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Is it OK to be funny?

July 26, 2010

So, here’s the thing… Sometimes companies are straight-up serious. It’s all business all the time. It’s not funny. Other businesses allow, even push, a sense of humor. Consider MailChimp. We use this web application to help us manage email lists and send out emails to our customers and potential customers. MailChimp is serious in that they are clearly very aware of the importance of email marketing as well as the dangers. RoastLog is a real company providing a real service. We’re not spammers. We hate spam. We understand that it does us no good to make our potential customers angry by spamming them – regardless of how “spam” is defined. Like porn, I know spam when I see it, and what I consider spam may not always fit nicely into the official definition of spam. MailChimp helps us steer clear of being spammy – both by the technical definition as well as subjective perception. That is serious.

MailChimp humor

MailChimp humor

However, MailChimp is funny. The site is peppered with silliness, from the loading page that appears when you login to the ability to set “party pooper mode,” where you can enable MailChimp humor or disable it – “because I am a party pooper”. Go ahead, search the IBM site for the phrase “party pooper”: http://bit.ly/cWVbBS

MailChimp Party Pooper mode

MailChimp Party Pooper mode

I enjoy the humor. I find myself wanting to “keep it light” on the RoastLog site. I have seen that coffee professionals are sometimes very serious about coffee. However, I have yet to meet anyone who is so serious that humor plays no role in their job.

So, what’s up? Do we come across as too serious on the RoastLog website, Twitter account and blog? Should we be “funnier”? I don’t know, maybe the three of us aren’t funny at all.

Editors Note: We laugh quite a bit on our weekly calls, so I’d say we’re at least moderately humorous.  -BZ

Does anyone have an opinion on the balance between being a serious web application, providing a valuable service while still having a good time?

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