Yesterday, exactly 96 years after she sank, it was revealed that the people who built the Titanic had used cheap iron rivets where — as fate would have it — the notorious iceberg hit.
The real tragedy is that all of this could have been avoided. (Imagine that, Kate and Leo fans! Your two love birds could have lived happily ever after.)
Harlan and Wolff, the shipbuilder that continues to deny that their choice of rivets was to blame for Titanic, must have known better — and, in fact, it seems they did. While their competitors relied exclusively on steel rivets for a ship’s bow, stern and hull, Harlan and Wolff used low-grade iron rivets for the bow and stern of their ships.
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, they were building the three largest ships in the world — Britannic, Olympic, and Titanic — at the same time! But when a relatively common iceberg gouged Titanic’s bow, Harlan and Wolff’s riveting scheme proved disastrous.
Jennifer Hooper McCarthy, co-author of a new book on Titanic, exposes the pre-launch jitters:
“The board was in crisis mode … It was constant stress. Every meeting it was, ‘There’s problems with the rivets and we need to hire more people.’ ”
But before we judge Harlan and Wolff for cutting costs, or The White Star Line for apparently financing Titanic on the cheap, we should ask ourselves: Has the conventional wisdom really changed in the past 96 years?
Each day, CMO’s and small business owners are forced to make decisions that cause dangerous leaks in the websites they manage. Maybe they didn’t have enough time or budget to make sure it was built right. Maybe they compromised. Maybe they decided not to hire a good copywriter. Maybe they paid an agency to plan, build and write the entire website for them, just because a one-stop-shop scenario seemed easier to explain to the board. And when the site launched without sinking, it was considered a success because it was built with cafes, squash courts, a swimming pool, Turkish baths, a barbershop, three libraries and cheap iron rivets.
With that mentality, is it any wonder why — year after year — the average conversion rate is between 2-3%?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If your web strategy is more focused on bells and whistles than nuts and bolts (or rivets), maybe it’s time to stop shuffling the deck chairs.
Already launched? FutureNow can help you test the rivets on your site.