How to change the world

In 1997, Rob Siltanen was given the task of re-branding a failing company. This company was months away from bankruptcy when Siltanen was given this responsibility.

He gave it everything, spending hours crouching behind a coffee table – working on his script, revising it an agonizing amount.

Siltanen @ work
While Siltanen wrote, Craig Tanimoto drew. Tanimoto dew cartoons and spent hours mulling over two words, the only words that accompanied all his drawings.
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Tanimoto’s Drawings. I’d give him a “C-” 
When Tanimoto showed his drawings to Siltanen, Siltanen loved it. When Siltanen presented his final script along with the drawings to the failing company’s CEO, he was told it was “shit.”

What the CEO didn’t know then was that the script would lay the path for the company’s journey to becoming the most valuable company in the world.

The script:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

When a slightly modified version of the script ran for the world to see in 1997, the failing company would acquire a new identity – and its CEO would come to represent the kind of hero whose story the script prophesized.

That campaign did more than just re-brand the failing company: Apple. It started a movement.

It also birthed a cult-figure so big that everyone and everything else was subsumed under his spell: Think Different – the two words that accompanied Craig Tanimoto’s drawings. Grammatically incorrect but who-gives-a-shit-because-that’s-the-whole-point correct. The figure: Steve Jobs.

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But what does think different mean at a time when we all want to be more like Steve Jobs and less like Siltanen and Tanimoto. When brilliant but obscure is unbearable. When success without fame feels is futility filled.

When Siltanen and Tanimoto started out, their goal wasn’t to put a dent in the universe. Their goal simply was to do their best work. They weren’t by any definition crazy ones. They were ordinary ones who worked hard, simplified things and enjoyed what they did.

And they did it all for a cause that had little to do with them or their own personal brand. Pretty banal, uninspiring, and unproductive. And that’s precisely what thinking different means for your life.

To think different in 2018 is to be able to work hard, do simple things and be comfortable with the ordinariness of the outcome. It’s giving up the need to be remembered. Because when you really connect the dots looking backward, what you remember are not all the crazy attempts to dent the universe. It’s the seemingly ordinary things you wished you paid more attention to. That’s literally what Steve Jobs did.

Apple is an idea that was told twenty years ago by two people who you have never heard about. It’s what we buy today for way too much money.

Siltanen and Tanimoto are two of million examples in the new definition of success we never hear about. Because according to our definition, success without fame is still failure. And we will do all sort of crazy shit to acquire that fame.

The world has enough crazy people doing crazy things. What we need is more normal people doing crazy things. Because the people who are normal enough to think they do not want to change the world are the ones who do.


Posted in Art

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