Sully on stage
"At the end of the day... we all have to ask ourselves one thing: Did I make a difference?"—also Sully.
Wow. What a hero.
But also... How do you stand up and talk about AI and marketing after that? How do you follow
a true hero on stage?
Sully's best day at work literally saved lives. My best day at work is when an audience laughs at my jokes.
"I need to set expectations," I told the crowd last week as I took Sully's place on the stage.
"I haven't landed a plane in the Hudson. Tom Hanks hasn't played for me in a film.... well, yet. But I hope to offer some inspiration of a different kind to you, anyway."
* * *
In the Ozarks last week, Sully talked about the in-flight decision he had seconds to make, as first one engine then the second caught fire and the cabin filled with the smell of roasting goose. A smell that might've otherwise triggered thoughts of happy, cozy holiday
dinners—but of course... not that day.
"Three things were going through my mind," Sully said. "One... this can't be happening. Two... this kind of thing doesn't happen to me. But also three... this flight will probably not land on a runway."
Disbelief, Denial, Time to Act. That third thought pushed him to action. Again, in seconds. He said last week: "I was convinced I could do it... I could synthesize a lifetime of knowledge, experience, and judgment."
"The more we are able to embrace change...the more change can be a competitive advantage," Sully said.
* * *
It's odd to think about a course-correct that saved 155 lives as a "competitive advantage."
But what Sully meant was that all
the prep and planning in the world only gets you so far. Circumstances change. Culture changes. Geese hit planes (planes hit geese).
We all have to adapt. But more important... we have to spring to action, too.
* * *
The Ozarks invited me to their deep lakes and deep woods to talk about Marketing and
AI. And the idea struck me (or I struck the idea) that all of us in marketing are similarly challenged here in 2023.
AI strikes marketing (or marketing strikes AI) most broadly on November 30, 2022, when ChaptGPT suddenly pops into the scene, almost immediately mangling our creative
Since then, we've had to figure out how to adapt. What does it mean for us as marketers? As creatives? As writers? What's the course we need to chart?
* * *
It's not a perfect analogy. Because here's the difference: We don't need to make a decision in 208 seconds. Lives are not at stake
(although maybe some livelihoods are).
The problem is that some companies and some leaders seem to think they need to move in 208 seconds.
They do not. Nothing is on fire.
We can do what Sully didn't have the luxury to do... to take a breath. Take a beat. But like Sully, to take a thoughtful, measured, informed approach as organizations, as people.
I talked about this last week—coincidentally, with another airplane metaphor (what are the chances?) From
the Ozarks, Sully reminds us again.
* * *
It's funny how often we feel pressured to act because things feel on fire. In reality, they rarely are.
You might be tempted to think that Sully saved 155 lives because he acted fast. That speed alone was a competitive advantage. But that's not the
It wasn't his split-second action alone that saved lives. Instead, it was the slow accumulation of knowledge that allowed him to make the right fast decision.
"At the end of the day... we all have to ask ourselves one thing: Did I make a difference?"
* * *
Let me leave you with this thought about how to approach AI, inspired by Sully and the Ozarks:
Step 1: "Synthesize a lifetime of knowledge, experience, and
Step 2: Take a breath. Take a beat. We're built for this, remember?
Step 3: Make a difference.
* * *
I'm cutting this week's newsletter short because it's a holiday weekend here in the US, and I have plans to park my peach on a Maine beach. If you are celebrating this long weekend, I hope you park your own peach somewhere restful, too.
I'll be back in two weeks. And I promise not to talk about airplanes!
DEPARTMENT OF SHENANIGANS
It really couldn't have been an email.