Science - Page 32

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How to Hide It ( and How to Decide What to Show ) There are said to be two types of magicians . The first is a “ magcian ’ s magician ,” who develops , performs , and markets tricks that employ novel methods , are technically difficult , and are designed primarily to impress fellow magicians . The second is an “ audience ’ s magician ” who performs tricks that may or may not be technically difficult , but nonetheless have a huge impact on the general observer . The second type of magician tends to have wider appeal because nobody ( besides another magician ) necessarily cares or appreciates how difficult a trick is .
People mainly just want to be “ wowed ” and entertained . Great magicians will strike the delicate and changing balance between the seen and unseen , which can become an innovation in itself – sometimes as a result of failures or challenges from an audience . For example , Houdini , who conceived the famous straight jacket escape , hid his method by performing behind a small curtain while the orchestra played . Houdini ’ s brother Theo ( who billed himself as Hardeen ), when accused of using a hidden assistant to escape from his straight jacket , responded by working in full view of the audience . The response was so strong that the effect has largely been performed that way ever since . 8
The temptation to “ show everything ” often crops up among engineers , for instance , who want to display everything they ’ ve come up with : the technically brilliant solutions that so amaze their engineering peers . But sometimes the best solution for presentation is not necessarily making visible the complex underpinnings that go into a product design or service delivery . From the customer ’ s point of view , often times the best solution for their purposes is relatively simple . And that ’ s one of the things that Bang & Olufsen does well . The Danish manufactuer of exclusive electronics products understands that consumers don ’ t necessarily want to fiddle with the equaliser , balance , and other controls in order to find the optimum combination of settings to watch a movie or listen to music . As such , its high-end speaker system , for example , automatically makes the necessary adjustments to reproduce a recording with as much fidelity to the original as possible so that all that ’ s left for users to enjoy themselves is to select just one thing : the volume . The lesson here is that products that have
8 . Bert Randolph Sugar , Houdini : His Life and Art . Grosset & Dunlap , 1976 . true magic to them are those that hide exactly what should remain concealed – nothing more , and nothing less .
How to Sell It
Many magicians , while skilled at the art and craft of illusion , aren ’ t necessarily successful performers . At a young age , they might have been fascinated and highly motivated to learn the various techniques and secrets of the magic profession , but were never particularly interested in learning how to sell what they do . Here , we ’ re not talking about the actual selling of a product that a sales force does . What we ’ re referring to is the selling of the customer experience . Top professional magicians recognise that they are , above all , entertainers , and their goal is to connect with the emotions of the audience . Teller , of the famous duo Penn & Teller , performs an exquisite illusion called “ Shadows ,” in which he , using real scissors , apparently cuts only the shadow of a flower standing in a vase . As he moves the scissors , the petals of the real flower fall . It ’ s a trick that is almost poetic in its simplicity and so perfectly performed that it often brings tears to the eyes of many in the audience .
In other words , savvy innovators know that they have to sell the entire customer experience . They know that an auto- mobile will appear to be well built ( and customers might experience it that way ) if its doors close with a solid “ thunk ” sound . They recognise that an electronic book is not just about the readability of its display and the charge life of its battery but also about how closely it can mimic the experience of page turning . And they ’ ll pay attention to even seemingly mundane things , like a product ’ s packaging . High-end vodka distillers like Grey Goose , Chopin , and Belvedere , for example , have learned to enhance the customer ’ s experience by packaging their products in tall , slender , sleekly designed bottles with long necks that evoke an air of sophistication and elegance . At the same time , the experience has to feel “ real ”– not just a trick . Magicians usually ask , “ Since I can ’ t really do it , how can I appear to do it ? What is the least evidence the audience will expect me to produce ? How much evidence is too much ?” The Statue of Liberty vanish , for example , was proven by powerful lights searching the area where the statue should have been .