Monday, October 30, 2017

Low hanging fruit

There are two ways to be considered learned. One is to know things that most people do not know. The other is to talk of things in a manner that people do not know or readily recognize. You would be pardoned for thinking that all of management consists of finding out pithy terms for things that everyone knows already so that you can speak of them in a 'learned' manner.

Take this 'low hanging fruit' for example. All that the dratted thing means is that you should try to make money in the easiest way possible - something that any town drunk could have told you centuries before people had even thought about such a thing as management. Picking the low hanging fruit, forsooth!

But then there IS a reason why a pithy term for this idea became necessary these days. In the not too distant past, people were lauded for the difficulty of the tasks that they attempted. Edison did not try to corner the whale oil market and make money - he tried endlessly to invent the electric bulb and succeeded eventually. But then he did not have the benefit of a management education or, even, a management consultant. Poor chap! No Hillary would climb the Everest. Ah! No! The local hillock would do very well for 'low hanging fruit'.

Oh! Well! I know what you will say. That getting the 'low hanging fruit' does not mean that you leave all the ones higher up to the monkeys. But...consider...did we, in the past, leave the 'low hanging fruit' to the monkeys and chase after ONLY those hanging higher up? Why does it even need saying? What, the metaphor does not really mean that things are as clear? The fact that it IS 'low hanging fruit' is not as apparent? Perhaps...but then consider the consequences of the metaphor. Everyone and his uncle prowls the jungle looking for 'low hanging fruit' and disdains the effort to go any higher. If this tree's easy-to-reach fruits are all taken then it is better to search for another tree than to climb up this one. You look such a fool putting in so much effort when everyone else is merely reaching up for fruit. AND, if you are truly the guru, you blame the fruit and the tree for the fact that the fruit is NOT low-hanging!

And, thus, you have people who want books written in the words that they already know because it is too much effort to learn new words. You have citizens wanting news and analysis squeezed into 140 characters because it is too much to expect them to read a couple of pages. You have marketers who want a product that they can readily sell because it is too much effort to craft a strategy to sell a product that the customer is not already known to want. You have...well, you have a world full of people all looking for fruit to fall into their mouths conveniently.

I should have made a meme out of this...THIS sort of long piece certainly does not count as 'low hanging fruit'!


  1. I did not expect the moral at the end, though in hindsight you were clearly leading up to it. A consequence of too much low-hanging fruit in my life?

  2. We all love our low-hanging fruits don't we! Gennext maybe more so! At the risk of being berated by these worthy folk, I totally agree, the fruit shall have to walk into their mouths, no two ways about that!

  3. Well, Suresh Chandrasekaran, your posts are my go to low hanging fruit for my daily dose of smiles and chuckles--and a humongous thank you for that. They say that consistency is the hallmark of genius... and...

  4. Hehe..low hanging fruits are a sure shot way to give you that dopamine shot. But low hanging fruits shouldn't come to mean faster gratification.