My friend and super-talented art director and illustrator, Soren Thieleman, sent me this text the other morning:
“Good morning Bruce. I'm at a small café in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and the door handle put a on my face. I haven't tasted the food or had a sip of their coffee yet but I already like this place. It's the power of a first impression and the impact of a creative surprise.”

I like this place too. Certainly enough to copy the name into the restaurant list on my and write a blog post about it.

What I like the most is not just the attention to detail of the door handle but the obvious that went into creating and sharing it.

Delight is such a simple thing to enjoy but seems so hard to create, especially in a commercial environment. And yet, when it crosses our path, we know something special happened and we remember it.

I still remember my first flight on Southwest Airlines when the announcer warned us to be careful opening overhead compartments because “shift happens.”

I remember waiting in line for lunch at Nordstrom's restaurant when an apron-clad cook handed out small paper cup samples of their soup of the day.

I remember when the Wilford Brimley lookalike stable hand at the equestrian center showed me how to get down to the lake to read my book while my wife and kids went horseback riding (I've been on horseback twice – the first time and the last time!).

I remember the last solo in Vince Gill's song, “Jenny Dreamed of Trains,” where the guitar player snuck the melody of Elizabeth Cotton's “Freight Train” into the closing refrain.

It's that gracious gesture, what Cajuns call “lagniappe,” that turns an ordinary occurrence into a memorable one. It's the surprise you find in the bottom of the Cracker Jack box, the smile on ' face when Richard Gere snapped the jewelry box shut in Pretty Woman, the complimentary copy of Winnie The Pooh that came with your iPad, the rainbow after a rainstorm, the dollar bill you find in an old pair of pants, or ' song “Her Majesty” which plays 14 seconds after “The End” on Abbey Road.

Small delights are generally , usually lighthearted, and almost always unexpected. In fact, they seem to show up when things look a bit bleak and gray (on a crowded airplane, following a dreary and wet thunderstorm, after the last song of a great Beatles album, etc.).

Small delights are hard to create but easy to identify. Most importantly they are an incredibly cheap way to build and encourage repeat usage.

Have you had your small delight today? Has your ?


I'm hosting a Lunch & Learn session titled DEFINE YOUR ISSUE at the Babson College Olin Graduate School of Business in San Francisco on August 3rd. We're going to discuss one of an entrepreneur's most important needs – how to differentiate and communicate a compelling . You will leave this session knowing exactly how to build your business through this critical skill. Admission is complimentary but seating is quite limited.

If you're interested in joining me, click HERE for information and registration. Please note that the links on the ad below are not active. Click HERE to register.





Skip to content