Is offence the best defence? (Part 1)


Once upon a time, there was a hut serving lovely tea & cakes.  People didn’t mind paying higher price for them because they saw how special the delicacies were. They told their friends, who in turn told their friends. Over time, the cup-&-cake hut grew to be the place to be. It attracted many competitors. One day, the owner, a young wizard, asked The Soup Witches to help him handle them.

The witches went to the hut & saw signs splattered on the outside walls:

Those other huts stole my idea! They are evil copycats! -read one,

People who like the cola-&-cakes hut are not welcomed here! No outside food either! -went another.

Give me your bad comments in private! Why embarrass me in public? -read the next one, large & loud.

The witches sat down, had tea (their own soup would be considered as outside food) & took a closer look at how the wizard treated his customers. He received compliments with a wide smile, but brushed off advice & complaints- even polite ones. They spoke to customers & found that many of them loved the hut, but other places offered delicious new flavors that they also found delightful.

Come afternoon, the witches sat with the wizard & asked him some questions:

  • “What have you done to make sure copycats won’t pose a threat to you?”
  • “Have you registered your designs as yours so that you can take actions against those who imitate?”
  • “How do you handle comments & advice from your customers?”
  • “How do your customers experience your goodies?”

The wizard turned purple in the face.

“Those fake cake huts are stealing my ideas!” -said he. “I went to all of the copycat huts & told them off!” He puffed. “There were people who told their friends about how my cakes haven’t been as good as they were before. How rude! If I were too grumpy sometimes, they could’ve slipped a discreet note to me, couldn’t they? Rather than telling all their friends about it! I won’t have them in here any more!”

He insisted, “I’ve done everything, but the copycats are still up & about!” However, he admitted that he had not:

  • registered his cake designs,
  • worked on creating new recipes AND designs,
  • welcomed advice & comments (the witches saw that themselves)
  • ‘been bothered’ about ‘these pie-in-the-sky ideas about customers & experiences’.

The witches were silent for a long while. Then they asked the wizard to follow them. He was puzzled that the witches didn’t give him the advice he wanted, but he was curious, so he agreed.

And off they went…


2 thoughts on “Is offence the best defence? (Part 1)

  1. Faz:

    I love these witches. There’s so much to learn from them. I find myself reading and wanting to know their take on things and what it might be to other dilemmas.

    This storytelling voice is both fun to read and effective as well, because the lesson and the advice aren’t imposed on the reader – they’re directed at a character in the story (in this one, the wizard). Because you are so gracious, you give your readers a choice: we can analogize the story to our own circumstances and learn and change what we’re doing, or we can file the lesson away in our general knowledge, or we can simply enjoy the story and carry on.

    I find your approach (tone, perspective, voice, etc.) much easier to abide and take in than the usual sort of post that plainly sets forth the message, so often without example or substance.

    So please keep blogging this way, Faz, OK? And please give some serious thought to a book of some kind by these wise witches, because we all need them in our kindles and on our night stands. 🙂


    • Hey there Susan-

      thanks for the specific feedback. It really helps me to get a feel of how things are going.

      From the writing perspective, I see the story better this way & I feel that helps me to show it, rather than crack my brain to think of the lesson learned & crafting the whole post to move towards it. I do feel like this is the voice I had been looking for, a more interesting way than many of the scenario & case study -styled articles that I have written.

      This is also providing me good practice space. trying out different blogging rules & guidelines to see which ones fit me the best; e.g. cutting up a post into 2 parts to keep things into bite-sized chunks.

      Funny you mentioned choices: “we can analogize the story to our own circumstances and learn and change what we’re doing, or we can file the lesson away in our general knowledge, or we can simply enjoy the story and carry on”

      -this current style was born out of an advice from a friend 2 months ago. He told me the best thing I can do is to put the lesson out & let people stumbling across it to decide what they want to do with it. Else, knowing me & my nature, I craft a lesson in such a way that I want to direct & control the outcome. I thought of trying out his advice- The Cocoonist & chronicles of The Soup Witches are my experiments too, how I’m interpreting his advice. Arguing about the advice takes up too much of my energy, so why not try it on for size, right? 🙂

      Looks like you’ve hit the nail on the head with that. I am learning loads from your insights. I hope to manifest my intention that it’s really up to every individual what they do with the information that I’ve put forth.

      Part 2 is coming up within the next day or two, just trimming it to keep it simple & as short as possible.

      Thanks very much for your time.

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