Eclectic Curiosity

Pow! Right Between the Eyes

Posted on February 23rd, 2009, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Miscellany. No Comments

Back in the autumn of 2006 I offered some guy named Andy my two cents on blogging and then gave him a nudge and introduced him to readers here.

A couple of years and hundreds of insightful/witty/bizarre posts later he’s got a big fancy business book and is on his way to becoming a best-selling author. Pow!

The guy is Andy Nulman, former president of Just for Laughs, current boss at Airborne Mobile, snazzy dressy, random shouter, and devout user of the Comic Sans font in emails. And the book, just out, and with forewords by comedians John Cleese and Craig Ferguson, is Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise. It’s an overdue title and he’s just the showman to write it.

Pow! is about how business “is in desperate need of new ways to inspire bored and cynical consumers who have grown weary of the same old song and dance. In today’s information economy, it doesn’t matter how many people you reach, but how much attention they pay. And the best way to get attention is with the powerful, but largely misunderstood, element of surprise.”

I personally find surprise to be an especially relevant element for Creative Generalists. Firstly, as I learned back in my days running general-interest magazine Maisonneuve, is that curious people, almost by definition, take an active interest in seeking out that which is new, novel, peripheral – surprising. Surprises in the generalist realm can come from anywhere, which is exactly the rush. But also, secondly, Creative Generalists are particularly apt to discover, design, and cleverly present surprises for much the same reason. We mine the fringes and blend the fragments, often with surprising results.

Surprise is a pretty deep and nuanced subject, which Andy explores and ponders thoroughly – beyond just the in-your-face cliches – in Pow!. It’s one of those biz book that captures an important yet underrated marketing idea and deservedly, finally, and yes, surprisingly brings it to the fore. Check it out.

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