Is it just me, or does “Just because we’re in good shape doesn’t mean we don’t have to circle the wagons” remind you of that Nirvana lyric, “Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after you”? Just more lame?

I think there was also something about “a mission-critical window of opportunity,” but I was too drunk off the mixed cocktail of metaphors to pay attention.

8 Responses to Stupid guy in a boat

  1. Anirban says:

    So was this boat half empty with water or half full?

  2. karah says:

    Can we ban “motivational”? It has many strikes against it, what with its elaborate Latinate structure with the “-tion” ending plus an extra “-al” suffix for good measure.

    Plus, can we ban all this crap, bad metaphors, long analogies to nowhere, personal stories that never happened them, that managers and administrators plunder off the web in their efforts to inspire us?

    How about if they all jsut begin actually doing something useful instead of trying to figure out how to get us to do the valuable work we do at an even cheaper rate?

    That would be motivational.

  3. karah says:

    P.S. — Does this multicar pileup of metaphors mean your company is circling the drain? Just wondering.

  4. Kris says:

    Ha ha ha ha. Why would you say that? Ha ha.

    [scrambling sounds of resume being dusted off]

  5. Aakaash says:

    If a boat springs a leak, you have to circle the wagons…huh? I don’t get it. Where is this boat? I’m guessing that if the boat is leaking while you’re moving it westward ho, you’re not really going to be bothered much about a hole, even if it is six inches away from you.

    But yes, I often feel, in our metaphor-mangling, easy-sound-bite, random “inspiration”-saturated, corporate culture, that someone, anyone, should get up and say that this will not stand. Man.

    Seriously, if we can’t get sensible language, I would much prefer surfer-dude language in our meetings. One month’s salary to have all corpo-lingo replaced with things like Bill Paxton’s “Game Over, man”. I’d understand what was going on, at least. The Game, I would be told, was over.

    I could write all day about this, but unfortunately some horizontals and verticals need to be aligned, and deliverables need to be siuated, before lunch.

  6. Aakaash says:

    Situated, not siuated, in case someone feels there’s a new word vying for next year’s banned list.

  7. Kris says:

    I’ve been hearing about horizontal and vertical markets for years, and I’m happy to say, I still don’t know what they are. If I ever figure out exactly what horizontal and vertical markets are, I mean REALLY get it — please shoot me. Game over, man.

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