The Show

The Esquilax! A horse with a head of a rabbit and the body of a rabbit

Freddy the magician walks onto the stage. With a quick glance, he scans the room and stops on one person. This victim subject with big round eyes is convincing enough for us to know he is not part of the act, a complete stranger. The magician asks him to think of a card, almost immediately interrupts and says: King of diamonds. The subject is awed, "How did you know?" Applause and the magician walks out of the room.

You and I both know that this is not how magic works. Magic is glamorous. It's the prestige. Even with a street magician, you are caught not only by the trick but by the slick maneuver of the hands. This scenario I described earlier has none of that. It is impressive, but not remarkable.

Remarkable: Worth making a remark about.

If the next act following Freddy was, let us say, a juggling monkey, then I can guaranty the next time I say "Freddy" you will think of an old acquaintance you had back in High school. Not our magician friend who practiced so hard on his craft, only to be forgotten seconds later.

Freddy who?

Real magicians know that the trick is the least important part of the trick. At the heart of this experience that turns little boys into apprentices and little girls into their faithful secret-keepers there is a more dramatic phenomenon happening. A show.

The method is not the trick — Jamy Ian Swiss

If you watched the video above, Jamy Ian Swiss performs a magic trick, shows you how it is done, then still fools you with the same trick. It is not about the trick.

Nobody thinks that magicians will work this hard to fool you.

This philosophy works well for magicians but it can be applied to any other field:

How many of you went to a chiropractor? Why doesn't the chiropractor make you take off your shirt?
Because If they make you take off your shirt, and they were wearing a white smock and their hands touched your skin, you would get better faster. [But] then you walk in: "Don't bother taking off your suit, jacket, your tuxedo, doesn't matter." They just go (pluck!) and you can leave. You know that's showing off, but it's not touching human beings in a way we know makes human beings feel better.

Seth Godin — Start up school

Human beings like stories. There were no stories when I went to the doctor and a chiropractor to fix my back. But I went to an acupuncturist, I felt like they had not only fixed my back, but fixed any problems I will have in the future (at the time). After the show, I even went online and signed a Whitehouse petition to recognize acupuncturist as healthcare providers.

Why is there a keynote for every product Apple reveals? We don't learn anything in there that can't be summarized in specs and hero images on their websites. But the glamor of the wide dark room, the cheers from the crowd, Jony Ives. I bet these things are rehearsed as much as Criss Angel rehearses his magic show. There is no iPhone without The Steve Jobs Show.

Every company has a keynote these days. Not because they create breathtaking products every year but because it is the only excuse to hire make up artists, hire writers, and tell a story. This is their opportunity to make a show of their product.

Like many people my age, I watch Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) tech reviews on YouTube. To tell you the truth, I don't think I will ever buy a product based on his recommendation. I just enjoy the show.

The same goes for many software trainers on YouTube. I watch those that can turn a simple tutorials into an entertaining show. A good example is Andrew Price, my number one source for Blender related tutorials. I learned more about the blender 3d experience with him than How to make a realistic towel in blender.

Making show is very important indeed, but it also has to come with a good story. The game industry has mastered the show off, but they neglected the story part. A good example is Call of Duty: Advanced warfare. I bought the game because of the fantastic trailers. The first few hours I was playing it, I was looking at the skin pores, the realistic wobbling jaw when the characters spoke, the eyes. I could see all the complex things going on the screen.

Two month later, I have no idea what the game is about (no story). It is collecting dust and I have no intention of playing it again. Call of Duty is JavaScript in 1999.

When you pick anything that is successful today, you will see that it is not arbitrarily made. It was presented to you through a beautiful story you can relate to. To name a few:

Now when you present your idea, your product, your service to the world, how do you go about it? Do you pull a Freddy? or a Jamy?


There are no comments added yet.

Let's hear your thoughts

For my eyes only