In about 650 B.C. the Greek poet Archilochus wrote, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
The renaissance scholar Erasmus quoted Archilochus in 1500 in his famous Adagia, saying, “Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum.”
In 1953, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin expanded on Archilochus and Erasmus in his often-quoted essay, The Hedgehog and the Fox.
In 2017, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Philip Tetlock completed a 20-year study that contrasted the abilities of the one-big-thing “hedgehog” experts against the many-little-things “fox” non-experts to make accurate predictions about geopolitical events.
Does it surprise you to learn that the “fox” non-experts outperformed the “hedgehog” experts by an overwhelming margin?
What Tetlock discovered will help you tell the story of your company in a way that will cause customers to feel like they truly know you.
American businesspeople tend to believe that every successful business is built on a single big idea, “one big thing.” But sadly, that bit of traditional wisdom is more tradition than wisdom.
“One big thing” is hedgehog thinking. But foxes roam freely, listen carefully and consume omnivorously. Foxes know “many little things.”
Customers will love the “many little things” story of your company told from the perspective of a fox. The story you need to be telling is the real one, a fascinating tale of hopes and dreams and failures and successes and realizations and refinements.
Don’t worry, we’re going to help you write it.
In 2011, the fox-like director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, used 100 objects in his museum as prisms through which he told the entire story of our world. That book, A History of the World in 100 Objects, became a wildly popular radio series and a blockbuster New York Times bestseller. The Wall Street Journal called it, “An enthralling and profoundly humane book that every civilized person should read.”
The fascinating, riveting, highly-engaging story of your company is hidden in 10 objects that lie within your grasp.
Bring those objects with you to Wizard Academy. It is time for “Show and Tell.”
Dr. Richard D. Grant is a founding board member of Wizard Academy. Chris Maddock has been a Wizard of Ads writing instructor for 22 years. Tom Wanek is a Wizard of Ads partner with a particular talent for helping people discover wonderful stories that have been hiding in plain sight. These three masters will help you unleash the pivotal moments captured in your photographs, artifacts, and documents, and turn them into the fascinating story of your company’s origin and evolution.
This wonderful adventure through time and imagination will happen November 5-6.
We’ve only got room for 18 people.
Roy H. Williams
When I saw that today’s Monday Morning Memo contradicts the Hedgehog Concept popularized by Jim Collins in his multimillion-selling book, Good to Great, I asked the wizard to explain his position. Pop into the rabbit hole and I’ll tell you what he told me. – Indy Beagle
Jordan Goodman is a personal finance journalist who answers questions on how to save and invest wisely. Famous for his 992-page Everyone’s Money Book and 12 other books on personal and business finance, Jordan joins roving reporter Rotbart this week to dispense insightful recommendations for small business owners and entrepreneurs at that pain-free place where the big boys gather, MondayMorningRadio.com