A paint-by-numbers frog stares down the reader as they scroll to “How WD-40 Created a Learning Obsessed Culture”. He lacks a few spaces in its coloring; the single digits leftover indicate that the artist second guessed the rules of painting before finishing the creature. Waiting in a perpetual formlessness, the pathetic frog begs the reader to fill in the final portions of the picture.
This very abstract drawing is the perfect multimodal piece to introduce William Taylor’s article on free thinking in the professional setting. It visually and gesturally captures the reader, as the void spaces trigger their natural desire for completeness and wide eyes create a pity leading to action. He asks the reader to consider the position of WD-40, a company which encourages employee creativity and inquiry, as they do not simply paint by the numbers in their business, but question the reason behind corporate instructions.
He first describes the lack of innovation in large, successful companies as a major issue for the reader to understand this short article is not just a praise for WD-40 but a solution to a common problem. Following up with quantitative data on the performance of WD-40, he understand the particular skepticism of his economically-inclined audience and gives reason for WD-40 as an exceptional example.
In describing the particulars of WD-40, he uses a quick and distant tone, not forming any specific opinions on how the company’s system works or how their methods apply to other business owners so that they can practice the lesson on free-thinking from this article. He offers mostly information on qualitative aspects of WD-40’s environment through interview’s with management and physical descriptions of the business so that nothing is lost in translation between the entity of WD-40 and the reader.
I’d like to emulate this piece especially because of it’s casual but important nature. Taylor does not feel the need to spew out half a dozen examples of businesses who fail for lack of free thinking because he assumes that his audience knows of some themselves; he takes advantage of the fact that the people reading would like to learn how to better their business, so he nonchalantly skips the heavy research and goes straight to his point. I’d also like to have a unique but well-known topic like his. Most everyone has heard of WD-40, but I have never thought of this as a business. In fact, I previously thought that WD-40 stood for some sort of a chemical equation or patent number, not a business. I would like to have a topic like this, well-known enough that it is relatable but shown differently.