Saturn, a Garage-Sale Telescope, and Your Brand

Saturn, a Garage-Sale Telescope, and Your Brand

Earlier this month I was in a discussion about branding and customer experience with a group of my peers. I thought of this story from my 2012 book. I shared it and was told afterward that it made a real impact on several people in the room and how they thought about the way they deliver value to their customers.

Maybe you’ll find it helpful, too.

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Ed Huff's Saturn photo

This photo of Saturn through a small refractor was taken by Ed Huff in Warrington, PA in 2015 and captures the essence of my first Saturn experience. The photo is used here with Mr. Huff’s permission.

I’ll never forget the moment I first saw Saturn in a telescope. It was a 3-inch refractor that I had gotten for my tenth birthday. As I sat in the front yard I thought, “This must surely be as good as the telescope Galileo had, and he saw Saturn’s rings. I wonder…”

When I saw it, I was amazed. Awestruck. I could barely believe it was real. That little dot in the sky really had a ring around it. It looked like a tiny little sculpture floating in my eyepiece.

The pictures that had come back from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were enormous investments. The mission, the probes, the experiments, and those photos were built on the educations of hundreds of people and procured at great expense by the American taxpayer. Yet for all their costs, they had suddenly become secondary to my own personal experience through a beat-up garage sale telescope with a busted tripod leg and no finder scope.

No matter how sophisticated your audience’s expectations based on other people’s reports, they will ultimately become secondary to the actual experience you deliver. It doesn’t matter how simple the delivery, as long as the experience is amazing.


The photo of Saturn above can be seen in Sky & Telescope Magazine’s online gallery here.

The story above is excerpted from my 2012 book High JOEltage: 101 JOElts for Becoming Amazingly Effective. The book is available on Amazon.
High JOEltage