Ron Tite at UW

Mar 04 2011

Ron Tite’s talk last Tuesday was both educational and entertaining. Some key points he made were about how organizations work, the power each individual has in a digital society, and whole brain thinking.

Organizations are People Driven

Decisions within organizations are made on an individual level. Each day, hundreds of decisions are made. The successful organizations adapt and evolve. He gave examples using the most popular brands, of these brands:

  • IBM no longer sells computers
  • Microsoft is now focused on cloud computing and cloud services
  • McDonald now sells salads

Google is relatively new on the list. The people driven organizations are able to evolve, rather than sticking to the status quo and maintaining the bottom line.

Digital Requires Perfection

Because machines do exactly what they are programmed to do, humans must become more machine like in a digital world. No transaction (searching on Google, commenting on Facebook, sending an email) happens without being recorded forever. He told a story from personal experience. He lost his luggage when he got off the plane with Air Canada, so he posted on facebook and Twitter about it. After several phone calls to ask for the luggage and more posts, he gets 415 people on facebook saying, “Give Ron Tite His Bag Back“.  The story ended with the CEO of Air Canada sending a replacement (gift) bag for what he might have carried, a few minutes after getting his own bag back.

Brands Last, Technology Changes

According to him, the funniest line in stand-up comedy is in There’s Something About Mary.

Hitchhiker: You heard of this thing, the 8-Minute Abs?
Ted: Yeah, sure, 8-Minute Abs. Yeah, the excercise video.
Hitchhiker: Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water. Listen to this: 7… Minute… Abs.
Ted: Right. Yes. OK, all right. I see where you’re going.
Hitchhiker: Think about it. You walk into a video store, you see 8-Minute Abs sittin’ there, there’s 7-Minute Abs right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick, man?
Ted: I would go for the 7.
Hitchhiker: Bingo, man, bingo. 7-Minute Abs. And we guarantee just as good a workout as the 8-minute folk.
Ted: You guarantee it? That’s – how do you do that?
Hitchhiker: If you’re not happy with the first 7 minutes, we’re gonna send you the extra minute free. You see? That’s it. That’s our motto. That’s where we’re comin’ from. That’s from “A” to “B”.
Ted: That’s right. That’s – that’s good. That’s good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with 6-Minute Abs. Then you’re in trouble, huh?
[Hitchhiker convulses]
Hitchhiker: No! No, no, not 6! I said 7. Nobody’s comin’ up with 6. Who works out in 6 minutes? You won’t even get your heart goin, not even a mouse on a wheel.
Ted: That – good point.
Hitchhiker: 7’s the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that’s the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin’ on a branch, eatin’ lots of sunflowers on my uncle’s ranch. You know that old children’s tale from the sea. It’s like you’re dreamin’ about Gorgonzola cheese when it’s clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office.
Ted: Why?
Hitchhiker: ‘Cause you’re fuckin’ fired!

So the Brick advertises blowout prices just after Boxing Day. Poor advertising consistent with worthless furniture. Successful advertising is in alignment with core values. He mentions being genuine among other ones, which seems to be a message from the same movie.

When New Coke came out, people took it for an poser.  Old Coke with the new formula is actually what is now on the market. He mentions paying tax for firefighting and some hesitation about actually getting rescued by a firefighter due to connotations with being womanly. In the end, what’s real and what’s not is vague. It just depends on what works. Organizations adapt to it.

He definitely had some points to make, as he did bring his notes. Overall, the talk was crazy. I mean it felt like taking a tour of a 3-year old’s playroom, but that craziness amounts to a lot of laughs.

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