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What’s Next? (Not What I thought)

April 15, 2014

Bruce’s facebook post seemed simple enough. It was a pattern puzzle. Bruce is a friend from high school and absolutely brilliant, so I enjoyed the prospect of challenging myself on a puzzle he created.

Given the following sequence, what comes next???

Stop reading now if you want to try to figure it out yourself. I’ll wait.

. . .

. . .

Did you find the pattern? Post your solution in the comments. Here’s what I came up with


My thinking went like this:

Primary colors

Primary color with “opposite” secondary color
Blue –
Green – combine primary color above and primary not below
Red –
Purple – combine primary above (red) and not primary below (yellow, assumed since it’s the one not yet listed.)

In addition I assumed that after purple would be yellow, the next primary color and then orange, the third secondary color. After orange I assumed he would go back to blue and possibly go to tertiary colors, but I wasn’t sure I could keep the pattern straight.


The correct answer?


That really threw me. I went back over my logic, and couldn’t find anyway that blue would be next. Finally, I admitted I was stumped and asked Bruce for the logic behind an answer of blue.

Here‘s where he pointed me.


Google’s 1997 logo.

Sometimes I tend to overthink things. . .by a lot.

Here’s the business tie-in. We make assumptions everyday. I’m in the middle of a very big, very stressful project at work. We are working to launch a service for a very important client. The client wants us to run everything past them. We are defining what programs phone agents will have on their desktop. The client wants to approve every.single.program.

More than once we have assumed that we knew what they wanted, or knew what they would approve. And when we check with them, we discover their answer is “blue.” Not, purple followed by yellow and then probably orange. No, just blue.

And to us, to me, it sometimes makes no sense. Why blue? Why do it this way when I think I’ve figured out a way that makes sense, that follows a pattern, that is logical?

Because the customer can see the Google logo from last century and they are basing their requirements on criteria that I don’t even understand exist.

Definitely illustrates why it makes sense to ask about everything. . .and sometimes Google the answer.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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