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Goats and Break dancers: Five Memories from FEI 15: Memory One

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~ by Aaron Keller

What do a goat and a break dancer have in common? Answer: Dustin Garis.    

Dustin Garis spoke to us about the pursuit of a memorable life and extracting some LifeProfit from our most valuable resource, time. He was, as you might expect, the inspiration for this series. Having seen the beginning of his Ted talk, embedded below, my twitchy nature had me getting up to leave. Just as the exit neared, he threw out a phrase and like a spear to my chest, my exit was now improbable and unthinkable. 

"Life is not the number of days you live, its the number of days you remember." Quoted from a Russian scientist he met named Pasha. 

Having started a 15 year old design firm, the block is something I've been around plenty and this is an unspoken truth I had not heard. This seldom happens, which is a symptom of age, the more you've heard the less everything seems new. And, my explorations around this subject matter for our next book "The Physics of Brand" has heightened my interest. Then, having returned to the monotonous routine Dustin speaks of, this article crosses the glowing rectangular box in front of me, Richard Branson is Right: Time is the new money written by Chuck Blakeman on how time has become more valuable than compensation. 

Time is becoming more important. Remembering is essential to time. "Hearing something 1,000 times is much less impactful than experiencing it once" Dustin. We are having fewer and fewer novel experiences. We do 90% of the same thing each day and 50% of that time is our life is on cognitive autopilot. Driving to work, even when you're not supposed to be driving to work. "Millennials would rather buy experiences than stuff (80%), what does that mean for companies that buy stuff?"

We are more acutely aware of our time on the planet. We are living less memorable lives. We have removed the drama and the result is vanilla ice cream (no insult to those who love vanilla ice cream). As brand owners, we don't want to rock the boat and have a controversial brand personality. As people, we don't want to be socially inappropriate or get shunned by our social circles. Most of the population is becoming risk averse. So, when a guy shows up on a Ted stage with a goat, it is memorable. And, when the people who take real dramatic leaps, it is memorable. If you're becoming socially "vanilla ice cream" then you're just making the people who are more "rocky road" interesting to the rest of us.

Consider this when you're making brand decisions, what are the real risks? What are the perceived risks and how dramatic are they really? How will you be memorable? More important, how will you help your customers live more memorable lives? 

And, then he dropped this one and of course we're all grateful that this is true, but how many of us will really climb Mt Everest? Perhaps metaphorically.

"You are more likely to climb Mt Everest than click on a banner ad"

Thank you Dustin for "Saving the day from being forgotten."

And, if you missed Front End of Innovation this year, Dustin started his speech off by sending up a break dancer, as if it was him. It certainly broke the monotony of the moment.

See you at FEI '16 

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

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FEI USA: Front End of Innovation

08 - 10 Dec 2020, Boston, MA
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