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« Marketing to seniors (open and closed) | Main | Memo to the very small »

I'd ignore him too

I got more mail about this story in the Washington Post than any other non-blog topic ever. I saw it when it first came out, but didn't blog it because I thought the lesson was pretty obvious to my readers. [World-class violinist plays for hours in a subway station, almost no one stops to listen]. The experiment just proved what we already know about context, permission and worldview. If your worldview is that music in the subway isn't worth your time, you're not going to notice when the music is better than usual (or when a famous violinist is playing). It doesn't match the story you tell yourself, so you ignore it. Without permission to get through to you, the marketer/violinist is invisible.

But why all the mail? (And the Post got plenty too). Answer: I think it's because people realized that if they had been there, they would have done the same thing. And it bothers us.

It bothers us that we're so overwhelmed by the din of our lives that we've created a worldview that requires us to ignore the outside world, most of the time, even when we suffer because of it. It made me feel a little smaller, knowing that something so beautiful was ignored because the marketers among us have created so much noise and so little trust.

I don't think the answer is to yell louder. Instead, I think we have an opportunity to create beauty and genius and insight and offer it in ways that train people to maybe, just maybe, loosen up those worldviews and begin the trust.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference I'd ignore him too:

» Can You Sell Without Intervention? from Net Frontier Marketing
What would happen if a world class violinist, playing on a 3.5 million dollar instrument, interpreted some of the most timeless and beautiful music ever composed in a big city metro station? People would take notice of it right? The incredible quality ... [Read More]

» For Whom The Bell from POSIWID
And therefore never send to know for whom the busker plays, he plays for you. [Read More]

» Does Design Matter? from CleverThink
There was a fascinating article in the Washington Post today about a social experiment: take one of the best violinists in the world and have him play out of context - in this case, as a street performer in a DC Metro stop. [Read More]

» *Forget internships. Be a busker.* from texturl
A few days ago, the Washington Post did something pretty interesting. They had a world famous concert violinist, Joshua Bell, perform in a DC Metro station to see 1) if people would pay attention and 2) if people would give him money. I dont wan... [Read More]

» Bell Shines in the Subway from bethsblog
Seth Goden's post this morning refers to a story about a recent incognito performance by Joshua Bell in a Washington D.C. subway station. The story doesn't surprise me a bit. Be sure to notice the pink snowsuited toddler in the [Read More]

» What about the AFTER-life? from Senia.com Positive Psychology Coaching
Hey, hey, hey, what about the AFTER-life? No, not the afterlife and reincarnation. But the AFTER-life. the little self-talk you have and I have, saying things like, Well, if I have a great house, Ill be happy. &... [Read More]

» Probably We'd All Ignore Him from Strategy Central
Here's a test of your analytical ability. And don't worry...I'm just as much in this as you. We all are. Here's the test: If you were walking through a subway tunnel, about to board your train, would you stop to [Read More]

» Presenting makes you nervous?Good! from Great Presentations Mean Business
This story is amazing, and has a lot of lessons about context, value, appreciation and connecting with your audience. The follow-up is also worth a read. Check out the story before you read the rest of this post, whats below is a big spoiler. Wh... [Read More]

» I'd Ignore That Sermon Too! from Darryn's Blog
It doesn't matter how great your sermon is. As long as the what you have to say is perceived by culture as judgmental, unhelpful and irrelevant, people will ignore you. Seth Godin points us to a story in the Washington Post. (World-class violinist play... [Read More]

» Virtuoso violin vs Juggling in Covent Garden from The Long Con
A post on Seth Godin's blog I'd ignore him too (which links to a Washington post story about a concert violinist who was ignored while playing in a subway station) got me thinking about busking in general. [Read More]

» Links17/06/07 from in other words
I love Google Reader. Its an invaluable tool for someone like me whos just too disorganised when it comes to reading these days. Its great to be able to read blogs/websites like emails, and not have to keep re-visiting to check for... [Read More]

« Marketing to seniors (open and closed) | Main | Memo to the very small »