People have short-term memory, so we tend to only remember the end of an experience. This is a critical insight for experience innovators (aren’t we all?), because we don’t take the time to take a step back and look at the big picture.
For example, everyone says Lebron is better or could be better than my main man Michael Jordan. Yet people forget details, such MJ getting a triple double in 11 consecutive games. Lebron, the all-around player, hasn’t gotten two in a row. Ever.
Yet, people only remember MJ’s last season’s playing for the Wizards.
Here’s another one. Alex Rodriguez, aka A-Fraud, gets banned from baseball for a whole year because of cheating with anabolics.
And that is what he’ll be remembered by.
Yet, in the beginning, his first 6 years with Seattle A-Rod was as great a raw talent we’ll ever see. People forget this.
Again, people only remember the end.
Ken Griffey Jr., who played with A-Rod, never cheated. He was as dominant and talented as they come. Yet, people only remember his last injury plagued seasons with the Reds.
What do these business analogies have to with business? Everything.
You see, shattering customer expectations once is easy. But doing it consistently is the challenge. The ups and downs of the innovation game happen in the middle, but what we remember is the ending. Our customers experience the same when they have contact with our products or services.
They either get their minds blown away at the beginning or they don’t. But what they will remember is the ending.
This is something that Disney has always understood. They try to consistently deliver an unforgettable experience for people who visit their parks, but no matter how perfectionist they are, they also understand that mistakes will be made. And, whether they happen or not, what is great about it is that at the end they’ll send you home on a positive note.
Because all Disney nights end with fireworks.
Lesson: As my buddy and colleague Mago says, “Start great, end epically”.