Fuzzy Solutions

This story was told by Phil Smith, ex-chairman of General Foods, to illustrate how creativity can solve problems.

Two vets from the Vietnam War pooled their money and started their own business canning salmon in the Pacific Northwest. It didn’t take long for the partners to realize they had a problem with their processing. Every time a customer opened a can, the fish was gray.

The partner who handled marketing put a lot of pressure on his friend. “Come on, you’re the technical guy,” he said, “You’ve got to fix this; it’s killing our business!”

The technical partner studied the problem and later replied, “I can fix it, but it will take at least a year and a lot of money.” The marketing partner, showing signs of impatience, responded, “Look, if we can’t fix it, let’s feature it.”

That day, they changed the label to read, right under the brand name, in bold letters: “The only salmon guaranteed not to turn pink in the can.”

What do you do with your gray salmon?

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