Shift Happens!ï¿½ Things change
One small fly in the ointment, thatï¿½s all…
Weï¿½ve changed the name.
Let me tell you the story.
One day, just before Christmas
As I was putting the finishing touches to my text and contemplating starting work on the figures, I got an email out of the blue.
Itï¿½s nice to know people are aware of your work, but less so, when the email comes ready-copied to a firm of US lawyers.ï¿½ We Brits rarely resort to legal threats: not so some folk in the US, it seems.ï¿½ The stereotype of the dash to litigate has been endorsed.ï¿½ I was threatened with legal action if I went ahead with publication of a book called Shift Happens!ï¿½ This was despite the fact that there are already a load of books by that name.
(The threat was not from any of those lovely authors, by the way.)
After replying courteously, I got no response.ï¿½ Nice touch.ï¿½ I supressed my ï¿½clichï¿½ instinctï¿½ to believe:
ï¿½no news is good newsï¿½
and engaged my risk management response of:
ï¿½no news is no evidenceï¿½
Consulting my publisher, we decided to err on the side of caution.ï¿½ I donï¿½t think there was any chance of confusion in the market-place, but I wasnï¿½t going to literally bet the house on it. Weï¿½ve changed the name.ï¿½ Itï¿½s aï¿½risk appetite thing.
Good news and bad news
The good news is thatï¿½Risk Happens! may just be a better title ï¿½ thank you un-named provocateur.ï¿½ It will do better in searches, and that matters these days.
The first bit of bad news is that Iï¿½m not as keen on the title ï¿½ semantically, it isnï¿½t quite right and these things matter to me.ï¿½ I will always know that ï¿½risk existsï¿½ and ï¿½that risks are realisedï¿½ are semantically better.ï¿½ And I know that I have been using the phrase ï¿½shift happens!ï¿½ since the mid 1990s.
The second bit of bad news is that this provides one more sad piece of evidence that
ï¿½might (in the form of a US law firm)ï¿½is rightï¿½
and tactics that felt, to me, like bullying were able to succeed.
What have I learned?
Writing a book about risk is not without risk, it seems.ï¿½ But I choose to to go with Juliet on this one:??
ï¿½O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;ï¿½
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2