Back around the turn of the century, there was a famous Orloy Trotter Horse in Germany who was acclaimed for being able to perform arithmetic and other intellectual feats. The horse’s name was Clever Hans.
After a formal investigation into his skills, a psychologist claimed the horse was smart, but only in the sense that it paid attention to the reactions and body language of his trainer. The trainer, it was said, had no idea the horse was eyeing him for the cues on how to respond to the ongoing tests.
Well, this story is not about Clever Hans.
Warning: I have a bit of a sarcastic, sardonic, and cynical sense of humor. I think a lot of people do, but some don’t, and they may not get my attempts to poke fun at things. That’s ok, but I just wanted to warn the reader that’s where we’re headed today, down sarcastic, cynical lane. 😊
Disclaimer: And while I’m poking fun at a business conference below, understand that I’m not really trying to belittle the people who made their presentations. They were all very nice people and some were incredibly smart folks. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a sense of humor about the topics being presented and the terminology they used.
Ok, so yesterday I was having a little fun with some new words and phrases coming out of the business sector. And I ended that post by mentioning something else I did once at a work conference. Something I thought was rather amusing, and you can do this too the next time you’re at one of those oh-so-boring meetings.
At the time I was working at the state agency that regulates public utilities. Yes, I’ve held a variety of positions in my two careers and this was a rather interesting one. I was a regulatory law judge for the state executive agency that regulated these guys.
The most contested and controversial cases we heard (courtroom-like proceedings) were those involving setting utility rates – how much the public would have to pay for electricity, water, gas, and sewer services. And I was at a conference about setting utility rates when all the buzz words from the executive elites flowed. I wrote them all down and then composed the following sentence stringing them all together and came up with this:
In order to remain two notches from speculative grade; while avoiding congestion costs, the intangible risks of cost, and all unexpected eventualities; the practical reality is that in the art of rate-making we’re going to have to get all that money by crowding out the critical interference, the creeping debt leverage, and the upstream carbon policies while overcoming disinformation and the tsunami of refinancing and restoring credit calm; for it is only when the price signals confirm that the point is the spread and we bundle commodities and large lumpy investments that we may reach the footprint of the paradigm of where the smart pony is; and only then, by awarding bonuses and penalties to account for externalities, shall we remain intellectually consistent.
LMAO ! And you can see, while it sounds very official, it is total gibberish and means absolutely nothing.
Or maybe, just maybe, I really hit on something here and accurately described the economic thesis of the entire eight-hour conference. 🙂
And I suppose I should take a moment to explain the phrase “smart pony.” The truly nonsensical noun I threw in there.
Well you see, all of the presenters were talking about the newest trends in “smart technology.” Smart grids, smart meters, etc. In fact, the word “smart” itself is used an acronym for “Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology.” All of the technological advances being discussed were becoming “smart.”
Heck, my daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law have a “smart refrigerator” where you can use your phone to turn on a camera in the frig while you’re at the store and see what’s missing so you know what groceries to buy.
Everything is getting “smarter” now days, except maybe us people. 😊
Back to the “pony.” This reference came from one of the presenters who was trying to be cute and come up with a unique phrase to describe consumers who want the best of everything. The perks, the pluses, the bonuses. So, she used the phrase, “Where’s my pony?” to describe customers who want good services. It was a bit exaggerated, and she repeated it over and over again, to imply that the customers wanted unrealistic service that could not be delivered, like a child crying out to mom and dad for a pony on their birthday.
I linked the two concepts to become “smart pony.” A mythical creature much like the unicorn, but maybe we can find its footprint somewhere. Perhaps in that “new paradigm” they kept mentioning. Over and over and over again.
BTW, I hate the word “paradigm.” I think it’s been so over-used and worn out that it kind of turns my stomach every time I hear it. It’s a new paradigm, indeed. Frequently, it’s not. It’s not a new business model of doing anything. It’s a recycled, refurbished, reinvention of the wheel someone is trying hard to take credit for by re-branding and re-packaging it.
Wordsmithing is such a fun sport.
Have fun today my fellow bloggers!
And know that there is amusement to be had, even on the most boring of Mondays. Even while trapped in the workplace. And maybe, just maybe, you can find that smart pony wandering through the corridors of your office building. 😊
Photo: Well, obviously it is a horse. I ran the photo through my photo editor and used an effect called glowing edges to electrify this magnificent creature. The perfect representation for the Smart Pony, I think 🙂