I saw my niece in a production of Sondheim‘s “Into The Woods” over the weekend. It’s the same show my eldest daughter was in 10 years ago. Both productions were terrific but different enough to show how one can take the same general concept and insert your own vision to transform it.
Into the Woods (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
One thing wasn’t different, however: the music. The score is wonderful and contains, in my opinion, some of Sondheim’s best work, and the plot is a mash-up of several fairy tales such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk.
So here I am well after I’ve left the theater and I can’t get the songs out of my head. My musical tastes are definitely NOT Broadway score focused and yet these are the only tunes popping into my brain several days later. Which of course is the point.
We should all be trying to create things that consumers and business partners can’t get out of their heads, whether it’s a game that people can’t stop playing, a show that creates massive sharing and grows organically, or a book that readers can’t put down. We’ve all seen lines for new movies but what about the lines where people are going back to see the film several times? How many people are on their third or fourth iPhone? Lots of people post about their obsessions – it’s practically a default category on Pinterest. How much is what you’ve created there?
The Electric Light Orchestra had a hit with the song “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head“. Keep that in your head as you work today – like Sondheim, create something that burrows into people’s brains!
Midnight on the water
I saw the ocean’s daughter
Walking on a wave’s chicane she came
Staring as she called my name
And I can’t get it out of my head
No, I can’t get it out of my head…
One of the nice things about writing the daily screed is that sometimes I get asked to read new books and offer my thoughts about them. I received a copy of a book called “Creative Thinkering” by Michael Michalko, who has written another book – Thinkertoys – which has been listed as one of the “100 Best Business Books” of all times and which I enjoyed.
Since looking at business from a different perspective is one of the things we often discuss here, I thought you might find what he has to say of interest. Here are a few points he makes in the book for your consideration: Continue reading
This will come as a shock to those of you who know me pretty well. I took Studio Art when I was in college. That’s right – the guy whose handwriting is indecipherable (no Catholic school education here, kids) tried to make pretty pictures (and failed miserably although I passed the course).
The reason I bring this up is that I did something way out of my comfort zone that actually helped me later in my business life (although who knew at the time). No, not because I could do a great job on the white-board (my diagrams are awful and that’s being generous). It helped because I got a look over the fence at real artists and here’s how it helped. Continue reading
One of my favorite books is “A Whack on the Side of the Head.” It’s hard to believe that it’s 25 years old since the thought process it encourages is timeless. I particularly like the notion of the second right answer.
Roger von Oech, the author, spends a good deal of time in the book disabusing the reader of everything we all learned in school about right answers. His point is that while there may be a right answer in math class, there rarely is a single right answer in life. The rest of the book features techniques to help you think a little differently and not to take the easy way out by thinking the “safe” answer is the only right one. Click to keep reading