Geoff Thatcher | The Legendary Theme Park Attraction Designer Shares About Lessons You Can Learn from The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, and John Lasseter

Show Notes

GEOFF THATCHER is Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Creative Principals. He’s had a long career creating brand experiences, visitor centers, museums, theme parks and live events, before launching his own experience design firm in 2017. His eclectic background always delivers a fresh perspective. His experience includes everything from the grand opening of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi to the renovated American Airlines Museum in Texas. 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 Maracanā Stadium, Geoff has been there. Thatcher is also a writer and teacher who has ghostwritten books, published blogs and even facilitated a leadership communication workshop at The CIA University (yes, that CIA).

Geoff Thatcher, the legendary theme park attraction designer shares about his new book, The CEO’s Time Machine and lessons that you can learn from The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and Disney’s John Lasseter.

Buy the Book – The CEO’s Time Machine – 

Urine-controlled video games installed in London bar – 

  1. Yes, yes, yes and yes! Thrivetime Nation on today’s show we are interviewing the author of the new book THE CEO’s TIME MACHINE! Geoff, welcome onto the Thrivetime Show, how are you sir?!
  2. Geoff Thatcher, I understand that when the panic of the pandemic hit, your business of designing engaging theme park attractions, museum exhibits, and visitor centers came to a fast pause!..Tell us more about what happened?
    1. All of the experiences in the world closed, so all but 1 of our projects went on hold
    2. I told my daughter who is a designer at our firm and said, “Let’s do something crazy.”
  3. So Geoff, at its’ core what is your new book all about?
    1. This is a story that resonates with the world we are living in today.
    2. If you’re in a time machine you are going to want to talk to people in the past and the future.
    3. It is a business parable that has direct relevance to today.
  4. You may think that shifting the direction of your business is mundane, but a small shift can change the world – Abraham Darby 
  5. Geoff, your book reminds readers that envisioning the future doesn’t mean forgetting about the past or ignoring the present and examines many different business axioms, so I thought we could examine a few of them right now:
  6. The value of a business is the sum of its decisions – What does this axiom mean to you?
  7. Business can challenge your ethics – In your mind what does this mean?
    1. In the book, the protege has to make a decision to use the time machine and in essence cheat or if she will avoid using the time machine.
  8. Recognizing your part in “the giggle test” can lead to success or failure – What is this axiom all about? 
    1. The future of an organization is the young people. If you’re a leader or CEO you have to find a way around middle management to hear from those who would be the future and break through the giggles of people who would shoot down creative ideas.
  9. So Geoff Thatcher I know that you’ve had a lot of success in your career, but where and how did you grow up?
    1. I grew up in Farmington, Utah right next to an amusement park.
    2. I fell asleep to the sounds of an amusement park.
    3. I got a job as a clean-up boy and worked my way up at Lagoon Amusement Park to just about every job at the park.
  10. How did you get promoted?
    1. I didn’t get promoted. 
    2. The COO gave me great advice when I was trying to get promoted. He said if you want to get promoted and make more money, you are going to have to leave.
    3. I told the company that I went to work that I did not want a title until I had the title of Executive Creative Director.
    4. To get promoted try something different, leave, or do something to get you fired.
  11. When did you first figure out what you wanted to do professionally?
  12. Geoff Thatcher When did you first feel like you were truly beginning to gain traction with your career?
    1. I flunked out of college my freshman year. I failed freshman writing, so it is ironic that I am now a writer by profession.
    2. I did some volunteer work and kept a journal, writing every day. That is where I fell in love with writing and decided that I wanted to be a writer and storyteller.
  13. You come across as a very proactive person…so how do you typically organize the first four hours of your and what time do you typically wake up?
    1. I got up at 4 AM this morning and am normally an early riser. I used to be a night owl, but then I got married.
    2. My wife wants to go to bed at 10 o’clock and I wanted to go to bed with my wife
    3. By waking up at 4 AM, at 4 PM you can go to the pool after a 12 hour work day without feeling guilty 
  14. What are a few of your daily habits that you believe have allowed you to achieve success?
  15. Geoff Thatcher What mentor has made the biggest impact on your career thus far?
  16. What has been the biggest adversity that you’ve had to fight through during your career?
  17. What is your favorite old school jam?
  18. What advice would you give the younger version of yourself?
  19. Geoff Thatcher You’ve got the mic, what is one thing that you want to share with the Thrive Nation before you drop the mic?
    1. If you haven’t been fired at least once in your career, you aren’t trying hard enough.
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