Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Dr. Zoltan!

Although these are not metaphors, this post reminded me that the terms, "Alternative" and "Progressive" (in reference to music) are Relative terms that have been Absolute-ized. Progressive now means music from the 70's, and Alternative has become mainstream.


While it is a grand number, it is still the lowest of the "infinitely grander" numbers available to the solution set. :)

nice post, though -- just poking!

Roger von Oech

Dr. Zoltan: When I hear the word "Progressive" in a political sense, it usually makes me think of its use in the 1930s-50s as a less alarming alternative to "Workers" and "Socialist."

JB: Thanks for poking! You must agree, though, that in its mathematical sense, LCD is a long way from "modest" and "cheap."

Katie Konrath

Until I studied ancient Greek in college, I thought that giving someone "kudos" meant rewarding them with a Kudos candy bar. (

So I was always disappointed that I never actually saw candy change hands, despite all the promises...

...Until I learned in college that "kudos" is actually the Greek word for "honor" and "fame"! Whoops!

Still, I can't fault my mind for always defaulting to the candy bar option - I was swimming 2 hours a day at that time and always hungry!


I agree it doesn't mean simple or cheap -- I always thought it implied "the most basic level" and/or "dumbed down." Depending.

So if 2520 is your number, 5040 works too, and so does 10080. In that case, if we assume that larger is better, our LCD does have negative implications. As in this "Value Score" of our design solution is only 2520 when it could be 5040.

But if we take it as simple is better than complex, then it could be positive.

It's an interesting concept: the context, and the accuracy with which it is used. Again, very nice post.


I thought about it some more too. Assume all humans have base instincts (2520 of them, including lust and greed). And some rise above those and have higher pursuits (1000 more, not all the same). Then when "this movie" appeals to our LCD, it could mean lowbrow in a way that implies "base" since all the higher pursuits are not in the common set.

I apologize for being geeked about this post. G'day!


How about "a dog's life"? Watching my golden retriever, an observer would have to conclude this dog's life was pretty good, perhaps even enviable. Yet that is not the commonly understood meaning of this metaphor.

Randy Bosch

"Rocket Scientist" and "Brain Surgeon" come to mind -- originally terms of great respect, now of disrepect.

"Architect" and "Engineer" are two others.
Usually, those who are behind a specious scheme are labeled "architects" and those behind successful ones are labeled "engineers". As an actual architect (and not a "software architect" - a contrivence!!), perhaps I should be offended?

Randy Bosch

In re: "lowest common denominator".
In our culture, in group work, does consensus often have that definition?

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