Hairy Arms

Asha is a young marketer pushing the boundaries for extraterrestrial fashion. Little green people have immigrated to Earth, but humans struggle to accept them. To build empathy, Asha wants to promote the green people in her company’s upcoming fall collection. However, her boss is prejudiced and always gives feedback before launching a campaign. So, Asha designed a new sweater ad featuring a hairy green arm sporting a cardigan from the fall collection. During the design review, her boss yelled:

“Eww, no. Get rid of that hair!”

“Will do. Any other feedback?”

“No. We needed to launch yesterday! Shave the arm and ship it.”

“Happily.” Asha smiled.

One win for extraterrestrial acceptance.

A “hairy arm” is a minor detail that distracts from an idea’s core concept. Hairy arms can be intentional (like Asha’s fashion ad) or unintentional (like distracting typos). Intentional hairy arms may be unethical.

  • If you’re an idea creator who wants meaningful feedback, don’t create accidental hairiness, such as poor color coordination, confusing charts, or a distracting format.
  • If you’re an idea creator who doesn’t want feedback (i.e., your reviewers have a detrimental bias to your project), consider the ethics of adding a deliberate distraction.
  • If you’re an idea reviewer, beware hairy arms. Shave away trivialities to focus on the core idea. Nitpicking details isn’t valuable if the core concept is off.