Being accurate < Being memorable

Satyajit Rout
2 min readNov 28, 2022

Your ideas are novel. They’re useful. Yet, they fall flat.

The problem may not be their quality but their memorability.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

If it helps, it’s not just you–it’s what many are bemused by. We’re programmed to be accurate (remember school?), not to make our ideas stand out.

The world’s a busy marketplace. Not a classroom where your teachers are paid to correct your answers and are accountable to your questions. If you want to be noticed, make your ideas easy to remember.

The best ideas are not just novel but also great replicators. They copy themselves onto your audience’s brain and get them to share with others. What can you do to make your idea lodge itself in people’s heads?

🎶Make it catchy.

‘A stitch in time saves nine’ means nothing literally. Nine what? And why nine, and not more or less? Yet, said any other way, it would not have topped the idiom charts for as long as it has. Alliteration, acronyms, and analogies are other ways to be memorable.

😲😂😱Evoke emotion.

How about the phrase ‘ozone hole’? Did you know that there’s no actual hole where the ozone has gone missing? It merely refers to an area of depleted ozone in the stratosphere.

Do you care that it’s not really a hole? Nope. But you know a hole is bad. It must be filled. When you hear hole, your impulse is to do something about it–exactly what the world needed after more than a decade of failed advocacy to reduce chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer.

📛Name something that everyone identifies with but has no name for.

Shreyas Doshi’s a master at this. These are some of his ideas that I can rattle off the top of my head:

The Antithesis Principle
Certainty Theater
Apple Pie Position (my favorite!)

In the real world, great ideas are only fuel. They go nowhere without an engine. So, get yourself an engine–distribution–to take them far.

Do you think the fuel-and-engine analogy is mine? Nope. I’m simply using Emily Kramer’s analogy for what makes for a powerful marketing machine (link in comments).

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Satyajit Rout

I write about decision-making, mental models, and better thinking and things in between