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.