heard the story about how NASA spent millions of dollars developing a pen that
would work in zero gravity but the Russians were smarter – they just used
is told to mock profligate government spending and complex technology.
only one problem with the story – it isn’t true, it’s an urban myth.
out that in the early years of space travel both the Americans and the Russians
used pencils in space but pencil tips can break and float into sensitive
electronic equipment so a solution was needed. A private inventor developed a
pen that would work in zero gravity (at a modest cost) and NASA and the
Russians purchased the design.
an interesting story.
happens if you tell a story that isn’t true and you are found out?
your credibility is gone. At Growth in Focus we teach
sales people to use purposeful stories to build rapport and progress their
business opportunities. And credibility is a critically important resource for
need to find true stories …
day, 1985, I was operating an electronic survey instrument two kilometres
deep in an oil well in the rice fields of Java in Indonesia. I was sick from
food poisoning, homesick and in the world’s most populous Muslim country there
would be no Christmas.
well I was surveying had a leak – a hole in in the steel casing - and I was
running an experimental ultra-sonic scanning tool that, theoretically, could
measure the thickness of the casing with enough accuracy to locate a hole.
the theory but all I got was unintelligible data.
the tool to the surface to see if it could be repaired. On the rig floor, as I
was explaining to the company man that my fancy piece of equipment was not
working, a rough young man with southern US accent piped up with:
looking for a hole? I can run ya a ponytail”
It turns out
that a ‘ponytail’ is a length of frayed rope attached to weight and run down
hole on a slick line cable. When the frayed rope passes a hole in the casing it
catches and a spike on the cable tension indicates the depth of the hole
causing the leak.
dollar piece of frayed rope did a job that $300,000 worth of electronics could
not. And I had one more thing to be sick about.
Management Specialist and Director at Growth in Focus, Mike has managed sales teams in the United
Kingdom, Russia, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia in IT
Software, Telecommunications, Oil and Gas, Mining, Facilities Services and Industrial