A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Marshall McLuhan, idea consultant!

Marshall McLuhan (June 3, 1955, age 43).  I’ve got a billion of ’em!

Bill Hogan and I have hit upon a scheme that will make us rich.  We’ve formed a business called Idea Consultants.  We’re the perfect team – I’m a good talker and he’s a good listener.  Here’s our slogan – “A headache is a million-dollar idea trying to get born.  Idea Consultants are obstetricians for these ideas.”

Here are three of our ideas:

  • See-through potties for toilette training children
  • Pollen-free package tours for hay-fever sufferers
  • Urine-coloured underwear

All we need now is our first customer.

Me (June 2010, age 57).  In part, Marshall, in part!

It’s easy to make fun of Idea Consultants and the ideas they came up with.  {see two earlier posts – first, second] McLuhan and Hogan ran the business for two years, but never made a sale.  However, some of their ideas were fascinating ideas for products that were far ahead of their time.  For example today Mrs Hinton Googled “Idea Consultants” and got 17,300,000 results.  One of their product ideas was for “television platters” – the DVD or video cassette.  Another was for a TV program in which viewers would be presented with a dramatized business problem and a prize would be offered for the best solution.  McLuhan believed that ordinary viewers were more likely to come up with innovative solutions than the experts.

Here’s your chance to test this idea: Imagine such a program on the BP gulf coast oil spill. Would amateurs be able to deal with the disaster better than the experts?   What do you suggest BP do to cap the well?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Philip Marchand, Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger, 1989, p. 109.

Tags: , , , ,

Michael Hinton Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Permalink 1930s and 40s, Business, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

Leave a Reply