We’ve used the well-known saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” a few times here at Wialus to demonstrate the power of our enterprise SaaS product wiVolo’s unified views.
It usefully describes how easy it is for a network operator to observe and comprehend what’s happening in their mobile or fixed network, using our product.
We thought it might be an interesting diversion to explore the saying's origins.
The Interweb, as TV sensation Richard Rawlings calls it, provides a range of theories and we’ve found it rather amusing looking into those (during coffee breaks, of course).
Wikipedia starts out by describing it as an English idiom, proposing “the notion that a complex idea can be more effectively conveyed with just a single still image”.
Factual, perhaps, but we think that’s maybe a little boring.
Another suggestion is that Confucius might well lay claim to it, which is somewhat more interesting, especially considering he used a multiplier and got to "10,000 words". We like that.
Our favourite explanation
Perhaps the most entertaining suggestion of all - was that it was 'invented' in the early 1900s and subsequently perpetuated by an advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard, to promote the use of images in advertisements.
Evidently, Fred strategically demonstrated 'the power of the image' in his own ad.
The story suggests Fred later cunningly rebranded it a Chinese proverb so “people would take it seriously” and then, apparently, he threw in some Chinese characters for effect.... or something along those lines. (No warranties offered or implied).
It’d be both humorous and strangely concerning if it turns out Fred made it up. One way or another, it’s a great saying and a common truth.
Almost as slick as the guys at Gas Monkey Garage, whose marketing embraces the concept on so many levels, you have to admit, no matter your taste in TV shows.
And with that random story… back to work everyone.
Image © Gas Monkey Garage and © Richard Rawlings, borrowed from the ‘Interweb’, with respect.