Episode 195: Derek Thompson – What Makes Something A Hit? (Hit Makers)

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“Think of speechwriting like a music composer.  Use repetition and choruses.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What makes something a hit?
    • Is there a formula?  No, there is not a formula… People think there is and that’s a mistake
    • Bottom line: “Distribution beats content” — “This is an unsentimental book”
  • There is power in distribution
  • How did Simon Sinek’s TED Talk go viral?
    • It was shared by people with millions of followers on multiple platforms like Reddit
  • Think: Who is my audience? Broadcast your content to the right audience
  • Why do we always watch Dumber and Dumber and Shawshank Redemption?
    • There is nostalgia in art
    • We are always trying to recover existential love
  • How did Bumble spread?
    • Injected into mainstream consciousness through celebrity — Start with one very attractive sorority and continue to repeat
  • How did Facebook spread?
    • Piggy backed off of other networks (Harvard)
  • How Jon Favreau and President Barack Obama write speeches:
    • They think like musicians
      • Using choruses and repetition
  • The best speeches connect with people where they are — “The power of repetition in song is remarkable”
  • How has Derek made his book a best-seller?
    • Familiarity and repartition followed by surprise
      • Familiar surprises throughout
      • Great distribution

“We don’t like pure originality that much.  We like familiarity.” 

Continue Learning:

You may also like these episodes:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 071: Nate Boyer – Green Beret, Texas Football, The NFL

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

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Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

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