Content Strategy before ‘Content’ existed…

Back in the last century (before the internet) I got to run a project for a large financial organisation in the midlands – they wanted me to look at the way they were using their forms and workflows in the company secretariat.

It was a work experience type job and I don’t think they expected me to do anything really.

The Project Sponsor had his head stuffed with ‘low hanging fruit’ and told me to focus on the most used forms to see what efficiencies could be improved there.

As a keen student of skewed probability theory, black swans and general all round Contrarian, I took the Pareto Principle rule and reasoned that 20% of the forms were doing 80% of the work. If I further reduced the number in that 20% group – the number in the 80% group would rise, store rooms stuffed with rarely used forms!

So I took the longer route of looking at the 80% of least used forms and suggested combining some of them and their associated tasks.


Needless to say the Project Sponsor (who saw innovation as his domain) buried my report and wrote me a terrible reference.

2 lessons for me there: 1. There’s an obvious parallel with webcontent on your site 2. I need to be thinking about freelance work – so I can do more of this kind of thinking and not be thinking about organisational politics etc! 

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