Don’t Retreat From The Punchline

I just completed Standup 101 at ImprovBoston and learned two important things about myself.


Don’t run from the big wave! Grab your board and go!

The two important things I learned…

1) I retreat from my harder punchlines. The ones that are really funny, but outside my comfort zone.

2) In the words of a fellow student: “I curse like a true gentleman.”

Lesson #2 helped with lesson #1.

Rather than retreating from the punches, the instructor told me to go for it. To go beyond it. Don’t just say the punchline. Sell it. Drop an f-bomb to punctuate and underline the hell out of it.

The next time I delivered my routine, I did. And it worked, beautifully.

I got the laughs plus the compliment on my gentlemanly cursing.

There’s a work application, too.

Chances are, you have — or, one day, will have — a product in your portfolio that nobody wants to touch because its position in the lifecycle is unclear.

It could be a cash cow. But it could still have legs. But market signals are unclear. So everyone just leaves it “as is” because nobody wants to be the one to tip it and see what happens.

Which means it languishes.

And you miss an opportunity to make a real difference to your customers… your business… maybe even your career.

If you have a product like that, it’s time to figure it out. When you do, don’t retreat from the punchline. Drop the f-bomb and make your move.

Just remember to do it like a true gentleman or lady should.

Keep the conversation going!

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Christopher Cummings

Blogs about product management. Loves Jesus, his family, comic books, video games, and giant robots. Occasionally crawls through mud and leaps over fire.

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