June 27, 2008
Liz published this at 7:17 am
New York City, Seth Godin, Ann Michael, and a Paper Flower
In August 1998, I was wandering the streets in New York City. Later that evening our company sales conference would start. As I turned the corner somewhere near 33rd and Park, I was enjoying the view in a florist window. I walked two stores past. Stopped. Something I’d noticed had taken me. I literally backed up ten paces and went into that flower store. I came out grinning.
What had stopped me were handmade paper flowers — taller than I am. I had found a new friend for my presentation the next day. I left the florist with giant flower with a stem down to my ankles and greeted New York like a giant kid with a huge balloon. The flower has shared my office ever since. On occasion, it even sits in my desk chair.
In 2006, I returned to that same New York neighborhood for a Seth Godin seminar. I met Ann Michael. there for the first time. As we walked around the city, I’m sure I told her the story of that flower and the people who opened doors for me — the strange tall woman with a bag in one hand and unhelpful flower friend in the other.
I keep a white silk flower in a blue glass vase on a shelf in my living room. I bought the vase from a catalog. Then I bought the flower. They look stunning together, but they have no story.
If you want to get noticed, don’t be so polished. . . . When in doubt,
scrawlmake it human.
I looked around for examples in my life — and I found two flowers . . .
That white rose in the blue vase is elegant, but that that paper flower connects me to people — people who’ve seen it in my office or heard the tale of how it got bought. That paper flower calls up so many stories, it could fuel a blog.
When you make a blog, a social network, or product for me, could you make it imperfectly human? It’s human touch that lingers and connects.
What do you have that’s like my paper flower?
Images: Liz Strauss