Pissing Contests

I seem to be witnessing more and more intellectual pissing competitions these days. And it’s not just in planner-land, although that’s where I’ve witnessed some of the ‘best’ ones. I’ve seen a few good technical ones, and even designers seem to be getting in on the act.

So how do you spot when the transition between conversation/discussion and pissing match occurs? Typically the conversation will start to move from being a group thing to being dominated by 2/3 members of the group. These people will become the players.

One the players have been established they take it in turns to metaphorically piss higher up the wall than each other. Most of the games I’ve witnessed have been about rather esoteric matters. I guess there’s no fun in facts.

Pissing competition tips:

  1. As a player you might get be having fun. And it’s fine to play with friends in private. But in public it’s not a great thing to be seen doing. It makes you look like a tit.
  2. If you accidentally get drawn into a match, make your best shot fast and early. If you don’t slay the opposition with your first or second go, realise that they’re involved in a war of attrition and retire to a safe distance to minimise splashback.
  3. Games can span multiple meetings – sometimes you’ll have to endure the same players spraying again and again. If possible try to move their ‘game’ into their own separate environment.
  4. Ultimately everyone ends up covered in urine (even innocent bystanders).

Or maybe I’m imagining it all.

Anyone else got any thoughts on Intellectual Pissings? (If I ever make an album I think I might call it Intellectual Pissings, I quite like it).

Image from Geoff (not sure what the etiquette is about using images from Picassa pubic galleries – hope he doesn’t mind).

4 thoughts on “Pissing Contests”

  1. Given the museum in the background is that a Kafkaesque piss?

    On the subject itself I have to say that you’re bang on that the key warning sign is when it switches to one or two people.

    A trick I’ve seen (if you’re actually managing the meeting) is to have the pair write a memo together on the issue in time for the next meeting.

  2. I think I witnessed a one person pissing match ( they were in competition with their ego ) in our focus group a few weeks ago. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. So boring!

  3. territorial pissings – i think that was nirvana…

    like the circus at Rome, agencies fitting it out against each other, seeking the approving thumb of the client caesar to kill off the other…

    ;-)

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