The aesthetically repugnant, contextually irrelevant, functionally redundant, yet wholly deliberate feature a designer/engineer/project worker/creative/(insert relevant job title here) attaches to their business proposal/project to effectively combat the client's destructive need to make changes to a project
Its happened to all of us. You've worked on the business project for weeks. Grafting, debating, executing, honing, rejecting, grafting, executing again, re-honing , honing more, honing like a motherf*%r, and then placing the glazed cherry on top, which melts 'cos the thing is so damned hot. You worked so hard on it, day and night, that your friends are starting to think you’re having an office affair. And you are; with your new project. And it's a damn good ride. Its the best thing you've ever done. In fact when you look at it you can barely believe it was you that gave birth to this beautiful baby. And what’s more its perfect for the client. It fits the brief like a glove. A really tight woman’s glove.
So you do your presentation and the client loves it. It's going really well. It's bullet proof. There is nothing the client can think of to change. The meetings been going on for half-an-hour and everything has gone your way. At last someone is prepared to listen to your expertise and to accept it. All those years of training are starting to pay off. Its too good to be true. The meeting should be over in a couple of minutes. It could be worth a celebratory beer.
Then something flashes across the client's face. Its subtle. What was it? A slight grimace? Uh-oh. He’s gonna say something. And he asks about the colour scheme. But you're prepared. You 'spiel off' a quick justification for it. Sock it right back at him. Take that, sucker. But it doesn't register on him. He talks right over you. He's saying that one of his favourite colours is pink. Always has been, ever since his little girl wore it as the lead in the school play. You try to argue but he isn’t listening. Its fruitless. He wants it in pink and that’s that. He's decided, and he's paying for it, so what can you do? Its going to weaken the whole bloody thing but he doesn't seem to care, and all on a whim.
And it occurs as you walk out of the room that the little look that flashed across his face, the little grimace, was his ego gently nudging him, telling him that he had not yet made a contribution to the project, he hadn't stamped his mark or pissed his musky scent on it. And there’s no way a project can possibly go through that department without him having some contribution to it. Even though the thing was exactly what he was looking for, his ego wouldn’t just wouldn’t let him. Besides people might think him undynamic and lacking in assertiveness if he did that.
And It is for this exact reason that I now attach big yellow knobs to all my projects.
Its that little something that's glaringly wrong that you deliberately add to your creation. An unmissable, monstrous carbuncle. But it has a purpose. It gives the client something to chew on. Something to feel important about. Something to appease and pacify them in the last few minutes of the meeting when they start looking that little bit too hard at it. And when they finally hacksaw that Big yellow knob off the facia of your project they are happy and contented that they have fulfiled their client's role. And you are happy because what is left is smooth and knobless, and exactly how you planned it in the first place.