The Virtual CMO

Using Immersive Customer Experience to Delight and Sell with Geoff Thatcher

June 03, 2021 Eric Dickmann, Geoff Thatcher Season 5 Episode 8
The Virtual CMO
Using Immersive Customer Experience to Delight and Sell with Geoff Thatcher
Show Notes Transcript

In episode 74, host Eric Dickmann interviews Geoff Thatcher. Geoff is a writer, teacher, author, and Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Creative Principals. He is an experienced creative leader who knows how to take a project from concept to reality. For most of his career, these projects have been about world-class experiences such as the grand opening of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and the American Airlines Museum. Whether it’s the world’s largest video dome on a beach in Dubai or the opening ceremonies of the Rio 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil’s Maracanā Stadium, Geoff’s work transcends borders.

He is a writer and teacher who once facilitated a leadership communication workshop at The CIA University (yes, that CIA). In 2020, he published his first book The CEO’s Time Machine that TD Magazine said: “is a great way to prepare your mindset going into conversations about how your business can navigate our new, uncertain world.”

For show notes and a  list of resources mentioned in this episode, please visit: https://fiveechelon.com/using-immersive-customer-experience-delight-sell-s5e8/

A fractional CMO can help build out a comprehensive marketing strategy and execute targeted campaigns designed to increase awareness and generate demand for your business...without the expense of a full-time hire.

The Five Echelon Group - Fractional CMO and strategic marketing advisory services designed for SMBs looking to grow. Learn more at: 

https://fiveechelon.com


Eric Dickmann:

Welcome to the Oh podcast. How are you today? I'm good. You have me

Geoff Thatcher:

rocking out there? I was like, yeah,

Eric Dickmann:

yeah. A little bit. Right. So get things going, get the juices flowing now. I'm doing great. Really glad you're here today. It's a bright, sunny day. I've got my, uh, sort of, I just think I need like a Cuban cigar or something like that. It's sort of in the, uh, in the spring mode, I guess.

Geoff Thatcher:

Well, I believe you're in Orlando, Florida, and I believe there are some nice cigar bars there,

Eric Dickmann:

right? Yeah. There are a few nice cigar bars and you know, you just look down the road a little bit and Cuba's right down the street. So not too bad. I I'm excited because, well, number one, you and I met. Lunch club, which is kind of a fun new application. Uh, it's a great way. At least I've had some great experiences already meeting some really interesting people on that application. And you are my first guest actually from those meetings to be on the, the podcast. So welcome because of that. I am. I'm also really excited because we're going to delve into something that's really close to my heart and that's all around customer experience. And you are really an expert in these immersive customer experiences. So before we kick things off, I'd love it. If you could just share with the audience just a little bit about your background and what you do around the world of immersive customer experiences.

Geoff Thatcher:

Well, I'm lucky enough to have started in this industry as a 14 year old cleanup boy at a museum park. And, and so, uh, you know, really works, worked my way all through high school and college as a train engineer and a ride operator and a stage manager. And then transitioned that into working for a design firm that created theme park, attractions, museum exhibits, and corporate brand experiences. And I'm still doing it almost 40 years later. And we've worked on some really cool stuff around the world from, you know, The. Big opening ceremonies for Rio 2007 at the Pan-American games to a video dome on the beach in Dubai to the grand opening of Warner brothers world and Abu Dhabi and museums like the American airlines museum, uh, right here in the United States and Dallas Fort worth. So, so that's really what, uh, what my experience is all about and what we do it's about experiences and those experiences are primarily. Theme parks are entertainment, experiences, uh, museums, educational or cultural experiences, and finally brand experiences.

Eric Dickmann:

You know, I love that living here in Orlando, obviously that's a big part of the culture down here, even though there's sort of a theme park side of town where a lot of that takes place. I think it trickles into everything. And a lot of businesses I think have up their game a little bit. To create better experiences, better atmospheres. And I'm so interested in your perspective on this, you know, we live in a world of so many distractions and it seems like it's harder and harder to catch people's attention. Do you find this as you're designing experiences for people that it just has to be non-stop because people's attention span is short and there's so many things competing for it.

Geoff Thatcher:

Well, you know, I would have probably said yes, yes. But then last week I was in Orlando and went to discovery Cove for the first time, a little bit

Eric Dickmann:

different there. Right?

Geoff Thatcher:

Yeah. And, you know, discovery Cove was magical and it was way better than I thought it was going to be. I mean, I knew it was gonna be cool. I've been to SeaWorld a number of times aquatic. Uh, and I thought, well, let's go to, let's go to discovery Cove. And, um, You know, it was an escape and it was relaxing and there weren't very many distractions and we had a wonderful time. And so I think what discovery Cove, uh, approves and it is true is that it depends what people are looking for. And some people are looking for an escape in different ways. Some people want the nonstop rush of a theme park and other people want to slow down. What's ironic about all of this COVID stuff. And there was just an article the other day about this. And it's certainly what I'm hearing from people that I know that are involved with Disney and universal. And some of the major parks is the attendance restrictions, the capacity reductions, because of COVID. Is actually improving the experience for guests because they can slow down. I mean, it used to be a, so, so since the pandemic kit, we've done three days at universal in August, we did three days at Disney in November. We did SeaWorld at Christmas and then we just did a discovery Cove, um, just this last week and yes, we have to wear a mask and yes, there's social distancing. But it's more enjoyable because it's just not so crowded where you're not just feeling like you have to rush everywhere you go. And that's really nice. And the other thing that's happening, and again, I have this unofficially, so please don't quote me as an official source while attendance is down. The per cap spending the per capita spending is way

Eric Dickmann:

up really. I wouldn't have expected that.

Geoff Thatcher:

Well, you know, and when I thought about it, when I was told this by a colleague of mine, I was like, well, that makes sense. This is, what do you mean? I said, well, when we went to universal ordinarily, when we go to universal, we're like running from rider ride or grabbing a hot dog on the go, maybe some popcorn, a berbere. And we're just, we're just pushing and pushing and trying to get everything in. But because. Of the pandemic. Things are a little more relaxed because it's not as crowded. And probably more importantly, the only time you can really take off your mask is when you sit down to eat. And so it's like, well, you know, Wearing a mask for 12 hours on a long day to theme park is a little annoying. I feel bad for the workers, but it's like, no, let's sit down and let's have a nice meal. So we went to mythos, which is one of the best restaurants in the industry. And we spent $200 on dinner. You know what I mean? We spent like 250. I can't remember it was, but we spent. More money on food, did the same thing at SeaWorld. We would have never gone into the fancy restaurant with the aquarium and the shark area, you know, right next to Maaco the new coaster. But we're like, you know what? Let's just sit down and rest relax. We've we, you know, it's not that big of a deal to rush around to the rides and. So, yeah, so attendance is down, but the get cussed, the guest, the customer experience is up because people are just enjoying the, the crowds being lighter.

Eric Dickmann:

When you look to create a new experience, what are some of the factors that go into your thinking, your planning? Is it dealing with. All of the senses and how you're going to make an impact. Each one of those senses. Is it all about the theme of whatever you're trying to create or those two mesh together? What, what is the thinking process that goes into really creating a great immersive experience?

Geoff Thatcher:

Well, yes, to all those questions, uh, but more specifically, I really believe in formulas. Um, formulas work, uh, you know, uh, great films, for example, always have a, you know, an element of redemption to them, or, you know, a strong hero's journey art to it. And when it comes to attractions, it's all about story, story, and story. Uh, I mean, uh, I went to Hollywood studios and there's two new rides there in the star Wars land. Uh, and one is Smuggler's run, which is you fly the millennium Falcon. And one is rise to the resistance and rise. The resistance. The story is amazing. The experience is amazing. It's awesome. The technology is amazing. It's awesome. Smuggler's run. It's like a Michael Bay movie. I mean, yeah. They spent a ton of money on it. The special effects are great, it's awesome. But it's just kinda, eh, you know what I mean? It's just not as great. I think most people would confess that its not as great, but once you have that story, once you know what an experience is about, then you simply have to translate that experience through what we call the experience model. And I don't claim to have invented the experience model, it's existed for millennia, but it begins with, you have to attract people's attention. And so whatever you're doing, whatever your story is, what is it that's iconic about that story that's going to draw people into the experience? So having just been to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, what is the icon that draws people into to Hogsmeade and to Hogwarts? Well, it's the castle, it's this big icon of the castle that draws you in. Okay? Once you draw someone into the story, then you have to build trust. You have to build that trust. And again, let's use Universal Studios as an example. Trust is this authentic cue that walks you through Hogwarts castle, and when I went to that for the first time with my daughter, Zoe, who works for us now as an illustrator and designer, she was 14, and she said to me, she's a huge Harry Potter fan. And she said- Dad, this is legit. This is legit. So immediately you have that trust built. Then the third step in the experience model is you have to give them the information they need to move forward in the journey. It's informed. You have to inform them, you have to give them information. So you go into the pre-show, Harry, Ron, and Hermione come out in the Defense of the Dark Arts classroom, and they give you the information you need to move forward in that journey. And then fourth is really what it's all about. It's internalizing that emotion. It's really the thrill, it's the emotional impact, it's riding a broom, and its the ride itself. And then finally, you want people to do something. You want them to act. And all great theme park attractions obviously are about exiting through retail, because you want people to buy something. But the very best experiences involve you in the story. You become part of that story at the end. And so what's great about the Harry Potter attraction is you're standing there in the retail experience and you're seeing all these jerseys and you're like- Okay, which one of us is Hufflepuff? Which one of us is Gryffindor? Which one of us is Ravenclaw? Which one of us is Slytherin? You become part of the story. And now people always say- Oh, well that works for a theme park attraction joke, but I'm not sure it's going to work for a corporate brand experience or for a, you know, a museum. And I'm like, well, name it. I mean, again, I didn't work on the Holocaust Memorial in DC, but you probably cannot pick a more serious museum than the Holocaust Memorial attract. What draws you in the architecture, the aesthetic of this industrial. Complex that just has an emotional reaction and draws you in. Okay. How do you build trust? A series of exhibits that tell you the backstory of the Holocaust and antisemitism and the whole backstory of, of the rise of Nazi-ism okay. Information, small little video vignettes, little video theaters that give you the information you need on the Holocaust. Yeah, but it isn't until you're immersed in the tragic scale of the Holocaust. And you walk past the hundreds and thousands of shoes and all the family pictures. Once you're immersed in the scale of the Holocaust, the message internalizes, and it really hits you. And then you don't exit through retail. There you go into a rotunda. It's almost like a chapel. It's like, uh, a shrine, um, uh, And it's, it's almost, it's not a synagogue, but it's almost a little religious where you go into this burning flame. What do they want you to do? Resolve that this will never happen again. And that experience model works. Take it to a corporate brand experience. Take it to an event, take it to a speech, take it to a theme park you attract. You trust, you give them the information they need, you internalize the message and then you act, you get them to do something. And that's really the formula that works when you're creating experiences.

Eric Dickmann:

You know, immediately what comes to mind are some failed experiences on a pretty large scale. So I think of Las Vegas, I think of Excalibur. I think of circus circus, these a huge big themed hotels, but there's no story. It's just a hotel with that looks like a medieval castle or a hotel that looks like a big circus tent. And I know that those are not the most popular hotels in Las Vegas anymore, but it strikes me because there really is no experience other than the architecture or what appears to be some kind of a story. But there really isn't a story that, that captures you in any way. Yeah.

Geoff Thatcher:

And I think the other examples that you see are projects where the architecture is dominant. Um, certainly there's a lot of museums where it's all about the architecture and you walk in and whenever you're having an experience where you're like confused, you're like, well, what. What am, what am I supposed to do next? And what is this about? And I, where do I go? And it feels disjointed that's because one, there's not a great story. And two, they didn't translate that story using that experience model. And, and, you know, it's really hard to stick to your guns when it comes to the story, because a story by its very nature is limiting. You know if you're, for example. Um, and again, I, I, I could talk about projects I did work on, but you know, some of my pro Well I'll talk about a project I worked on. So Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi, I was the Creative Director for the grand opening of this huge, massive world's largest indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi. And the story there in its simplest form is about connecting with heroes and connecting with villains. And what would you prefer? You can connect with Wiley Coyote villain, or you can connect with the Road Runner hero. You can connect with Batman, hero, or you can connect with the Joker, a villain. You can connect with Bugs Bunny, hero, or you can connect with Daffy Duck, villain. I like Daffy. Is he a true villain? I'm not sure. But the whole experience is about connecting with heroes and villains. So if it's going to be a fantastic experience, you have to really limit yourself to celebrating heroes and villains, and that can be limiting. But when you limit yourself by focusing on the story, you create a much better experience.

Eric Dickmann:

So obviously some of the examples that you cited there, whether they're the, uh, the theme parks or others, right. They have this great catalog of stories and characters that most people know and can relate to. So it makes that jump a little bit easier, but what if you're a company that sells computers or software, or, you know, you have a business that doesn't really have those kind of stories that kind of imagery in people's minds. How then do you create an experience that really moves people that gets people into the story?

Geoff Thatcher:

Yeah, again, I think it goes back to what the heart of the story is about. Um, you know, one of my favorite projects I ever worked on, and this was years ago was the Lockheed Martin space experience center. Okay. And what's the story for the Lockheed Martin space experience center, you know, after we did all the research, we came back and we said, well, really the story is about just how hard. Space travel is and working in space and sending satellites to space. And it's just really, really difficult. This is a really hard thing to do. I mean, the companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and now space X make it look very easy, but it's really hard. It's really hard work to figure it all out. And so that's, that was our story. And then the second thing we did is we then started to translate that story into an experience. We came back with a very radical plan for them. And they had kind of envisioned, well, we would make it look like outer space. Like people would come in, it would be dark, there'd be fiber optic lights in the ceiling and all that stuff. And we're like, well, yeah, but we're like, none of your employees work in outer space. All of your employees work in these clean room environments and, you know, in Denver or Sunnyvale, California, where they're building satellites and GPS and the Hubble space telescope and all these amazing things. And so we created a, a museum like environment with. Basically, you know, light gray carpet, white walls, white ceiling, and really kind of created this white room environment for them. And, and that allowed us to take a story that, I mean, again, space travel was pretty cool, but again, I think you can take any company, any brand and make that story fundamental. I mean like accounting boy, how do I make accounting? Very interesting. Well, in the end, what is accounting about? Accounting is about trust. And if you were to say to me, Hey, I'd like you to create a really great experience on trust. Yeah. I think you could create a really powerful experience on trust because in the end, what these big accounting firms do is about trust. Because if you can't trust a company's results and what they released to the public, that company's dead. We've seen example after example of that. And so trust is hugely important. Hmm. Again, I mean, you could argue that some companies have more interesting stories than others. Sure. But I mean, look at animal kingdom, what is the story of animal kingdom? Uh, Joe Rody, the imaginer who designed it would say, and he has said in his public speeches, it's the intrinsic value of nature. That's what it's about. It's not about animals. It's not about, you know, theme park rides and you know, a rollercoaster that goes to Mount Everest. It's about the intrinsic value of nature. It's a very simple story or simple theme.

Eric Dickmann:

Well, I think a lot of bow people who might be in this audience who work for small mid-sized businesses, they're never going to have a huge event where they're going to be able to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on creating some kind of an event, uh, experience that is truly, you know, over the top or unique. But I think about. You know, every time I go into a retail establishment or restaurant or shop of business, they have opportunities from the moment you sort of walk or drive onto their property to walking in that front lobby, to dealing with the first person that you deal with. All along those, uh, those steps, they have a chance to create an immersive experience for those customers. Right. So what kinds of advice do you give businesses who just in their daily routines of executing their business? Can do more or need to do more to up their experience game.

Geoff Thatcher:

So if there was one piece of advice I'd give to a small company that doesn't have a huge budget it's to take advantage of the technology we have today that allows you. To reach thousands and thousands of people. So I had a client, very small company, very, very small budget. I mean, their budget was extremely small. I think, I think we have less than $10,000 to do something. I don't think it was that much. It was like more like 5,000. Uh, and they were like, Hey, can you really help me? And this company does supply chain logistics.

Eric Dickmann:

Right? Exactly. Yeah.

Geoff Thatcher:

I mean, that's they, I mean, they do supply chain logistics. And what we suggested to them is we said, you know, what do a speech? The CEO goes and gives talks all the time anyway, at these events. But let's do a speech. Let's take you into a, a studio, which honestly it doesn't really cost that much to, to rent a dark studio. You know what I mean? Shine one spotlight on you put a teleprompter up, have, have a PowerPoint up on a screen. And let's just do a very simple TEDx style speech and let's help you craft that speech using that experience model. So what he, what he talked about, and again, attract, draw them in his very first slide was a, I think it was a Mo a Monet or a Manet. It was basically a painting that was found in somebody's attic. So it was worth millions of dollars. Okay. And the message he was trying to share there again, supply chain logistics is that. In your supply chain, you know, in your attic, if you will, there is value. You just simply have to find it. You know what I mean? Just like this, this homeowner found value where they didn't think they had it. And then they were able to go into their speech and it was, you know, it was like a 10 minute speech, but that 10 minute speech on YouTube. Reached thousands of people. And again, when I look at this technology, you know, if I were to say to, and I don't know how many views we're going to get or whatever it is, but if I were to say to a small business, would you spend five or $10,000 to produce a video that would get about 5,000 people? They, and I said, let me put it this way. Would you pay $5,000 to put together a presentation? Where you go speak to a room full of 5,000 people. And I go, yeah, I'll do that. Yeah. And really that's the same thing. And so I believe the most powerful way for a small company to create an experience is through using the technology that we have available right here on, you know, streaming podcasts, video to produce an experience that people can, can be a part of.

Eric Dickmann:

I couldn't agree more. I think that's so well said because. So often people take an opportunity and they just missed the boat. You know, if you're going to get up in front of a room and give a presentation, give a keynote or something, why wouldn't you spend a few extra dollars to get that presentation professionally put together to make it really home, you know, to make it something that was truly memorable that draws the audience in. And I think oftentimes people. Save a dollar here, save a dollar there when they've got that chance to really make something that's special, something that connects to their audience. And, you know, you started to talk about technology too, and I'm curious to get your thoughts on where you see things going. We're at the Dawn of. Augmented reality, virtual reality. These tools are starting to show up in our phones and becoming mainstream. They're not quite there yet in a big way, but they seem to provide a tremendous amount of opportunity for businesses to take people in places that they could never take them before.

Geoff Thatcher:

Well, you really just. Answered your own question there, which is, you know, the power of virtual reality is to be able to take people to places where they can't go. And I think virtual reality is misused constantly, but one of the best experiences, um, VR experiences that I've seen, and it was done by a former colleague of mine by the name of Scott Clark was they went up to Milwaukee where one of the original. Buses from Montgomery, Alabama is still exists. It's at a civil rights museum up there and hired a bunch of actors and they placed the, you know, the three 60 camera, right. Where Rosa parks sat and then using historical records, they acted out exactly what happened on the bus. And it was a really emotional and powerful experience because you saw it in different ways. Uh, you saw, for example, I didn't know this until I did this three 60 experiences Virtual experience. You saw the people, her, her African-American, you know, neighbors leave the bus. They ran out in the back. She was left alone. And, and then you saw a number of people get angry with her and yell at her. And literally if you watch somebody experienced this at a civil rights museum and African-American you see the fists begin to light clench, know what I mean? You feel like, like, literally I didn't witness this, but Scott told me that they've had people actually swing and they're all punch at like the, you know, the, the bus driver, police officer that, that, that kicked her off the bus and she wouldn't leave. And. You can't go to that bus. And so, like, for example, we did a virtual reality experience for a property insurance company, call that from global and they insure refinery. I'm not sure in fires too, but they do insure a lot of natural gas, power plants. And so we did that. We took the three 60 camera. Most of us can't go to, you know, a natural gas, power plant, big power plant, generating electricity for a hundreds of thousands of homes. We can't go there. So we took that three 60 camera into a power plant and took it to places where you can't go. Cause that's really the true power of virtual reality. And really the same is true with augmented reality. What I love about augmented reality is you can give people a view. And the things that you can't see. So for example, same insurance company, FM global, uh, we went into a fire pump and the, you know, it's a fire pump lab in their Singapore headquarters. And we were able to reveal what's happening in the pipes reveal what's happening in the engine reveal, what happens in a fire sprinkler protection system. So, yeah. It really is about whether it's VR or AR it's about taking people where they can't go and letting people see things they can't see.

Eric Dickmann:

And I think that's going to be so interesting, especially when we talk about things like amusement parks, uh, the money that they spend on these attractions is unreal, right? But there's gotta be a payback period. These, this technology has to last for years and years, even though. I mean, the iPhone's only been around for about 10 years. Right? There's so it's amazing. The speed is incredible at which these things change. And so you just, it makes you wonder whether more and more things are going to go to screens because screens, the content on those can be changed fairly easily, but yet. You know, when you circle back to where we started in this interview, when you talked about discovery Cove and something that doesn't have screens at all, that's just an immersive experience within nature. The last time I checked Hawaii, hasn't gone out of style and you know, there, there are still places where you can go that don't involve a lot of technology.

Geoff Thatcher:

You know, there's a place for screens. I love screens. I love technology. I love big immersive theater projections, and, and really the, the, the led technology. You know, you're really not going to see too many experiences that are projection and moving forward because the led at the quality of the led is so much better than, um, uh, I don't know if you've seen the new Jason Bourne show at universal, but that screen is just like, wow, it's amazing. But it's still about authenticity. People still crave the real and you know, this happened a long, long time ago, but it's a very memorable experience for me. I was working on the Ohio state. I let me say that again. I was working on the Ohio state university athletics hall of fame, the Ohio state university. And this was back in the late nineties and, and we were doing the exhibit design. And I was the, you know, the creative writer on the project and, and another company was doing this new thing called interactive media, where it was going to be like this really, you know, it was again, late night, it was like a really cool touch screen with, you know, really kind of interesting, innovative, uh, you know, parallax scrolling and all this kind of cool stuff. And, and they went and did their demo and it was cool. And the client liked it. I mean, it was cool. And then they came to us and we were going through some of the exhibit stuff. And one of our, one of our exhibits was, um, a big thick photo album. Okay. Um, of when Bobby Knight was the coach there at Ohio state, and we did a custom leather, massive custom leather. It was like, the cost is like, I don't know, like two or $3,000 to make this big custom leather book. And it was like really thick. Pages. And it had like the big block. Oh. You know, like in a metal, like screwed into it, but it was the letter. And it was really, you know, I feel like I'm Ricardo Mattapan, rich Corinthian, leather, really nice leather, big, massive, I mean, bigger than a coffee table book, it was massive because I had to be indestructable basically. Right. And so they do their fancy demo on all the touch screens, interactives, and then we plot this leather. Book, sorry, I didn't mean to shake the camera. We plot this book right on the middle of the table. And the first reaction is the client gets up and they rubbed their hand across this book. And they feel the leather. Right. And then I'm not kidding. She leans forward. And then she goes, Oh, don't you love the smell of like a new leather book or a new leather purse. You know what I mean? You know? And then she went to open it and she picked it up like this, you know what I mean? And turned it like that. And that's the difference between real and authentic. Versus technology. I mean there there's, I love technology. I mean, look, we're on technology right now. I love technology, but nothing replaces that authentic, real experience. And so anytime you are doing an experience, you have to remember that you have to balance the technology with the authentic and the real experience. I

Eric Dickmann:

love that, you know, it sounds like a plot line for Wally or something like that. I remember when all those people are floating around and they're The armchairs with TVs in front of them. And, you know, at the end of the movie, they just, you don't want to get out of their spaceship and walk around something real. And I think there is a danger of that. And I think I've seen some billboards lately. I think they're over in Singapore. Uh, That are just amazing that show, you know, hands coming out of the wall and things like that, because I saw that one

Geoff Thatcher:

too. That was just yesterday. Yeah, exactly.

Eric Dickmann:

And it's amazing. And it's those screens you're talking about that have gotten so good, but I also think that people are going to get just overwhelmed with this stuff after a while, and there's going to be a desire for real. And I think those real moments, those real opportunities for connection are still going to win the day.

Geoff Thatcher:

Yeah. And you can't forget as well, the human interaction. I will say from now until the end of the world, that some of the most memorable experiences I've had are with a fantastic tour guide. If you have what makes, for example, the NBC studio tour is whether you get a good page or not, whether you get a good tour guide. If you get a great tour guide, Oh my gosh, it's fantastic! Rise of the Resistance is fantastic from a technology perspective, but the most memorable experience for me on that new attraction, was being treated rudely by Disney employees because they're dressed up as Imperial soldiers and I'm a rebel that's being taken prisoner. I was going like this, just to be fun and kind of play, but a Disney employee looks at me and says- Put your hands down, you look like an idiot. You know what I mean? It was fun. It was fun to have that human interaction. We sometimes forget that human interaction. All the technology should be there for, is supporting that human interaction. So if you're doing, for example, a corporate brand experience, and you're doing which I had. I worked on the CNN studio tour. The technology that we added to the CNN studio tour was all about enhancing the tour guide's job. Because the tour guide's job, he or she were the ones that were going to connect with the guests.

Eric Dickmann:

I love that. And I think that's a great place to sort of wrap things up with today because I think that human interaction is just so powerful and I was hoping you were going to say, you know, you could rub Anderson Cooper's head or something like that.

Geoff Thatcher:

CNN. When I worked on the studio tour, I was back well, Wolf Blitzer was still

Eric Dickmann:

w w I don't know if you don't have a rebel Blitzer's head, but just

Geoff Thatcher:

a little different, this, this was a while ago. This Bernard Shaw was still at I worked on this Siemens studio tour, so, yeah,

Eric Dickmann:

no, that's great. Hey, Jeff, I know you're also an author. I'd love for you to tell the audience a little bit about your book and also a little bit more about where they can find you online.

Geoff Thatcher:

Sure. So when the pandemic hit my daughter, Zoe and I, uh, decided to put out a book and we did it in record time, five weeks, and we published the CEO's time machine. It's a quick read. There's an illustration on every page. And the story is about a Elon Musk type of CEO. Who's turning over the reins of his company to his protege, uh, a young woman who works there and, uh, The last thing he has to do before he retires and gives her the company is to share his secret. And his secret is his time machine. And so that's the story of the book. It's a business parable, if you will, what

Eric Dickmann:

a fun thing to be able to work on with your daughter? It,

Geoff Thatcher:

you know, I love working, uh, with my daughter, Zoe. Uh, she is a fantastic illustrator designer and, uh, you know, she graduated from Auburn university and then spent two years in St. Louis. And we were able to recruit her away from St. Louis and bring her down here to the low country, to work with us on experiences. Yeah, that's

Eric Dickmann:

terrific. Uh, keeping it in the family. I love that. Jeff, where can people find you online?

Geoff Thatcher:

Uh, you know, the quickest way to find me is just to, if stature I'm on LinkedIn, Instagram, you can message me, or you can go to CEO time, machine.com.

Eric Dickmann:

Hey, that's great. I really appreciate you being on the show today. I love talking about customer experiences. You've obviously had a chance to work on some amazing projects in your career. No doubt. There are many more in store in the future. Can't wait to see how you bring these stories to life with technology and that all important

Geoff Thatcher:

here. I'm in touch. Thank you so much. Thanks for inviting me on the podcast to talk about it. Appreciate it.