Getting The Last Ketchup Out Of The Bottle

“There’s always anxiety when you start a new job,

you’re the one guy who doesn’t know where the ketchup is.”

~Jon Stewart


I do not know all of the factors that go into product design.  Surely the variables include how pleasing the look is; whether it creates or furthers an iconic, signature logo/look; the cost to create the product; quality; and ease of use – storage, shipping, customer satisfaction. One has to be able to use all the product.

I think.

Sometimes I think product containers are designed so customers will throw some of the good stuff away – it’s so difficult to extract – and have to buy the next bottle sooner.

I dunno.  Still…

…some product designs, note well ketchup bottles, are more conducive to getting the last bit of product out of the bottle, some are less so.  Take the conditioner and shampoo I was using – trying to – just yesterday morning. I’m getting to the bottom of the bottles and the products are lush, viscid, good-smelling, slow-moving gels that I enjoy using. But in the shower I can use half the water in the Lucky Peak Reservoir waiting for the goop to get out the the lid.

So my choices are throwing the mostly-used bottle away – wasting precious viscous liquous; becoming a prune in the shower, biding my time, tediously waiting for the dawdling custard to emerge; or anticipating all this and turning the bottle over to prepare for launch.



It’s a momentous choice, with hints of sustainability and responsibility mixed with pragmatism.  Each person will follow their own set of principles to come to resolution.


In the same way that too much shampoo, conditioner, and ketchup is wasted because we have a hard time waiting for it, or because we haven’t figured out how to move it faster, much human potential goes unused – even untapped at all – as well. Some kid has a great voice, but no one has the time or patience to mentor him. Another could be the next Serena Williams, but there’s no tennis court close by or someone to take her to lessons or to practice with her.  A new employee is bursting his buttons wanting to make a positive difference, with talent galore, but weeks and months go by and no one, really, pays him much mind. “Just do your job.”  And he withers on the vine.

Leaders and mentors and parents and anyone who touches others has the opportunity to – I do apologize for the metaphor – design learning in order to get the most potential out of someone’s bottle. Granted, sometimes this talent will ooze out, sometimes it will burst forward, sometimes it will take much shaking, but mostly it will require attention, intention, and invention – designing and carrying out learning opportunities that develop that human potential for this particular girl or boy, man or woman.

Talent is too precious to toss away.

I hate to leave toothpaste in the tube.  Don’t you?




3 thoughts on “Getting The Last Ketchup Out Of The Bottle

  1. Good one!
    It takes a lot, I think. I was watching Pistol Pete play in his rookie year and there was so much talent and he’d spent his life under his dad’s rule and then he fell into the bottle. Sometimes pushing for potential in a kid can back fire == but not often.

    Liked by 1 person

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