In 1982 when I had no money but lots of time, I crafted a Christmas gift for my sisters: The Detmer Dictionary, a book filled with arcane facts and verbiage that only our family understood. Sixteen years later I wrote a revision and printed copies at our shop for our expanding families. I thought of that book when Fred and I were discussing business and I realized that we use so many shortcuts to define processes or people that we could use a Quincy Group Dictionary. Here are some possible entries:
A Passion Project is a business that was born of a singular passion, often travel or food-related. The word “passion” appears on the company website or print collateral, and will often come up in conversation with the owner. They are wonderful businesses to start from scratch since they’re crafted from the heart, soul, and sinew of the owner, and wonderful businesses to run while the passion is still high. But passion takes energy and is hard to sustain as owners get closer to retirement. Passion Projects can also be harder to sell. Realtors advise homeowners to depersonalize their homes so buyers can see themselves in it, but it’s extremely difficult to depersonalize a Passion Project to make it more attractive to a buyer.
The Bob Rule means an owner or manager has issues with direct communication, and if they have a problem with a single employee – “Bob” – rather than addressing Bob face-to-face about it, they’ll create new rules and bring them to the attention of the entire company in the hopes of getting Bob to quit doing whatever he’s doing. It doesn’t work.
“Makes Good Cookies” is an employee ID that Fred thinks of when an interested buyer talks to a current owner about employees, and the buyer asks pointed questions about someone, often a person who’s been there forever but whose job is so nebulously defined that even the owner can’t provide a straight answer. “Makes Good Cookies” means it’s likely a person beloved by everyone who’s stayed on the payroll even though they’re underperforming or unnecessary, and “Makes Good Cookies is as good a reason as any. So is “Owner’s Nephew.”
Here are some entries from the Detmer Dictionary:
And my God, they’ve cut off her legs! Voted the Best Funny Line of the 3rd annual Detmer Christmas sing-a-long, it’s the first time the award left the family. Mother was signing and high-stepping across the living room, her short, mesomorphic legs making futile stabs at the air. Pat, knowing Mother’s secret fantasy, cried, “Wow! Look! It’s Juliet Prowse!” whereupon one of the guests added, horrified, “And my God, they’ve cut off her legs!”
It’s amazing the Germans lost the war. Several carloads of family members parked at a trail for a day-long hike. Mother insisted that we turn the cars around to face down the logging road instead of up. When we asked why, she said, “In case something happens, we can get out quickly.” My sister’s husband Mike supplied the comment.
March 10, 2021