One of the very few good things to come from Brexit is this very interesting piece by David Mitchell on the essentially self-sustaining nature of organisations. Mitchell is a marvelous pedant and a great dis-respecter of institutions. He starts with the Eton motto Floreat Etona; Esto perpetua (Latin for “May Eton flourish and may it last forever”) and goes on to prove that the Tory party and in fact all party politics is a dysfunctional mess. Unfortunately a lesson many don’t need right now.

Isn’t it true though that, for all the branding efforts, launches and relaunches we so often see, the motto of many companies should really be “Let xyz corp flourish” or “We’d rather we still existed next week”. 

Google may have hired some clever johnnies to tell them they were all about “organizing the world’s information” (and, ahem, “do no evil”), but what they appear to mainly be about now is being about. Facebook started out as an attempt for one young man to meet some girls, then became about connecting humanity, and now appears to be about being so mindbogglingly ingratiating that regulators can’t bear to shut them down.

Of course, evolution has always been about survival. The fight for life in species is very visible, very easy to understand. But how and why do companies have this need to self-sustain? And why is that not enough? Why do we feel the need for more, for more meaning. We’re not just here to be here and to make sure that we don’t for any reason stop being here…. We’re here to put a computer on every desk in America. Although now of course we’ve done that, we ‘re here to… um… um. Anyone? Bueller?

That’s right Microsoft’s motto now is: “Be what’s next” (“Microsoft Flourish”)

Panasonic: “A better life, a better world” (and this eye watering explanation of why). They genuinely say this on their website:


Use of “A” in “A Better Life, A Better World”

The inclusion of two A’s in the slogan reminds us that we need to thoroughly consider individual customers. This means that in order to achieve our aim of a truly better life and world, we need to constantly evolve by changing with the times and with the needs of individual customers.

(Lose 2 points for the apostrophe in a plural on the first line).

Trump: “Make America Great Again” (America Flourish)

Reagan (1990): “Let’s make America great again” (America Flourish)

So I’ll update my strap line later from “Observations on strategy, trends and all that” to “Usable interfaces, long may it survive”.