There are some random thoughts and memories playing pachinko inside my head while I’m writing this post. Are they disconnected electrical pulses or an unfolding route to somewhere specific? Let me try to connect the dots for you.
Miami Beach Senior High School, 1974, Gary Glick’s 11th Grade Honors English Class.
“Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Also called the biogenetic law and embryological parallelism. Or, the life of the species imitates the life of the individual. In biology, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny refers to the developing embryo’s path tracing all of human evolution. The blastula looks like a fish, then a monkey, then a person. Sociologically, it illustrates how human societies mirror human development — a human being starts life as an infant, grows to adolescence, becomes a young adult, enters middle age, and eventually becomes elderly and dies. Human societies do the same thing.”
University of Florida, 1977, the late Peter Appledorf, PhD. Food Science (fondly referred to by his students as The Meat We Eat With Doctor Pete).
“Why is it that a thing looks like a pile of things? Why does a pile of things look like piles of things? For example, a grain of sand looks like a rock. A rock looks like a pile of rocks. A pile of rocks looks like a mountain.”
House shopping, Miami Beach, 1986.
Gloria and I stopped looking directly at the house we were ready to make an offer on and looked up instead. We finally noticed the looming hospital building that cast a dark shadow over the lovely cottage we were considering and decided not to buy. “Things happen for a reason,” my wife said. We wound up staying in South Miami.
University of Miami, Wellness Center, tricep machine, somewhere between reps 8 and 12. David Halpern.
“People know I work out a lot so they ask me, ‘what’s the best exercise for me to do?’ I tell them, ‘Whatever exercise you WILL do.’”
Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, by Ian Stewart, pg. 141.
“The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does.”
Schoolhouse Road, ±100 yards south of Davis Road, 5:58 a.m. mile seven of an eight-mile run. David Altshuler.
“When you train for a marathon it doesn’t really matter what you do on today’s run or tomorrow’s run. What matters is what you do across the year, the full 365 days. The training IS the marathon.”
Wayne Huizenga Graduate School of Business, Nova Southeastern University, Davie, Florida, Dean’s boardroom.
Seth Werner, gives me a copy of Dov Seidman’s book, How. Great book, the reoccurring theme and takeaway of which is: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Are these just random moments in time or a connected thread of wisdom? The name Chaos Theory comes from the observation that the systems the theory describes appear disordered but there is actually an underlying order in such apparently random data. Still, despite that connection the components’ deterministic natures do not predict the outcome of the interactions.
Some people believe things happen for a reason. Some people believe in coincidences. Some people don’t believe in anything. Some people don’t even think about it. But as brand marketers, it’s our job to understand the way people think, or more importantly — the way they feel — about their lives and the things that make their lives better.
Robert Cumberford, Design Editor, Automobile Magazine, May 1999, Saint-Genies, France, writing about the original Volvo V8 1800.
“We designers are farsighted people. That’s our job. We are supposed to see things before others do and act on our visions. Sometimes those actions give splendid results, sometimes they’re just too far in advance of practical realities.”
Good creative people are sponges. We’re constantly absorbing input from all sources — art, literature, music, conversations, news, philosophy, travel, wherever — just like a sponge soaks up the random hues on a watercolorist’s palette. Then, when it’s time to solve a problem, we squeeze the sponge and a new color squishes out. It’s made up of all the input we’ve absorbed but doesn’t look anything like what’s come before.
Others look at the result and say either, “Wow, how did you ever think of that?” or “I could have thought of that.” But either way, if we’ve done our job correctly, the result is both a new and viable solution to our clients’ problems.
It’s certainly not as easy as “I saw a bird and invented the airplane” but inspiration and ideas do come from everywhere. So reading the self-help bestseller “Younger Next Year” inspired a campaign that improved sales for Avatar’s retirement communities by 62% and created a whole new business and the idea for a new reality show.
Cumberford said, “A creative person’s essence is to take what is common and make it new and to take what is new and make it common.” The inspiration to do that comes from everywhere. Because how you do anything IS how you do everything.
A while back I got into my car, flicked on the radio and realized that there just wasn’t anything for me to listen to. It seems that all of the stations were programming their music for — oh, it pains me to say it — much younger audiences. We Baby Boomers were once defined by radio, but have we become irrelevant to the broadcast industry?
Flash forward — there’s an app for that, a free iPhone app called, appropriately enough, Boomer Radio. It was created by a couple of Boomers who decided that their generation needed a single place to go for the music that we grew up with (oldies and rock & roll), plus the genres we’ve embraced as adults (smooth jazz, acoustic rock, etc.).
The Boomer Radio folks believe that other media outlets don’t appreciate that there are more than 80 million of us Baby Boomers and that we control more than three-quarters of all wealth in the U.S. And what Boomer Radio also knows, but no other media outlet seems to understand, is that over the next 10 years, Baby Boomers will inherit more than 8.4 trillion dollars, the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.
That breaks down to $300,000 each for 70% of all Boomers, 10% of who will inherit more than a million and a half dollars. And when you consider that this is an audience that has the lowest savings rates in history, it begs the obvious questions: Will Boomers see their windfall as a second chance and squirrel the money away? Will they use the cash to pay off their debts and start clean? Or will they see the new income as an unexpected gift and continue with their profligate ways? Only time will tell.
But with all due respect to the economists and legislators who are spending a lot of time sussing this out, I believe it truly doesn’t matter. Because regardless of what Boomers decide to do with their money as a cohort, there’s going to be an awful lot of cash flying around. And than means opportunities.
Boomer Radio is busy figuring out how to be the go-to media source for these newly flush Boomers looking for the music they grew up with. Chris Crowley and the Younger Next Year book series folks are working hard to be the go-to information and inspiration source for Boomers who aren’t willing to go gently into the good night. Olay is creating skin care products and messaging for Boomers who are not willing to “age gracefully.”
Apple has added a setting to their iPhone to increase text size for Boomer’s failing eyes (Interested? You can find it at Setting > General > Accessibility > Large Text. You’re welcome). Ford has designed a new Taurus with SUV-like seat heights for Boomers who have trouble fitting themselves into low-slung cars but don’t want to buy trucks. And hearing aid manufacturers are designing devices that look like Bluetooth earpieces for hard-of-hearing Boomers who are too vain to accept traditional looking equipment.
BRP has created the three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder Roadster for consumers who want their open air motorcycling served up with a little more stability. Porsche has created the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan for drivers who want their performance with a side order of comfort. And even Ferrari has thrown their Borsalino hat into the Boomer-accommodation ring, releasing their first-ever station wagon, the FF (no, really!).
The Baby Boom is really going to explode as the largest, most narcissistic population ever finds itself suddenly flush with cash and continues on its self-centered journey for self-expression and hedonistic experiences. And companies all over the world, from real estate developers to restaurants to cruise lines to banks and investment houses are going to trip all over themselves trying to service this free-spending audience.
For best practices tomorrow, they should upload the Boomer Radio app today. Besides listening to some of the greatest music ever created, they can keep an eye on how the media company is positioning themselves because Boomer Radio has seen the future and it is us.
When my wife was a little girl, her mother passed away and she went to live with her abuela (grandmother in Spanish).
Nearly 30 years later, Gloria got to return the favor when Abuela could no longer live independently and came to live in our house. While Abuela was with us, her sister Chelo (pronounced just like the stringed instrument – cello) came from Cuba to visit.
Chelo was overwhelmed by our American lifestyle. She marveled at the choices abundance provided us – abundance of food in the grocery store; abundance of clothes in the mall; abundance of books and TV shows; abundance of freedom.
When we’d ask about something in Cuba, her answer was always the same, “no es fácil.” (It’s not easy).
Unlike Chelo, we mostly take our abundance, and the ease it affords us, for granted. But just this weekend I was with Chris Crowley and his talented portraitist wife, Hilary Cooper. Crowley most certainly does not take our abundance for granted. In fact, he has created the antidote for our modern condition. You see, Crowley is the co-author of the life-changing book Younger Next Year (you can click on the links to order different versions for men and women).
The book is written for 50- and 60-year olds who want to get in shape and stay that way well into their 80s and 90s. Michael Earley, CEO of MetCare, gave me Crowley’s book a year ago and I’ve already read the book twice and hung on every word.
According to Crowley, and his writing partner Dr. Harry Lodge, much of the modern abundance that Chelo marveled at is at the root of our aging problems:
• A constant cornucopia of fast food makes us fat.
• Abundant transportation and laborsaving devices makes us soft.
• Too many choices in the stores make us poor.
• Too much entertainment isolates us and makes us lonely.
All very, very different conditions than the harsh, pre-technology world that evolution had spent millions of years equipping our bodies to deal with. As Chelo would say, “no es fácil.”
But the authors have a solution. They write about Harry’s seven rules – which I’ve taken the liberty editing down even further to four essential life laws:
1. Exercise hard six days a week.
2. Don’t eat crap.
3. Don’t spend more than you earn.
4. Care (about others).
According to the authors, following these rules is the key to a happy, healthy and hearty life. Of course you can walk across the street and get hit by a bus no matter what shape you’re in, but forgoing unforeseen accidents, following Crowley and Lodge’s suggestions can make an enormous difference in the length and quality of your life now and well into the future.
Unfortunately, Abuela and Chelo are no longer around to take Crowley’s advice. If they were, maybe Chelo would exclaim, “es fácil” (it’s easy) for once.
I hope you’ll consider reading their book and listening to what Crowley and Lodge have to say. The cost of ignoring their advice is much too high. And if you’ve already read their book, please let me, and all the readers of this blog, know your experiences.
My to do list is about as long as my arm – people to call, people to call back, clients’ jobs to work on, appointments to schedule, blog posts to write, tweets to post, emails to return and books to read.
Hey, I’m reading just as fast as I can but the night table is still sagging under my growing pile of books.
Thanks to Things, the computerized to do list program, most everything I need to do is neatly cataloged and updated right on my screen. And because the list automatically syncs with my iPhone, the list is always in my pocket, silently screaming out how much there is to be done.
With so much to do, and everything so well organized, why is it that I’m never sure of what I should be doing next? Especially when my favorite business books tell me EXACTLY what to do:
Or maybe I should stop reading so much. Not only will that give me more time to get my work done but imagine how much shorter my to do list will be without all those recommended book titles cluttering it up.