Wonder if the coffin hinges squeaked?

Creative Commons License photo credit: mhoey

Wednesday, MSNBC reported that John Barry, the former CEO of WD-40 company had recently passed on.

Normally, I don’t spend a lot of time reading obits, but something made me consume this one.

Perhaps it is because WD-40’s branding penetrated our culture so well. Just one indication: when my not so mechanically inclined wife wants something oiled, she says put some WD-40 on it.  Just yesterday, in fact.

Anyhow, I’m reading down through the article about his domain over this product and his company and more and more little signals stick out about how this guy truly understood his focus.

He knew he wasn’t in the oil business. A lot of folks wouldn’t get that. Too many, in fact.

You’ve had some good examples. You wont catch Starbucks management telling people they’re in the coffee business. That’s just one.

As I went down through the article, it just got better and better…. and then the quote:

â??We may appear to be a manufacturing company,â? Mr. Barry said to Forbes, â??but in fact we are a marketing company.â?

That is Mr. Barry’s parting gift to you. This is how you have to think of your business and now here’s a very successful CEO opening the curtain and confirming it.

The news piece is here.

I strongly suggest taking a few moments to read it and then consider what business you’re in.

Tech folks (programmers and the like): If this is where you start feeling slimy, get over it. Get way over it.

3 replies on “Wonder if the coffin hinges squeaked?”

  1. I was listening to this on the radio yesterday too. He really had a great sense of focus on his business and refused to branch out to other products or to make variations of his product, despite many people pushing him to do so. In the end, this focus brought great success.

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