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Simple, Moving, Persuasive

Simple, Moving, Persuasive

Hello and good day!

I am still working my way through a survey of every single number-one hit song from the 1990’s.

I listen while washing the dishes and cleaning my house at the end of every day.

It continues to amaze me how simplistic, and frankly silly, many of these smash hits are.

Take the song Macarena for example. It was one of the most successful songs of the entire decade.

I vividly remember as a young man being one of the people who flooded out onto the dance floor when Macarena came on.

Everybody knew how to do the Macarena dance. People are still doing it today, almost 30 years later.

None of us knew what the song was about.

It had a good melody, a danceable rhythm, and a catchy hook.

And it had the dance to go with it.

That was enough and it dominated the charts.

Going back and listening to it critically has been very surprising to me.

The verses are just a girl talking, not singing, about how she is going to go home with whichever boy dances the best.

The chorus is two Spanish-language singers who sing the same two simple lines over and over.

There is not much to it. But it gets people out on the floor.

This reminds me of a singing contest that I watched on TV once.

One of the judges was a successful pop singer.

After listening to a classically trained contestant do a calm and technically perfect rendition of her song, the pop singer asked her to sing it again, but with more emotion the second time.

“I’d rather be moved than impressed,” he said.

There is something to that.

That is one of the key takeaways you get from listening to a whole bunch of smash-hit pop songs.

You can’t say exactly why, but they move you.

On the other hand, sometimes you can listen to a song sung by a beautiful singer, accompanied by a flawless musical arrangement, and it bores you.

One of the great blessings that we’ve had in our business is that somehow, the chocolate that we make seems to move people.

That has always been the case, ever since the very first time that I tried it.

I remember standing in the living room of my dad’s house some 15 years ago, trying a sample for the first time.

The chocolate melted on my tongue, and I saw my entire future in front of me.

With one taste, I knew that I’d be in the chocolate business for the rest of my life.

The listed ingredients are the same as many other chocolates on the market.

And yet, the genetic variety that we use, and the way we do our post-harvest processing, produces a result that is immediately unique and exciting.

There is an important business and marketing lesson in all of this.

There is a good life lesson too that we can all employ when it comes to convincing a person.

Many times, a well-thought-out, logical, argument for why a person ought to agree with you will go right over your audience’s head.

Whereas a simple, catchy message, that hits them in the heart and moves them, can produce almost unbelievable results.

Here is another lesson that I’ve picked up from my survey of pop songs.

To want and not have, to be in a state of unfulfilled yearning, is one of the saddest feelings in the world, and people in this state are very vulnerable to persuasion.

There is a song by two fellows named K-Ci & Jojo called “All My Life” that hit number one on the charts in April of 1998.

It was the number-one song in the country for three weeks.

It is a beautiful love song.

The two men who sing it are soulful singers with excellent voices.

Here is part of the chorus.

All my life

I prayed for someone like you

And I thank god

That I finally found you”

One night, back when this song was popular, I was at a bonfire on the beach with a bunch of buddies. I can still remember the whole thing.

\It was a warm summer evening. The sky was dark orange turning black. A cool wind came off the ocean. Waves crashed on the sand. A blazing yellow fire wavered in the fire pit.  

The sun was a thin glowing sliver above the horizon.

There were seven of us at this cursed bonfire, sitting in folding beach chairs around the fire, listening to the radio on a boombox.

I had unknowingly walked into a situation in which I was the seventh wheel.

There were three young couples in the throes of young love, snuggling up with each other by the warmth of the fire, and me.

I don’t know why I was invited, and I wouldn’t have shown up if I had known what I was walking into.

“All My Life” came onto the radio and the three couples spontaneously stood up and began to slow dance.

They held each other close and swayed, on the beach, under the dark sky, next to the bright warm fire, with the smell of smoke, the waves rolling in and crashing, and the beautiful music playing.

I sat there on my folding beach chair alone.

I’d never had a girlfriend and I wanted one bad.

My buddies and their girlfriends were breaking my young heart.

While I sat there, I realized exactly why I wanted a girlfriend, and it wasn’t for regular hormonal reasons. I just wanted to know that there was a girl out there who preferred me to all the other boys.

Why couldn’t there be somebody who would look at me and say, I want you, you’re the one, and I thank god, that I finally found you, just like in the song?

Then everybody started kissing.

But they weren’t making out.

They were kissing slowly and lovingly.

It was one of the most romantic things I’d ever seen, and I wasn’t a part of it, and I was sitting in my chair, dying.

In that moment, I would have been susceptible to just about any kind of influence, for better or worse, that promised to stem the pain of yearning.

I walked away from the bonfire, through my neighborhood in the dark, back to my house. At home, I called one of my burnout buddies, who also didn't have a girlfriend.

We got stoned and played video games the rest of the night.

This is a business and life lesson too.

If you are looking for somebody to help or convince, a person with a deep-seated unfulfilled desire will be all ears.

Likewise, if you have a family member or friend who is living through this type of circumstance, you’ll need to keep an eye on them.

They can easily be talked into something.

Who would have thought that listening to old pop music would be so fruitful?

There are lessons everywhere.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day.


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