do robot overlords have more fun?

Why is FUN at work so taboo? What is so bad about enjoying our time and our days. I’m a big fan of the “Fun is Good” approach by Mike Veeck. Mike has managed to create a unique and successful business with the philosophy that when employees have fun they are more engaged, work harder, and provide superior customer service. When employees have fun, customers have fun. When customers have fun they tell people and come back.

A cornerstone to his approach is the idea that, although they don’t take themselves very seriously, they take their business very seriously. How unique, different, and refreshing is that? I’m a big fan of businesses (and people) willing to be different and authentically stand apart. I’ve previously written on: playing it safe is too risky, vanilla passion, and fear of a human business (the freak flag advantage) so I won’t spend too much time on it here.

This weekend, while playing around on ebay I came across a business willing to have fun and stand apart, yet be laser focused on the business. I know nothing about the business other than what they posted in their auction, I have no idea if they back it up or not, but I REALLY respect their approach.

Lotus of Portland is selling a 2011 Lotus Elise in “chrome orange”. I don’t know how long the auction will be up, but you can see it here. The ad reads (in part):

This is our very last NEW Elise. Lotus is no longer making these!

You know what this 2011 Lotus Elise SC in Chrome Orange doesn’t have? Navigation. Sure you could add one. But ask yourself this: don’t cars do too much for us already? Cushy heated 74-way adjustable powered seats with memory for eight people and lower lumbar support, 34-speaker Bose Kardon theater surround sound with 3D center screen technology, more than one cup holder… they all isolate the driver, you, from the experience and thrill of driving.

You know what this Elise SC does have? The Touring Pack, Lifestyle Paint, hard top, and Star Shield. Also available as standard equipment is an absolute zero-likelihood that this will turn against you in the inevitable global robot uprising. Sure, we’ve been enslaving our robot companions for almost a century, and it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ before our iPods™, Roombas®, and Swiffer WetJets force us to do their insidious mechanical bidding. But rest assured that your Lotus will still obey your every command during the Robocalypse.

And when that day comes we, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.


It finishes with:

Lotus of Portland is Oregon’s only official Lotus dealership and service center. We have one goal: Simply to be the best Lotus dealership in America.

Focusing on the guiding principles of Lotus, we keep everything as uncomplicated as possible for the greatest in speed and performance. You will deal with only one person from start to finish and you will receive the best car buying experience of your life. Anything less is unacceptable. Resistance is futile

This is a $60k sports car and they’re trying to sell it by going on about robot overlords? Hilarious. They’ve taken the possible negative of a bare bones sports car with no luxury (and few standard) features a and a radioactive paint color and turned it into a funny and eye catching positive. Would this work in a luxury car ad? Nope. But anyone excited about dropping that much money into an impractical car that SCREAMS “LOOK AT ME, ME, ME!” probably has a sense of humor about things. (Yes, I want one and I want to buy it from them. Unfortunately, I’m a few bucks short this week…)

Then they draw a big line in the sand about with a bold claim about how seriously they take their customer’s business. They tell us that anything less than the best car buying experience of our lives is unacceptable. Average, vanilla dealership for the masses? Um, no. And thank goodness.

Again, I have NO experience with them and don’t know how well they back up their claims, but I love their stance. It makes me realize just how much bigger I need to be playing in my own job. Bring on the fun!



  1. Robot overlords, huh? I think I used to work for one of them. Catching up with co-workers after a weekend or after a vacation was frowned upon, personal “stuff” in the cubbie was allowed but not encouraged and laughter was a sure sign that time was being wasted. The days were too long and too grey. I’m with you. We spend a lot of time at work and finding time to play and have fun is a good thing.


    1. Absolutely. Many people seem to think that fun and productive, hard work are mutually exclusive when they are often the same thing. Fun doesn’t have to equal goofing off. Fun can be high engagement, passion, sense of mission and purpose, etc.

      At the grocery store yesterday the teenager ringing up my purchase spelled her name “Mel!nda” with an exclamation mark in place of the “i” on her name tag. Made me smile. I always appreciate a little individual flair.


  2. Broc,

    I completely agree! I love the spirit of that Lotus dealership (and Mel!nda!).

    Your post reminded me of the following video about Zappos that I really like:


    1. Greg, I finally had a minute to watch the video. Freakin’ awesome. They get it and live it so much better than I can express. Thanks for sharing. Please keep contributing to the conversations.


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