J A B B E R W O C K Y
I had this moment last week when I felt like I was living in a sitcom. Specifically, the short-lived, yet excellently done Better Off Ted. In one episode, Ted moves some money around so Linda, a disillusioned product tester whom he has a crush on, can build a rooftop garden on the Veridian Dynamics corporate building. Linda saw a commercial about how the company was ‘going green’, and for the first time in years, not only liked where she was working, but was also passionate about doing something for them. Ted wanted to help her out, so he moved some money around for her to build her garden. In doing so, though, he captures the attention of his manager, Veronica, who needs to know where the money has gone.
In a panic, Ted lies and says, “It’s in the Jabberwocky project.”
“Jabberwocky?” Veronica answers.
“Yes. You know about Jabberwocky, right?”
“Of course I do. I just didn’t know that you knew.”
In the voice over Ted explains that the worst thing that can happen to anyone in a company as big as Veridian, is for them to be ‘left out of the loop’ and not know what’s going on. Therefore, Veronica feigns complete understanding of what Jabberwocky is all about, even though she doesn’t have a clue. Next, she has to answer to her boss, who also doesn’t have a clue what Jabberwocky is and can’t let Veronica know that he doesn’t know, because that would mean he’d been left out of the loop too.
The lie grows.
Before Ted realizes, Jabberwocky is the talk of the company. Everyone wants to be in on it.
At some point, Ted says something like, “Jabberwocky – it will revolutionize the way we do business.”
Then, he and Veronica find themselves on a stage in front of hundreds of people, presenting Jabberwocky to the masses. Yet, there is no Jabberwocky. So they do a presentation about nothing. In the presentation, they flash buzzwords and pictures and nothing of substance. And again, because no one can admit to not knowing or to being out of the loop, people leave the presentation going, “Man – that was awesome!” “Do you know what it was about?” “Uh, Yeah! Don’t you?” “Oh! Yeah… yeah…”
Iin the end, Jabberwocky, which no one truly understands, is shipped off to the Japanese division for further development.
How did this come to mind?
Last week at work, my team was told we were scheduled for 15 minutes of training on a new thing that was going to make us better sales people and help us make more money and have a better close rate. So we got off the phones for this training.
And it ended up being a 2.5 minute video that was really more of a trailer for the thing, not the thing itself. I immediately flashed to the Jabberwocky presentation. And laughed. And couldn’t explain to people why without looking like a dork…