Thursday, August 24, 2017

Help Me Help You

Jerry Maguire. I'm not sure why, but today I was thinking about the movie "Jerry Maguire" and some of the famous (or maybe infamous) quotes from Jerry, the sports agent, that have become part of our popular culture.  "Show me the money!" for example. "Help me help you." "You're a paycheck player - you play with your head and not your heart."   "I love you. You complete me."  There are many more, but Jerry's  language is sometimes too colorful for this family-friendly blog.

Here is my favorite:  Jerry is talking to his football-player/client's wife and asks her "How can I make your life better?"  That one stays with me because at Ace Office Furniture Houston, we try to ask that question as often as possible, of each other and of the clients we serve. How can we help the man whose has been downsized from his large company find the right used high-end executive desk for his new consultancy business? How can we help the employee who is assigned the task of furnishing a dozen brand-new office spaces with desks, chairs, credenzas, file cabinets, and accessories?  How can we help the expanding call-center add cubicles to their existing set-up? 

"How can I make your life better?" Each one of our sales staff want to know that before they help you search for furniture, because your answers will help them know where to look. If we forget to ask, please remind us. 

Thoroughly Contemporary Millie? Not So Much

"Thoroughly Contemporary Millie."  That movie title just doesn't roll off the tongue, does it? And maybe that's because using the word "contemporary" as a substitute for "modern" isn't always correct. In terms of design, contemporary refers to a look that is new, fresh, timely, and constantly changing.  By contrast, the word "modern" refers to a period of time, that period of time which the movie, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" featured.  On the other hand, the TV show "Modern Family" would probably be more accurately titled "Contemporary Family."  Likewise, modern dance refers to a style which evolved early in the 20th century that rejected the rigorous structure of classical ballet. In contemporary dance, just about anything goes. Modern art refers to a style and philosophy of an entire era spanning decades and the term usually brings to mind artists such as van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso, to name the most familiar.  Contemporary art is what artists are typically doing now in the early 21st  century.

Theoretically, in the furniture world, including the world of high-end office furniture, modern refers to a style of furniture which became popular in the mid-twentieth century. Furniture that looks like this would still be called "modern." And strictly speaking,  contemporary refers to a style that is new, fresh, different from the era it follows.  It's difficult to define contemporary, but you pretty much know it when you see it. In reality, the world in which we live and work, these terms, modern and contemporary, are often used interchangeably.  And sometimes the styles are mixed.

That gave me something to think about as I sat a spell. In what ways am I modern - identifiable, consigned to a particular era?  In what ways am I contemporary - willing to look at things afresh, adaptable, streamlined?  And in what ways am I classic - structured, traditional, timeless? It seems to me each of us is probably meant to be a combination of all three styles!

The term for that would be "eclectic", but we'll save that style for yet another blog post.