The Search for Words that Transcend

Adrian Hanft
2 min readJan 14, 2018

A dot.

A dot of blood.

A dot of blood drops.

A dot of blood drops in a field.

A dot of blood drops in a field of fresh snow.

The perfect sentence.

Lifetimes are spent in search of words that transcend.

If you are lucky enough to find the words, the battle has just begun.

Last week I told you about Bob Gill’s career-ending advice that “interesting words need boring graphics.”

If you take that lesson to heart, you can’t help but wonder what’s the absolute minimum you need to convey an idea?

And if you can find that perfect minimum, what would you do to protect it from the onslaught that your idea must endure before it enters the world?

A committee will shake your idea, thrash it until it doesn’t resemble itself.

An SEO expert will tempt you to exchange your words for more valuable keywords.

A designer will entice you with flashy graphics promising to make your message really pop.

A marketer will recommend spreading your words across multiple pages to increase impressions.

The CFO will ask for data to guarantee your words are worth the upfront investment.

The focus group will prefer Pepsi over your Coke.

Media pros will ask why you want to whisper when you could YELL?

Your words will inadvertently get changed in code after the computer compiles your words into localized strings.

There is no end to the resistance that your idea must endure.

Maybe, just maybe your perfect sentence will see the light of day.

And at the end you will wonder if it was worth it.

Did anyone notice?

Does it make a sound?

When a dot of blood drops in a field of fresh snow?

Thanks for reading. Every Saturday I bleed out an essay for your enjoyment. If this one happened to hit a vein, please follow me. Stay creative.



Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia