“A Business Is Only As Good As Its Conversations”

[Screenshot of the Rackspace client page etc.]

Now this is exciting: Dedicated gapingvoid client pages.

Here’s the first one: For my favorite Texan client, Rackspace. All the cartoons I’ve done for them on a single page, easy to find at the URL rackspace.gapingvoid.com.

AND… they’re all in high-rez. WHICH MEANS, anybody at Rackspace (or anybody somehwere else), can click on the image, download the high-rez version, print it out and stick it on the wall of their cubicle or office or door or wherever.

Instant cube grenades. Exactly.

And we’ll soon be doing likewise for gapingvoid’s other clients: HP, Dewar’s Whisky, Intel etc etc.

Like I said a few days ago, my work doesn’t belong in art galleries, it belongs in office cubicles. And this makes the latter REALLY easy for people. Sure, if they’d rather have a signed print that cost money, they can do that easily enough, as well… but FREE has its place, too.

Early on, we (i.e. the entire gapingvoid team- Me, Jason, Laura, Sam etc) noticed that a business is only as good as the conversations it has with people, both inside and outside the organization [i.e. classic Cluetrain parlance].

Ergo, that means there MUST be a market for art i.e. social objects that could start these right kinds of conversation. Quod Erat Demostrandum.

To us, this wasn’t rocket science, this was ALL common sense. And so we built a business around it…

So now the next question is, of course, how are YOUR conversations coming along? How can they be improved? CAN they actually be improved? Serious question.


  1. Kathy Sierra says:

    Love the dedicated client pages… it’s a gift for all of us.

    Wee disagreement around this statement, though:
    “noticed that a business is only as good as the conversations it has with people”.

    My same old tweak here — it may be less about the conversations IT (the business) has with people and more about the conversations it *inspires* people to have, period. Unless you mean “conversation” metaphorically. I don’t have actual conversations with many of the businesses that matter most to me (in fact, most of the conversations i have with businesses are for tech support), but those businesses have been the direct and indirect cause of conversations I have with others.

    To me, a Social Object drives interactions. Many of the most-loved and much-discussed films, for example, were created by people we never have conversations with directly. But they do, of course, “speak” to us. (not to mention that they are also “listening” to us through audience and critic feedback, etc.)

    • Hey Kathy,

      “It may be less about the conversations IT (the business) has with people and more about the conversations it *inspires* people to have, period.”

      Totally. But I would include that in the “conversations it has with other people” ecosystem.

      But what’s a little bit of semantics between friends ;-)

  2. Curt Claeys says:

    Dear Hugh,

    Thank you very much for putting the high-resolution cartoons for rackspace online!!

    Your site, your cartoons, your reflections on business and life are an inspiration. I use some of them, combined with other insights, in the changemanagement of our organisation.

    Keep up the good work! :)

    Yours Sincerely,

    Curt Claeys

  3. Thank you Hugh,

    The very word “Enron” became a social object. Being inspirational is a fabulous Conservatory of Flowers result, but keeping ones boots cowpie free is the vital conversations lacking in America’s field of dreams today.

    “Game The System” should never have become a positive sounding attribute.

    I believe Social Objects can inspire ethics. The hard part as noted, can the conversations be improved? I have my doubts; the compass is broken, pieces missing.


  1. [...] Tom Brakke (the research puzzle): Not even a posting, but just the title of one:  “A business is only as good as its conversations.” — Hugh MacLeod. [...]

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

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In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
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