The Gnocchi Incident

One evening last year, I was standing at the stove, cooking gnocchi for my then four-year-old son, looking at the bubbling water and listening to his fork being used as a drumstick. He was getting impatient, which is a thing he seldom does. So I increased the heat and watched as the gnocchi started floating, crowding at the top of the pot, a bit like a crystal lattice.

And then it hit me. Looking at the now properly sorted gnocchi, I knew – hey, brains are weird – that Content Strategy, while having contributed massively towards the web as it is today, is still lacking a much more distinct focus on human factors.

I let my son wolf down his why-did-that-take-sooo-long-daddy gnocchi, got my Mac on the kitchen table and hacked together everything that had crystallized in my mind at that moment. Then, I sent it off to a CS colleague who I knew would be able to tell me if I’d gone completely bonkers.

OH MY LORD YES was her reply, and I had the feeling that, somehow, I might be on the right track.

It’s of course much too early to say if this is the right track, but I am pretty sure that it’s a track that needs to be explored more deeply. After all, content is created, collected, curated by people (or, hey, bots), and to create great content, you need great people.

Content Strategy and its siblings are very successful in analyzing structures and actions: The structures and actions of creation, governance, and so on. But they seem to fall short when it comes to analyze and optimize the structures and actions of the people, teams and companies involved in doing what they have been told by the CS consultants.

So today, months after those gnocchi have been digested, I’m kicking off my new venture, The Content Shrinks, to do exactly that:

  • Making great people create great content,
  • helping them to sort and structure heaps of cruft by first helping them to sort out themselves, and
  • applying the wisdom of individuals to groups, teams, and corporate environments small and large.

Oh my lord yes? Let’s get rolling.