marketing consultant nibI received a fountain pen as a gift.  Very nice, I thought.  But fountain pens come with a built-in problem: they clog/dry up unless you use them every day.  Which I don’t.

Hmm, I thought, this delicate instrument’s problem must require an intricate fix.  Plus, the consequence (spilled ink!!) upped the risk of getting it wrong.

I admit to wasting weeks and weeks of  going without the use of my awesome new pen because I’d carefully try this or that, when the urge to use the pen struck me.  With no success.  Remember, a problem with my delicate instrument equals intricate fix.

Until I tried the obvious; going to the store it was bought at and asking an expert, “Hey, how do you unclog a fountain pen?”  Without ruining a shirt or walking around with blue fingers for four days.  And yes, of course, I SHOULD HAVE thought of this first, BUT I DIDN’T.

The owner of Scottsdale Pen (a great little store) said “Just dip the nib in water.”  Remembering that my delicate instrument’s problem must require an intricate fix, I immediately pushed back.  Are you sure?  Hot water?  For how long?  How deep??  “Any water will do, just dip the nib in water,” he said.

And then he just dipped the nib in water and it sprang to life.

The moral of this little fable (although true): just because I think the solution ought to be hard or intricate doesn’t mean it is.  The corollary: ask an expert, you dope!!

Is the marketing problem you face, the one that brought you here, not getting solved by your intricate fixes?  Maybe the solution is simpler than you think.  Maybe you should ask an expert.

Postscript:

Is this a self-serving post?  Oh yeah.  It’s still good advice, though.  And I couldn’t help but share it after the irony of struggling with something for so long that was so simple to fix.