They had me at Mullet

September 29, 2007

wayne.jpgThe Mullet makes me smile. I married a mullet. He hasn’t had it for 15 years when he chose to go with a shaved head. I think I even had a femullet at one time. Janet, where are going with this and what does a Mullet have to do with education? I’m so glad you asked!

You see, I read a couple of blogs about making money by blogging. Call it a six-figure dream. So I took notice when this Dosh Dosh post mentioned the Mullet as an analogy for a business strategy. [For those who don’t know, a Mullet is a haircut that is short in the front, top and sides but long in the back. You know, business in front and party at the back.] I immediately thought about it as a strategy for implementing new technologies for learning.

Dosh points to this Buzzfeed post where the Mullet analogy is used to describe social websites with user-generated content:

User generated content is all the rage but most of it totally sucks. That is why sites like YouTube, MySpace, CNN, and HuffPost are all embracing the mullet strategy. They let users party, argue, and vent on the secondary pages, but professional editors keep the front page looking sharp.

The mullet strategy is here to stay because the best way for web companies to grow traffic is to let the users have control, but the best way to sell advertising is a slick, pretty front page where corporate sponsors can wistfully admire their brands.

I think concept could work well when developing an infrastructure for organizational learning.

The Mullet strategy might be useful for providing access to social networks, blogs, wikis, etc. in your organization & is a way to stay off radar while you see if something will work. I mean this concept is the nature of a wiki right? Admin is changing the front page…everybody else is partying in the back.

If you’re like me, you sometimes muck up your chances to try something new because you over analyze it – explaining in detail what something will do, how it will benefit the organization, etc. and get all the training schmaining mumbo jumbo stuff going on. Why not just get IT to help you install wiki software or blog software six pages deep, beyond the picture of the CEO, the mission statements, the expense reports, and the org charts. Can you put a link within your LMS? It could say hey! party’s over here guys… Perhaps we shouldn’t work so hard before we implement something new…spend the effort pointing people to the party and then it should be an easier sell to move to the front.

Party on Wayne, party on Garth.

  • Wally Larsen

    I like this, especially your comment about not over-thinking something. I agree that often we get an idea, then squish it, prod it, tear it and mangle it until we don’t recognize what we thought of in the first place.

    It’s good not to be too analytical up front. Try it, play with it, see what happens. If it works, then you’ve hit a home run. If it doesn’t, then you move onto something else. Most people who invent things have ten bad ideas for every good one.

  • Janet Clarey

    Hi Wally – I think that’s so true about inventors. Can you imagine where we’d be without them and their ‘crazy’ ideas? You know though, your comments brought something else to mind. When someone comes to me with a problem they want solved with training, I triage it so I can see if it is actually a problem that can be solved with training. That’s primarily my way of spending company money and resources wisely. Same can hold true with new ideas…if it’s going to cost a ton of money and/or use a lot of resources, analysis can be a good thing. But, if there is little risk, why bother analyzing it at all? Things move too fast in our world…I think we just need to try stuff and use what works keeping in mind that we’ll move on when something works better.

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