FUSE 2018: Day One

Okay, let’s be honest, this author is a content producer. My tendency to sit for long periods and consume loads and loads of content, just isn’t there. Luckily, the conference designers put one track twelve floors above the other, so I was able to resist my urge to move around and keep me in one track at a time. Nicely done FUSE.

As a proud FUSE conference attendee for nearly a decade, I have seen the successes and missteps many speakers have achieved. In that time, there are some patterns that repeat, like the drone of elevator music. But, there are occasions when a morsel of content lights up my eyes. Here are some of those morsels from day one.

One : Warby Parker

Warby Parker has a constitutional convention every two years to revisit their values. They reconsider ideas like “treat others as they want to be treated” when staff challenges this idea, in practical ways. Warby also has an image that represents their culture, the blue footed boobie, because its quirky, international and Neil likes to say the word “boobie.”

A most flavorful morsel was the fact that they have a nearly empty bookshelf in their office, as they gain knowledge as an organization, they fill the shelves with books. How does an author get a book on that shelf, because it has to be a more prestigious than getting into the library of congress. 

Two : #MeToo

“The customer is not an idiot, she’s your wife” is an old line used by an iconic ad executive and repurposed in our book, The Physics of Brand. It represents a time when the corporate world was ruled by men and some needed a bit more empathy for their customers. Today, we have a marketplace ruled by women, “7 trillion dollars of spending power” per Nikki Mamuric, Sprout Innovation Co, and her speech on “How to Reach Female’s in an Age of #MeToo.” And, the balance of power in the workplace is certainly shifting with more female leadership in the corporate suite. Perhaps this is why these dinosaur men are behaving like [can’t use the word pigs because that’s an insult to the pig species].

But, whatever the underlying reason, Nikki gave some helpful perspective on how to build a brand in this volatile environment. The one that rang true to me was this. After you’ve done all the consumer testing to determine if you’re going forward with a campaign, ad, product or offering; stop and do an internal “gut check” and ask everyone to put their name on the thing going public. If we pause for accountability, we might not make moronic mistakes like pink beer bottles and use the phrase, “beer for women.”

Three : 663 million

This is a big number. If this was your profit, you’d be doing quite well. If this was your constituency, you’d have a powerful following. If this is the number of people who go without clean water, daily, then you’ve got a problem. Clean air, clean water, and basic nutrition, as a citizen of this planet, it should not be something you’re left without.

Charity Water is taking this problem on and in the most inspirational and creative ways. It started with a party for water, wells drilled in communities and then a founder, Scott Harrison, who went back to every attendee of the party to show them the results of their partying. This story was shared with us by Tyler Reiwer and the elegance of his presentation left the audience wanting more. Tyler shared all the creative ways the organization helped people have empathy for those they are serving clean water. My favorite was a challenge to carry 40 or 80 lb containers of water, in gala gowns and high heels. And, this writer was also left with a need to connect the founder of ReadIndeed.org, Maria Keller, with Scott and Tyler.

The profound impact an .org can have should be given a stage like FUSE and Charity Water is certainly doing everything right to achieve a higher mission. Visit Charity Water, party and get involved.

Those are my three big morsels from day one of FUSE. I hope you’ve enjoyed the day of connecting, conversations and perspective. Please reach out if you’ve got a story to share with us on the blog.

 

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.

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