Once we know, we can’t unknow

One of the things I’ve ever read on Dave Trott’s blog that sticks to my mind the most is that once we’ve learned something, we can’t unlearn it.

Meaning, at the point where we learn something – maybe by seeing it, hearing it, or understanding it – we can’t go back to not knowing it anymore. Meaning, after that point on, we cannot understand those who don’t know what we do anymore.

I’m reminded of this a lot in my life.

When I’m trying to explain a simple physics theory, or an easy math problem to a friend, I sometimes get frustrated at why they just can’t understand. Sometimes I forget how much effort I have to put in in order to understand something.

This goes the same way with advertising.

Dave Trott always gives one suggestion: Write down all you know about the product or service before you do research on it.

Because once you’ve started doing the research, you’re moving away from a customer’s point of view to the client’s point of view.

You start off knowing as much everyone else does about the product or service. But once you’ve done a thorough research, you know as much as the client does about his own product or service.

Now that you know what the client knows, you start to think like them, too.

The client wouldn’t really want to hire someone to think like them, do they?

So it’s important to make that list before you do research.

Because once you’ve crossed the line, you can’t go back.


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