Peter Whent

September 23, 2022

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Nobody wants a 30-day discovery process

There’s nothing a self-important branding guru loves more than a discovery process.

With some pretentious coffee blend from Starbucks permanently in one hand, he swaggers about self-confidently, talking in buzzwords, and asking absurd questions about chakras and spirit animals.

What results is a meaningless crock of shit. Stuff they call “values” but which they express in wishy washy statements like:

“A belief in honesty, truth, and integrity, and a commitment to be sincere with ourselves and our brand family at all times”.

I haven’t believed that fairy tale since I saw it on Theranos’s web site.

So when it came time to be truthful about what mattered to us, we gave this nonsense a wide berth.

Instead we gathered at a corner table in a dimly lit bar, and over a rack of ribs and a couple of sweaty beers, we set about finding the answer to the question; what the hell is it that we stand for?

What we came up with wasn’t some self-indulgent window dressing for our web site. We identified the hills we’d die on. The beliefs for which we’d circle the wagons, fix bayonets and spill the blood of any fucker who challenges us.

We call them “The Pool Rules.”

No pissing in the pool

If you go to a public swimming pool, somewhere you’ll see a chlorine bleached sign fastened to the wall, which lists the rules of the pool.

These haven’t been produced by some arty-farty branding agency during a thirty-day discovery process. They’re an unambiguous no bullshit expression of how we do things at this bathing establishment. They’re rules! Stuff like:

  • No running
  • No diving
  • No shouting
  • No bombing
  • No pissing in the pool

I don’t care if you’re Apple or the guy who sells coffee at the train station. Before you can create messaging that shows your customers who you are, you must first know what you stand for. You need to know your Pool Rules.

Our first rule is one we live and die by. If you don’t agree with it, we probably can’t be friends. This is Rule #1:

Rule #1 - “No-one gives a shit about you or your product. People care about themselves and their own problems."

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To hold ourselves accountable, we publish our Pool Rules on our web site. They’re like a manifesto, and if they’re not shining through in the work we do, we aren’t doing it right. That’s how good Pool Rules work.

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