Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Business & Finance
  3. Industry

The spendthrift and the swallow, application to today’s business strategy

See also

Aesop wrote about a man known to be a spendthrift. Apparently this man had been quite wealthy before wasting his fortune on things that did not matter. One day this gentleman saw a swallow perched on a branch. He immediately assumed that spring has arrived so he sold his coat.

The next day the weather returned to the winter cold which killed the swallow. The man, now shivering, saw the swallow lying dead on the ground.

"Thanks to you I am freezing," exclaimed the spendthrift.

When testing new concepts are products businesses often make the same mistake as the spendthrift. A test of a single store will not produce reliable results.

Look at it this way, suppose a spaceship exploring planet Earth landed in the playground of an elementary school. They would report back to his mother planet that earthlings were approximately 3 foot tall. If a second spaceship was sent and it landed on the court of the professional basketball team they would report back that earthlings were almost 7 feet tall. Neither of these reports taken separately would produce any valuable information. Nor would the two reports create anything by confusion.

Whether a new store layout or new product rollout, test marketing requires a cross sampling of demographics in order to make an informed decision to proceed in the future.

Adapted from Aesop’s fables for the contemporary business world by Max Impact and used by permission. To read more 21st Century Business Fables, click here.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

Business resources:



  • Gaza school shelled
    Israeli airstrikes topple a school in Gaza suspected of housing rockets; dozens killed
  • Ebola outbreak
    An American with Ebola virus died shortly after boarding three planes
    World News
  • Why dogs smell butts
    Researchers figure out why dogs like to smell each other's butts
  • Time to stop tanning
    The surgeon general advises us not to tan as melanoma cases are on the rise
    Health News
  • Zimmerman lands dream job
    George Zimmerman lands his dream job as a security guard at a gun/motorcycle shop
  • 10 smartest states
    Here are the 10 most educated states in the U.S., did yours make the cut?
    US News