The Cubs and The Toothbrush Test (or, Add Another One to the Floss Column)

If you know me then you know this: I’m a rabid Chicago Cubs fan.

This was not a decision I made lightly… and I don’t know that it was really a decision at all.

It was more of a daily deepening, an application of a balm that just made me feel better.

When I was growing up and coming home from school in the 1970s, the Cubs were always waiting for me at home. No matter what happened at school during the day… and “what happened” was often no fun at all… I could turn on the same television, to the same channel, at the same time, and watch the last few innings of a Cubs game.

That doesn’t mean that this routine was always magical. More tragic than magic really, because in the 1970s the Cubs lost so many more games than they won. But there they were, in the same place on my TV dial, with the same recognizable broadcast voices, the same uniforms, the familiar names, all feeding my youthful naivete.

Is this kind of familiarity enough to instill this kind of fanaticism?

Well, another perspective might be what Google co-founder Larry Page calls the “toothbrush test” to determine whether a company is worth buying.

The toothbrush test is this: Is the object of your attention something you will use once or twice a day, every day, and does using it make your life better?

The application of this to my love for a team might seem like a reach, but to me it makes sense. I “used” the product every day… at least during baseball season. The use of this product… and the anticipation of having it waiting for me at home, was of great positive value.

So here’s the lesson, if we generalize this out and then bring it back in.

What can you offer that in one way or another is used, experienced, or anticipated on a daily basis?

It brings pleasure or other positive thoughts and feelings to your customer or client?

The right amount of consistency with the opportunity for variety?
After all, even the 1970s-era Cubs teams won games once in a while.

What value can you offer to your customers, clients, fans, even employees, that passes the Toothbrush Test?

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!