Delta: The Complexity of Simplicity

Delta ad
This ad appeared in the October 11, 2015, issue of the New York Times Magazine

“Hi…are you Shaun?”

“Yes—you must be Beth. Please, come in and have a seat.”

“Thanks. It’s nice to finally meet you in person, Shaun. We really appreciate you agreeing to do this ad.”

“No problem. I’m excited about it!”

“It’s going to be part of a whole series we’re putting together, with each ad featuring a different Delta employee.”

“It’s a cool idea.”

“So, first we’re going to bring up a photographer to take a few different shots of you working at your desk.”


“So…is this your desk?”

“What do you mean? Of course it is!”

“Oh. I guess you forgot your computer at home today?”


“Is the IT department fixing it, or…”

“Beth, I don’t have a computer.”

“You don’t have a computer?”

“That’s right.”

“Oh. That’s kind of unusual, isn’t?”

“It is.”

“Doesn’t that make it hard to, you know, get your job done?”

“It’s exactly the opposite.”


“Beth, I want to let you in on a secret. Ever since I got rid of my computer, my life has been transformed.”


“For one thing, I’m happier. Instead of writing emails all day, I talk to people. When I need to reach someone, I walk over to their desk. I’ve lost six pounds, and I’ve made friends all over the building.”

“Well, that’s great. Good for you. Anyway, I was thinking—”

“I’m also a better worker. No more distractions—no more checking Twitter and online shopping. I leave work at 5 every day, and I’m still outperforming the other product managers. In fact, I was just promoted! I’m able to spend more time with my family and still have the career I always wanted.”

“Wow. I have to say, you are really selling me on this no-computer thing!”

“It’s easier than you think, Beth.”

“Sure it is.”

“No, really. All you have to do is turn in your computer to the IT department. I’m actually going by there this afternoon anyway–I’ll pick up your computer on the way and turn it in for you.

“Ha ha. Maybe! Anyway, back to the ad…”

“Just give it a try. One week. And if your life hasn’t changed completely—”

“Wait a…are you trying to steal my computer? Because I just read an article in the Delta employee newsletter warning me to watch out for people like you.”

“What? I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

“I’m getting the hell out of here.”

“Beth, wait!”

“Damn. I was close that time.”

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