#785 WD-Optimizing40

Squirt a Little on Your Challenges Today?

A couple +1s ago, we hung out with a world-class Ferrari pit stop crew and took a moment to celebrate all the people in OUR pit stop crews while committing to stepping up our pit crew games for those we’re blessed to serve.

Today I want to talk about WD-40.

I’ve actually been meaning to talk about it for awhile and Today seems like a good day.

Of course, I have no idea if pit stop crews use WD-40 (I’m pretty sure the Ferrari guys don’t—lol) but it seems like a good opportunity to slip in a fun story so here we are.


For those who may not be familiar with the super-lubricating product, Wikipedia tells us that “WD-40 is the trademark name of a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray. The spray is manufactured by the WD-40 Company based in San Diego, California.”

But that’s not the point of Today’s +1.

I want to talk about the origin story for WD-40.

Pop quiz: Do you know how they came up with that name?

Well, on the company’s web site they tell us: “WD-40® literally stands for Water Displacement, 40th formula. That’s the name straight out of the lab book used by the chemist who developed the product back in 1953. The chemist, Norm Larsen, was attempting to concoct a formula to prevent corrosion—a task which is done by displacing water.

That’s a nice way to say that our chemist friend Norm Larsen failed 39 times trying to figure out how to create a solvent to prevent corrosion but then finally figured it out. On attempt #40.

And then they figured out thousands of ways to apply his new solvent to everyday challenges.

I kinda like that arc.

Dozens of failures. Oops.

Figured it out. Awesome.

Then figured out how to scale the new discovery to solve a ton of other challenges. Even more awesome.

Skipping any more unpaid product promotion (lol)…

Today’s +1.

Have you ever failed over and over and over again before finally succeeding? (Of course you have. Let’s celebrate that!!)

And… Are you, perhaps, in the middle of another series of experiments to figure out how to master something? (I hope so, heroic one!)

Let’s squirt a little WD-Optimizing40 on our challenges and get back to work in the laboratories of our lives as we get a little closer to a fun breakthrough origin story! 🤠

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