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Enterprise Marketing & Promotions Management

There’s Really No Magic to Success

By / October 2016


For nearly 40 years Penn Jillette and his erstwhile partner Teller have been entertaining  audiences around the world. Known not only for their magic tricks, but also the humorous commentary from Jillette (remember Teller does not speak), reviewers often observe how easy the pair make things look. But the process that produces their great shows is anything but easy. Jillette recently spoke with the Harvard Business Review and shared some of the reasons behind their award winning performances. These  preparations have great applicability to the world of retail. (Life’s Work: An Interview with Penn Jillete)

The pair always starts with planning, discussing various tricks and what elements the tricks will require. Jillette says that he and Teller have a solid relationship based on trust. Teller is considered an ideal partner – always on time, never makes mistakes, and always focuses on the work. The pair always look to connect with the audience. Jillette acknowledges advice from a former teacher who told him, “No one cares about what you say. They’re looking for any excuse not to listen. So make sure they don’t have one.” Consequently every Penn and Teller performance looks to grab the audience immediately and within two minutes, have the audience believing that “this is important.”

Most importantly, Jillette points out that from the time they launched their act, and to great acclaim, they are constantly looking to change it. Never settling, never becoming complacent, always with an eye to be better. A great lesson in business and in life. A great formula for success in both. And that can be ….magical!

Contributed by Dave Henry, Board Member at Aptaris and Senior Marketing & Advertising Executive. Dave has over 40 years creating successful brands that customers love and companies depend upon. Nationally recognized for building the businesses of several large grocery retail chains, his career includes SVP of Marketing for Winn-Dixie and senior executive at Price Chopper Supermarkets and Star Markets division of Jewel Companies. He has been a leader at organizations such as the Food Marketing Institute and National Grocers Association. Currently Dave also serves on the Boards of the Florida Theatre, SparkShoppe, Origin Marketing and Vioby Media. He also conducts ad agency reviews for companies. You can follow Dave on Twitter at: @d_f_henry or via LinkedIn: Dave Henry.


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