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Cracking Creativity with Tommy Edison

I'm going to take a slightly different tack on this one. It will focus a little more on personal development. So, bear with me.

One of the world's most creative minds kept extensive handwritten notes. Over 3,500 notebooks were discovered after Thomas Edison's death in 1931. Those notebooks contained a litany of ideas, sketches, and observations. Edison used his notebooks continually to cross-pollinate ideas.

Some of Edison's most significant accomplishments were a result of noting his own massive failures. In Edison's own words, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

For most humans, forgetting is a regular occurrence (this guy included!). In today's digital overload world, our minds are bombarded with thousands of stimuli daily. To remember a quick idea can be a daunting task.

If you aren't already, my suggestion to you is to become a voracious note taker! And don't worry, you won't need 3,500 notebooks. It's the process and strategy that's essential.

Start by finding a pen and a small notepad. Make sure both are compact enough to carry along with you daily. For those that want to go digital, I recommend an Evernote Premium subscription.

Moving forward, keep a pen and notepad (or your digital notebook) with you at all times. When you have an idea, please write it down. If you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, write it down.

Michael Michalko, who wrote Cracking Creativity, offers some Edisonian ideas for organizing written notes:

Write your observations down from daily experiences. Observations can include ideas from meetings, information that you've gained through reading, and brainstorming.

Organize your notes thematically into a set group of categories and subjects. This is where Evernote shines, because you can tag, search, and categorize notes.

After you've established a series of notes, go back to glean additional insight into problems you may encounter.

You might be able to solve your problems by modifying or reinterpreting something you previously experienced. Plus, when you have your ideas written down, you don't need to take the time to remember what you forgot.

Source: Michalko, M. (2001). Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius (Revised ed.). Ten Speed Press. pp. 106-107.

If you're disappointed in the above suggestion, I'd ask you to reconsider. The most extraordinary client successes have come as a result of taking notes and cross-pollinating ideas.

If you can integrate the suggestions above into your daily routine, I promise you it will have a massive positive impact on your life and your pocketbook.

A Powerful Key to Great Event Survey Results

Recently, clients have been doing a decent amount of surveying. Their survey types include everything from post-event surveys for 2021 to pre-event surveys for 2022.

Here's something of interest. For all the surveys conducted in previous years, there has been a significant delta in survey completion rates. These rates vary anywhere between 26% to 78%.

There are numerous factors influencing survey response rates. Including, everything from the quality of your list to the relationship an organization has with those being surveyed.

And in case you're wondering, list size is one of the least important factors.

It doesn't matter if your list is big or small. One would think that a small survey list would perform better. Nope! The worst performing client survey in 2020 had a total of 16 people on the list. How so? Nobody completed the survey.

Thankfully, there is a single universal element of survey success. Your key to success with surveys is well thought out process. That means treating your surveys like a marketing campaign.

Even the most straightforward marketing campaigns have clear objectives, a well thought out process, and measurement.

When analyzing poor survey results from the past, the first place I start is getting an overview of the process being used.

In every instance of lackluster results, the lack of a well-defined process was glaring.

Before doing another survey, make sure you have a well thought out process in place.

If you're not sure where to start, look at what others are doing and ethically borrow their ideas! There is no reason to reinvent the “wheel” if someone else has already figured it out.

Want to get more event survey advice? Check out the articles below:



Does funny put money in your account?

This evening (US Time), companies are investing 6.5 million USD for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial, per Come Monday morning, you'll hear a bunch of people pontificate about the "best" or "funniest" Super Bowl commercials. Let us not forget all the "viewer's choice" awards.

It's worth paying attention to all the noise! That said, I'm going to challenge you to dig a little deeper into Super Bowl commercials. At worst, it's an excellent edutainment (educational entertainment) opportunity.

My challenge to you is to cut through all the noise about "best, funniest, viewer's choice, etc."

I admit it, some of the commercials are hilarious and entertaining. But, if funny doesn't put money in your bank account, is it worth $6.5 million USD?

After all the "votes" have been tallied, keep an eye on those companies in the news. A great place to do this is by using the Google Search box, run a search on "Super Bowl commercials", and then select the "News" tab. This allows you to sort all the recent news stories.

In the coming days and weeks, keep an eye on the news stories regarding companies that advertised during the Super Bowl.

The question you need to ask, "did a given Super Bowl commercial drive revenue (or a measurable result) with their advertisement?"

Is the funniest or most entertaining commercial the most profitable?

Did those companies who advertised during the Super Bowl make their money back?

Google News can often provide you with the answers.

If history is any indicator, the most entertaining commercials are rarely the most profitable. Not to say that never happens.

You should keep an eye on what happens. Anyone can be a savvy marketer, by merely asking smart questions. More importantly, a little digging can give you a good indication of what might work in your advertising in the future.

Want to get more advertising and marketing advice for your event? Check out the articles below:

Ted Lasso's curiosity advice for events

After a presentation last week, I was given the feedback of "Eugene gave yet another over-the-top example of success. That seems like what he always does."

Both of the previous sentiments are accurate. With that said, here's a slightly different take.

Instead of touting my accomplishments, I prefer to frame success in the form of client accomplishments. It's a team effort that often involves overcoming numerous challenges.

So yes, I'm proud of what's been accomplished with all parties involved. But, ultimately, the goal is to inspire others and get them to realize similar outcomes, regardless of their current circumstance. Hence, presenting before and after case studies.

For context, the over-the-top example referenced above was an event that increased their first-day ticket sales by over three hundred thousand percent. As they say, "results not typical!" And it only took six years and a lot of "kicking and screaming" to realize that increase.

Regardless of event niche, judgment and jealousy seem to be the default frames of a significant number of people.

And for all the success stories and presentations, a minuscule number of people have ever asked, "can you please tell me how was that accomplished?"

So instead of focusing on the negative, let's try something positive ...

If you're looking for a great television series, may I suggest Ted Lasso. The series is about an American football coach who travels "across the pond" to coach a Premier League team. A great quote is referenced during an episode in season one.

During the episode, Ted is in the middle of a competitive game with a seemingly superior opponent.

As Ted says, "Be curious, not judgmental." And "if they (people) were curious, they would have asked questions." It's simple and sage advice.

Some of the most significant client accomplishments have come from curiosity. Specifically, digging into other events and businesses to determine, "how did they do that?" or "how does that work?"

Fortunately, in almost every instance where I personally reached out, event organizers and business owners were more than generous in sharing their challenges and discoveries. Moreover, many shared findings form the foundational elements for highly successful client campaigns.

If you and your team aren't actively out there looking for new insights and challenging current assumptions, never forget to "Be curious, not judgemental." Ask a lot of questions because the dividends are extraordinary!

Want to get more info on event surveys? Check out the articles below:

To wrangle event trolls or not?

Last weekend, I attended a series of online presentations with outdoor event organizers from the Northeastern United States. The topics discussed ranged from ticket pricing to profitable event models during the pandemic.

At one point, I glommed on to a brief point about online trolls made by KW.

If you're unfamiliar with the term troll, specifically "Internet troll," here's a definition from

"An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion."

Short version, trolls are people who stir up trouble online without good reason or facts. And trolls regularly infest social media because of their near-instantaneous ability to respond.

During his presentation, KW had mentioned a series of approximately 50 Internet Trolls disparaging his team and their event. Smartly, KW noted every troll and searched the event's customer records.

Of the 50 "loudest" trolls in question, one purchased a ticket to KW's event. One!

The above example is an essential reminder of "check-em!" when they balk. The biggest reason to look up trolls quickly is so don't want to waste your time, energy, or effort with people who don't support (and will never support) your event.

Don't give trolls the energy they don't

Looking for more event feedback advice? Check out the articles below: