Are You Channelling Morton (Or Hobson, Murphy, Kobayashi, Gordian, Columbus, Parkinson, Peter, Occam...)?

You know you’ve made it when you have an eponymous ‘law’ enter the language. (Take Stein’s Law I blogged on the other day.)

I was reminded of these and their wonderful Sales pitch tool potential when The Times’ technology and communications editor quoted Sir Martin Sorrell, head of advertising colossus WPP. He touched on Morton’s Fork. Here’s an etymology;

A Morton’s Fork is a logical dilemma where both outcomes are unpalatable. The term [is] named after John Morton, who had a controversial means of justifying his tax-collecting tactics when he was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1486 to 1500.

Other delicious wisdoms famously abound.

Hobson’s Choice. Murphy’s Law. Kobayashi Maru Test. Gordian Knot. Columbus’ Egg. Dunbar’s Number. Metcalfe’s (and now Reed’s) Law. Godwin’s Law. Hofstadter’s Law. Sturgeon’s Revelation. The Malthusian Trap.

I’ve even blogged on a trio more of such over the years;

Parkinson’s Law. Peter Principle. Occam’s Razor.

One I’ve always liked is from fiction. Captain Kirk surreptitiously reprogrammed the simulator so that it was possible to rescue the freighter Kobayashi Maru in the Star Fleet test designed to be impossible to escape death.

Which in part prompted me once to coin a ‘law’. From the name of a then ‘girlfriend’. Initially her Razor, I swiftly re-termed it as first her Chirp, then Wine (pun-typo intended); “the simplest question is often the hardest to answer”.

Fortunately that error did yield one thing worthwhile. That you can create ‘laws’ yourself relevant to a sale or bid. And it’ll help you gain buy-in and own it.

Keep an eye out for any prospect wisdom. Preferably a nugget that helps describe how they approach buying. Especially one on which scale you shine brightest.

Call it their Law. Or Fork. Or Lens. Or whatever noun suits well.

Use it in docs, email subject lines, slides.

Let them revel in their clever insight.

And shape that deal ever more your way.

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