The Truth and the Lie

A very short story encouraging you to view your business as “the truth” for certain kinds of problems

Have you ever heard the one about the streaker?

It goes like this. On a hot summer day, The Truth and the Lie are walking together on a road. They come across a deep, cool well and the Lie tells the Truth, “this water is perfect, let’s take a swim”. The Truth is skeptical but verifies himself that the water is indeed perfect. So they take off their clothes and jump in. But then, the Lie silently climbs out of the well, steals the Truth’s clothes, and darts off. The Truth chases him but in vain – he looks everywhere – villages, towns, cities, World Cup stadiums. But all the world sees is a streaker. In fact, the naked Truth disgusts the world. Overcome with shame, the Truth retreats to the deep well and hides forever. And ever since, the Lie walks through the world dressed in the clothes of the Truth. 

Who’s the villain in this Kahlil Gibran classic? (Which was not called “the streaker”, hehe) The Lie, definitely. But maybe also the world, us? We’re judgemental and not very perceptive. I’m not that impressed with the Truth, either – he gives up way too easily. But at least he appears to have stayed true to himself.

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Publishing as a business practice is revising the role of the Truth in this story.

So instead of hiding in the well, you’re finding a new way to keep telling your story about what you do, what you make, and why certain kinds of people like it. In other words, you have to keep telling it, until you are believed by strangers. On the way there, you might end up cringing at some of what you come up with. Even embarrassed, if you’re like me.

Can you do this while remaining “the Truth”? And not taking on another role.

The most compelling entrepreneurs we meet are the ones who cling to being the Truth and hate the Lie.

For a craft brewing impresario I know, participating in a circular economy is a truthful way of creating a conscientious business. So he only sells his beer in bottles that are re-used dozens of times and then recycled. And he can license the complex tracking systems that support that business model to other beverage businesses.

As is the case with 99% of entrepreneurs, his publishing practice consists of:

  1. Having conversations, sometimes with strangers, sometimes with others in his industry or related ones. In this way, he practices articulating the vision over and over through ad-libbed, natural exchanges. 
  2. Delegating the publication of a lightweight social media newsfeed to hired hands

Nothing at all wrong with that publication model. It may not work for, say, an indie consulting practice. It may not scale, like Gary V in Purple Cow. But he’s sticking to what he thinks is true without hiding in a deep dark well.

Here’s to your business also starring as the Truth (without an obnoxious messiah-complex, of course!) no matter how much it disgusts the world.

Have a great weekend