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Good Granny, Bad Granny: What Good Grannies Teach Their Grand Kids About Marketing – That Bad Grannies Do Not!

This is a true story. I have adjusted some of the facts, but I know you’ll forgive me, because I believe the story is a lot more entertaining this way, and in the end you might even understand a thing or two about me.

I discovered at a very young age that I don’t belong on the same sidewalk with certain people. It didn’t matter if they were neighbors, friends, or members of my immediate family. It didn’t matter what our relations were, I just didn’t want to be anywhere close to them.

Bad granny

The first time I have a clear memory of wanting to get away from someone, was when my grandmother looked straight into my eyes and asked me why I hadn’t visited her lately. I was four, and I didn’t have an answer for her. I just kept staring back at her, and wasn’t sure if she would slap the door in my face or step out of the way and let me in.

As a kid, I wanted just a few things, and I would be happy for hours. I wanted pizza, potato chips, and coca-cola. I wanted to watch movies (mainly cartoons), and I loved to read magazines (all sorts of cartoons). And I loved talking, but I was better at listening. I only wanted to listen to stories about things I loved to talk about. I still more or less hate to talk about boring things. I’m the worst person to ever engage in small talk. I’m still staring into the air when it’s my turn to say something, just like I did when I was four and waiting for my granny to let me inside.

Bad granny always asked the same question when I called her (she never phoned me) or when she opened the door, “why haven’t you visited me lately?” When we got inside, I sat in her couch and looked at the pictures on the walls. I counted them, and I looked at the big old clock, and counted the seconds, the minutes, and the hours left. I tried to listen to what she was talking about, but I couldn’t focus. The conversation was always the same, it was about her, and I just didn’t understand what she was talking about. She drank coffee, she smoked, and she ate cake, lot’s of cake. But she offered me only one tiny piece, because as she said, children shouldn’t eat cake, it’s bad for their teeth. Bad granny thought of herself as my teacher, her mission was to teach me about life. I didn’t want another teacher, I already had my parents as teachers.

Good granny

I have a lot more memories of my other granny. She called me all the time. The door was always open when I arrived. It was wide open. She looked at me with the biggest smile I had ever seen. And then, she always took her hand and touched the top of my hair, and said that I had the thickest and nicest hair she had ever seen. Oh, and she said I was beautiful, I was more beautiful than any other person in the family. She couldn’t believe how handsome I was. And according to her, the older I got, the more handsome I became. As soon as I got inside, I smelled the pizza. Ah, her pizza was the best. I ran to the kitchen to see it. And, as soon as I passed the living room I could see that she had opened a bag of my favorite potato chips and a bottle of coca-cola. It was already there, just waiting for me.

I looked at the pizza, and I could hardly wait to eat it. I wanted to stay and see the cheese melting. But, she always said that she had a surprise for me. It was a treasure and she had made a treasure map, and I had to find it to keep it. It didn’t take me long to understand that the treasure was always one of my favorite cartoon magazines. It was easy to find, but just hard enough to make it exciting.

I loved the excitement, and as soon as I found it, the pizza was ready. We ate, we talked, and it was always about something I wanted to talk about. She told the most amazing stories about trolls, goblins, and a very beautiful princess. She included me in the stories, and I was always the hero.

What I learned from being spoiled

I never wanted to leave the house of good granny. I wanted to live there, and stay there forever. Just me and her, together forever. That was not the case of bad granny. I never wanted to visit her in the first place. We never had the same relation. I felt that she didn’t care about me. I felt that she didn’t know anything about me, and that she didn’t let me be who I was. I was visiting her on her terms, and the only reason I was there was to satisfy her needs. She never did anything for me. She never spoiled me, she didn’t even try.

This was more than twenty years ago. As a teenager, I understood that it was no longer about me. Growing up, I understood the true value of relations. It’s never about me, it’s always about the other person, and making this person feel special. No matter if it’s my friend, my neighbor, member of my immediate family or a customer. If I do my best, he or she will be knocking on my door as often as I did on good granny’s door. And they won’t leave me alone. They’ll stay with me forever.

24 responses to “Good Granny, Bad Granny: What Good Grannies Teach Their Grand Kids About Marketing – That Bad Grannies Do Not!”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, what a touching story with valuable lessons for others. Can you imagine if you responded to commenters with this: why haven’t you visited my blog lately? I don’t think you would have many readers for your blog!

    It’s especially upsetting for a four year old to be chastised when he has no control over the frequency of his visits.

    Making demands on others, instead of appreciating their presence, is definitely unwelcoming. The more you welcome people to your website, store, blog, home, the more they will feel comfortable being there. You do a wonderful job of making people feel welcome at your blog, Jens!

    As an adult, have you ever tried to figure out what caused Bad Granny to act that way? Did she have harsh parents? Did she grow up under tough circumstances? Not that it’s an excuse for her behavior to her lovely grandson, but I find generally that if someone has a harsh personality, there is a reason behind it. That doesn’t make me want to be around the person more, but it helps me to understand.

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story!

    • jens says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I believe that we have all met bad granny. It can be one of our friends, or like you said, it can be a blogger. What matters is that we stop thinking about what we want, and start to think about what they want. Because when we understand what they want, and we do exactly that, anything can happen 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the awesome comment Carolyn.


  2. Mark Harai says:

    You’re deep Jens. I really enjoy the experience of reading your articles!

    I felt like we were sharing a piece of pizza together and washing it down with some yummy chips and coke 🙂

    I came here because I read your comment on my last article. Jeez, I wish I could write like you do to make similar points!

    My article was about what people thought of when your name or brand came up in conversation on the social web… Yours was a touching personal story on how to interact with people if you want to impress love, inspiration, and a home away from home experience in their minds for years to come.

    I have so much to learn..!

    I just love this Jens, you such an impressive person, I hope we get to be good friends along the journey.

    Cheers to you!

    P.S. your 21 day series has been spectacular, thank you!

    • jens says:

      Hi Mark,

      Wow, thanks a lot. I adjusted the facts a little, but it’s kind of a personal story. It’s really not about my granny, but I have met friends, co-workers and bloggers who are just like bad granny. They are just thinking about themselves and what they would like to accomplish, and never giving other people any thoughts at all. When you do that, nothing good will ever going to happen. So, I created bad granny in order to help people understand 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the brilliant comment, and I’m glad you enjoy the 21 day series. I’m still adjusting it a little.


  3. Mahesh says:

    Nice article you’ve written there. It’s human nature due to which we feel friendly and comfortable around people like Good Granny. We never want to be around people who are rude and always in a bad mood and always telling “avoid this avoid that”, like Bad Granny.

    • jens says:

      Hi Mahesh,

      True. It’s human nature. I just don’t get it why so many people don’t seem to understand why they should be acting differently. If they stopped thinking about themselves, and started to focus on their customers (or friends) instead, a lot more good things would happen.

      Thanks a lot for the comment Mahesh.


  4. jens says:

    Thanks a lot for the feedback 🙂

  5. Wez Bailey says:

    This is a really touching story and I believe we all have met someone bearing some resemblance to both your grannies. But the truth is that there are some people who even if you take your heart and gift it to someone on a silver platter, they will still remain mean and cold to you.

    • jens says:

      Hi Wez,

      Yes, I have experienced what you’re saying as well. Some people are mean and cold, no matter what. But I’m still a firm believer that we should do everything we can in order to convert them into happy people. Because, not only business, but life, is all about being happy 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment Wez, I really appreciate it.


  6. Adrienne says:

    Is the pizza ready yet? Can I come over now?

    Wonderful story Jens and I can definitely relate to that one as well. Which is why I’ve always been open and honest with all the people in my life. And another reason I’ve ended friendships that didn’t suit me. They were like the bad granny, all about them and they didn’t even care to ask how my day was. Not even once. Darn them!!!

    So true online too. That would make most readers run the opposite direction wouldn’t it! But all they will do now is run to your post. I’m loving your story telling now. So glad you’ve been opening up more. Your posts are even more enjoyable to read now. You are putting you into them more.

    Again, thanks for sharing. I know I’m not the only one that appreciates it.


    • jens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Yes, the pizza is ready… time for a snack 🙂

      I’ve sort of found my way with the story telling on my blog. It’s so much more fun to write when things can be related to personal experiences.

      Bad granny is everywhere. I see her online and offline, and a lot of people I meet don’t get it. They just keep asking the same questions over and over again without contributing. And they still think they’re going to be successful 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the comment Adrienne.


  7. Aki says:

    Hi jens, reading a true story is quite interesting. Each one of us has a good and bad memories but it is a matter of how we see things and how valuable it is. I remember the time when i was kid, most of the people around me are pleasant to me except the only one what we call bad granny.As time goes by, i realized that not all who smiles to us are really good ones. In my case, this bad granny of mine is the one who help me stand on my own. She is the one who made me stronger and the one who showed me the real people and I found it more valuable to me because she teach me the true color of life. So for me even a bad granny can be a good granny to your life as well.

    • jens says:

      Fantastic comment. I love what you just said. Both the good and bad grannies teaches us something, the experience teaches us something about life and business. And a bad experience can be even more valuable than a good.

      Thanks a lot for your comment. Brilliant.

    • Carolyn says:

      Wow, Aki, very profound. I loved your line “not all who smiles to us are really good ones.” This is so true. How many people pose as Good Granny when all they want to do is get something for themselves without really caring about you? That is such a tough lesson in life, isn’t it?

  8. Steve says:


    I loved it! Great article about the good and the bad grannies. There really are some wonderful lessons on ways to relate to people within this.

    Many of us want our cake and pizza and marketing with a pleasant and engaging manner is going to go a lot farther than making a person feel excluded.

    Thanks for an engaging and entertaining post.

    • jens says:

      Hi Steve,

      I really enjoy talking about relations. There are so many lessons to be learned. I have both felt excluded and included. And I have stayed with people who are happy and are passionate about what they do.

      To me, it’s all about delivering happiness 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment Steve.


  9. steve says:

    I have great memories of my grandmother also. They have that special way of making you feel special. I really miss that. My grandmother has now passed away. I really miss her. Thanks for the heart warming post.

    • jens says:

      Hi Steve,

      Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I’m not sure why grandmothers are so cool, but they are. They know exactly what to do to make us feel special (well, most of them) 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the comment Steve.


  10. Gustavo Karakey says:

    Stumbled across your site looking for Popup Domination info. Your article on that subject made me ask for a refund since I had never really enjoyed using the product, but thought I had to in order to “build a list!”

    Then I hopped over to your article on grannies and just had to leave a comment saying, you rock! Great story and a universal message about life killers and life celebrators.

    Thanks again.

    • jens says:

      Hi Gustavo,

      Popup Domination is brilliant, but as you discovered, I don’t like popups 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the feedback. It means a lot to me.


  11. Lyermine says:

    My grandmother has now passed away. I really miss her. I have great memories of my grandmother also. They have that special way of making you feel special. I really miss that. Thanks for the heart warming post.

  12. kate says:

    Jens, good granny is like a useful website where the author and the reader communicate and interact just like friends. I mean, care for each other.

    • jens says:

      Hi Kate,

      That’s true. I actually didn’t think about this. But good granny is like a useful website. When we communicate with our readers and interact just like friends, we understand their needs, and we adjust, because we care.

      Thanks a lot for this brilliant comment Kate.


  13. Adoel says:

    Dear Jens!!! your posting is very useful. This posting can made for my inspiration.


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