Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
The Axe

Once upon a time, there were thin man and fat man live in the wood. The thin man name Alex and the fat man name Billy. They are a good friend of each other. Every day, they cut the tree into small pieces and bring the wood to sell in the market. Both of them have very good axe. They both have enough money to buy a food. Billy always mentions with Alex that he wants to win the lotto, so he doesn't need to work in the wood anymore. Alex responds that even though we do not rich but at least we have enough money to buy food and take care of our family. One day, Alex goes to work in the wood as usually but today he goes very deep inside the wood. Alex find the big tree and he start to cut it with his sharp axe. He swings the axe very hard to cut the tree, accidentally the axe drop down into the sworn nearby. He is very sad because he has only one axe and he doesn't have enough money to buy the new good axe. He sits near the sworn and starts to cry very hard. Suddenly, the beautiful angle who take care of the wood appears in front of him.

Angle: Hello! What’s your name? What’s going on with you?

Alex: I lost my axe. I do not have tool to cut the wood anymore. Alex answers the angle.

Angle: Don't worry! I will help you find your axe.

Angle wants to test what’s kind of person Alex is. She gives three choices for Alex to choose. 1) axe that make from real goal 2) chain saw 3) Alex’s axe.

Angle: Alex, I have three axes with me. Which one is yours? The angle asks Alex.

Alex: Alex chooses his own axe.

Angle: Why don't you choose the first two options?

Alex: Those are not mine. They might belong to somebody else and the owners might look for them right now. Also, I cannot use the gold axe to cut the tree because it is too dull and I don't know how to use chain saw. I choose my own axe, so I can use it to work tomorrow.

Angle: You are such a good person. Angle returns the axe to Alex.

After that, angle disappears. Alex goes back home and tell this story to Billy. Billy is so excited with the story. The next day, he goes to that sworn and throws his axe into the sworn. He starts to cry. Again, the angle appears.

Angle: What’s your name and what’ wrong with you?

Billy: I lost my axe that made from gold and chain saw.

The angle gives the gold axe and the chain saw to Billy. Billy is very happy. He brings the gold axe to sell in the market but nobody buy the gold axe from him because nobody needs gold. They all need food to eat. Billy is so disappoint. He then goes back to the wood and use the chain saw to cut the tree but he doesn't know how to use it. He doesn't have food to eat today. He go back to see the angle and ask for his own axe. Angle forgives him and teaches him to be a good person.

Moral: The principles from this fable are that before one designs or chooses the system, one should consider the user’s needs and requirements. One needs to know what the problem, one is solving. Searching for users’ requirements is very important step. The good system is not the perfect one but it needs to respond the users’ needs and help the users fix their problems. In addition, one may have a best tool or best system but the most important thing, one should make sure that users know how to use the system or tool.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

| UM-St. Louis Home Page | College of Business Page | IS Home Page | Analysis Home Page |

Page Owner: Professor Sauter (

© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.