June 2, 2010
dailybizcard 031: umair haque
I got turned onto Umair by something he wrote back in February, “The Great To Good Manifesto”:
Umair makes a simple point: You may be great at making, distributing and selling sugar-water (he uses Pepsi as an example), but unless what you’re doing has some sort of ethical backbone i.e. a sense of moral good, then why bother? How much REAL value are you actually creating?
A culture of meaning. Discipline, hardwired into culture, is necessary to go from Good to Great. But being more disciplined than rivals at making sugar water only yields sugarier (and perhaps waterier) water. It cannot help you go from great to good. Going from great to good requires a culture of meaning. Production and consumption are meaningful when they actually yield durable, tangible benefits to people, communities, and society. When meaningful work — not just meaningless (yet disciplined) drudgery — is hardwired into a company’s culture, it becomes nearly unstoppable. That’s what’s special about Apple’s products — their focus on making the beige boxes of yesterday’s computerverse meaningful to people has upended industry after industry. Pepsi’s great failing with Refresh is this: merely investing marketing dollars in worthwhile causes can never make up for something as economically meaningless as merely selling sugar-water. A culture of meaning means that Pepsi needs to refresh the idea of Pepsi — not just how it’s marketed.
The cartoon is a play on the well-worn, aspiring artist cliche: “It’s not enough to be good, when you know you can be great.” And right next to the line, is one of my trademark existentialist characters, as usual, stewing in his own boiling vat of unrealized potential.
I made the drawing using a VERY thin line– to somehow express the fragility of the human condition, especially when it comes to confronting said unrealized potential etc.
I’m an optimist. I believe the majority of us actually do want to be “a good person”. But it’s a hard thing to pull off sometimes, for all of us. Doesn’t matter if we work for Pepsi or not…
[Umair, we’ll be in touch soon via firstname.lastname@example.org to collect your details for the back of the card, so we can ship a free box of 100 to you etc. Thanks!]
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