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Serial founder Remo Giuffré (REMO General Store, General Thinking & TEDxSydney) has FINALLY written his book. Interesting & inspiring.
Serial founder Remo Giuffré (REMO General Store, General Thinking & TEDxSydney) has FINALLY written his book. Interesting & inspiring.
413 backers pledged AU$ 47,694 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

General Thinker | Unique Visual Memoir | Printed, iPad & PDF project video thumbnail
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AU$ 47,694

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11th Hour Update
Only hours left. All kickstarters will be invited to a special launch event happening at a prominent Sydney bookstore on Saturday 1 November. Hurry up and pledge!

Hello & Welcome

Hello and welcome to my Kickstarter campaign for General Thinker.

With your backing and help I hope to be able to get General Thinker printed as a book in physical form and in a quantity that would enable us to keep the quality high and the price accessible to the maximum number of people. The goal is to have the book ready for sale globally by the first week of November 2014.

Is it a worthy endeavour? Here are a few blurbs:

"Remo is a fearless changemaker. He inspires us with tales of building community, and the empowerment that comes from joyful engagement and persistence. This is a book for dreamers, thinkers and doers.”
Chris Anderson, TED Curator

“The only word for this book is generous. A play by play, a tour of one man’s journey, a travelogue of what it is to live an interesting life.”
Seth Godin, Author, The Icarus Deception

“About time! The one book I’ll be giving my family and friends this year – a book full of happiness, inspiration and joy.”
Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi

"This book makes me feel better. It's about ideas, growth, love, business, Bondi, eternity, self-belief and getting away with it. The world needs more Remos. I shall recommend people take one RemoGram a day, for slow but gradual improvement."  Jill Dupleix, Food Writer

“I know and love Remo from the early years of TED. In this book he captures, in his idiosyncratic, mercantile way, the spirit of his interesting work and life."   Richard Saul Wurman, Founder of TED

More blurbs below.

My Background

I am a creative strategist with a long track record as an entrepreneur, retail merchant and brand builder. I founded the iconic REMO General Store in 1988; and co-founded the General Thinking network in 2001. I also enjoy a long and ongoing association with the TED Conferences in New York, and, since 2009, have been Licensee for TEDxSydney (at the Sydney Opera House), an annual flagship TEDx event which has become the leading platform and pipeline for the propagation of Australian ideas, innovation and creativity to the rest of the world.

Follow the links in the paragraph above if you'd like to know more.

About General Thinker

So, what's the book about?

General Thinker tells the stories and examines the experiences that have guided and shaped me along my path as a founder, entrepreneur and brand builder. I have experienced both great success and brilliant failure in my life to date; all the while learning lots about myself and others. This book is a personal memoir, but it's also about people, experiences and brands; and an ongoing exploration of what it takes to engage, delight and create desire.

It’s a book about work. It’s a book about love. It's about me, but also about you.

Here’s the Table of Contents. It will give you a sense of the journey that you’ll be taken on with General Thinker.

General Thinker Preview | Table of Contents
General Thinker Preview | Table of Contents

Layout & Format

The format of the book is unique and visually very engaging. Each of the 90 more-or-less chronological chapters is set out on a single double page spread, with words to the left and full colour associated images to the right. So, this book of visual memoirs tells my stories in a way that best suits my skills and preferences as a design communicator and merchant; and like the merchandise catalogues for which I was known back in the early 90s, it can be read chronologically, or randomly and in chunks. Whatever suits.

Set out below are some spreads … too small to read, but I just wanted to give you a sense of the book’s look and feel.

General Thinker Preview | Sample Spreads
General Thinker Preview | Sample Spreads

I want the content to be a surprise; but to give you a taste of the writing style, here are the words from Chapter [1] (thumbnail above top left):

Travelling Hopefully

I remember feeling optimistic.

It was late July 2001 in the middle of the North American summer. I was sitting with my wife Melanie and my kids Lola and Roman on the ferry that connects the town of Bayshore with the beachside communities of Fire Island just east of New York. We were heading to a tiny but special place called Lonelyville [59]. Until recently we had owned a house within this idyllic beachside community; the first piece of real property that Melanie and I had ever managed to own together. But soon after buying it, and for various reasons, we decided to shift our lives and the young family back to Sydney; so we needed to sell the house in Lonelyville in order to fund the move back home.

We’d been living in the US for almost four years, mostly in New York City, but prior to that in Silicon Valley. I had been working as a consultant Brand Strategist, a gun for hire “guru,” working mostly with Internet-related businesses. That was my day job. In parallel to this, I had been endeavouring to relaunch the REMO General Store online [54]. Despite a unique vision, my ongoing efforts to revive the venture, and a large number of high-powered advisors and supporters, REMO was still in the hibernation it had entered upon its untimely demise (for financial and administrative reasons) back in 1996 [49]. For more years than I care to recall I had been pitching venture capitalists, corporations and wealthy individual investors with my vision for a next generation webcentric REMO General Store, smart and profitable … but to no avail. The business was too quirky, the timing was never good. The rejections were countless [82]. However, a meeting taken in California with Maheesh Jain and Fred Durham, the founders of a print-on-demand T shirt business called Cafepress.com, just a few days before, had gently fanned my eternal REMO flame by revealing a way that might enable us to get a REMO T shirts website transactional for a very modest (and Melanie-approved) capital outlay.

So I felt optimistic.

Not only do I remember feeling optimistic, but I also remember coming to the realisation that this feeling of optimism was probably more important than whatever was going to happen. A feeling of optimism about the future, thankfully shared by Melanie, was delivering us a very high quality of life in the present. The outcomes of our endeavours were actually irrelevant to the quality of the lives we were living!

A few days later I spoke of this personal epiphany over the phone with a great friend and supporter in LA who rewarded me with this sage quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”

Ever since, I’ve tried to live life with this liberating truth very much in mind.

Advance Praise for General Thinker

Those that have seen the preview PDF have been really positive with their feedback. The people that helped out with the copy editing, some of whom were not so familiar with my background, told me that they felt gladdened and inspired by the stories.

And here is a selection of blurbs from some higher profile folk laid out for the back cover of the soon-to-be-printed version of General Thinker:

General Thinker | Back Cover
General Thinker | Back Cover

Project Background: Why Now?

The people who were close to me during the heyday of the REMO General Store (late 80s and early 90s) all sensed that we were playing a role in something special and quite epic; and it would often be said to me in the wake of something good or bad that had happened: “That’ll be a chapter for the book."

REMO People 1988 | The Adventure Begins | Remo in front with plunger
REMO People 1988 | The Adventure Begins | Remo in front with plunger

 Also, there have been other episodes in my life that I felt would be good stories in the telling e.g. the four year courtship of my wife Melanie, my stalking of Rupert Murdoch, or the “travelling hopefully” epiphany that I experienced while on a ferry to Fire Island. See above writing sample.

So, I guess that “the book” was always something that was going to happen one day.

Every five or so years for the past 10 or 15 years I have had a crack at it, deciding ultimately on each occasion that it wasn’t the right time. Then this year it all came together; thanks in part to a chance connection with Blurb Founder and CEO Eileen Gittins at the 2014 TED Conference. A simpatico Eileen felt that the time for General Thinker was nigh, and offered to help make it all happen.

She gave me just over a month to write and design it, and I duly complied. It’s amazing how quickly things flow when the timing is finally right.

Use of Funds

Much of the money raised will be used for printing General Thinker in full colour and on a nice 115gsm coated matt stock. We have opted for a trade book format (228mm tall by 152mm wide) with a flexibound cover and printed end papers. The 192 pages will be properly stitched and section sewn. And there’ll be a black ribbon marker to boot. It'll be a gorgeous thing. Nice to hold. The blank dummy feels really good.

I also need money to pay off all of the expenses that have accumulated during the development process, as I have drawn on many fronts for editorial, design and project planning. Any surplus funds raised will be used to promote and market the book so that as many people as possible all over the world become aware of its existence and appeal as we head into the traditional gift giving season.

The Rewards

Now the fun bit.

The rewards are all set out to the right. By and large everything is cumulative, the difference being the number of books you receive hot off the press. Here's a summary table followed by more information:

A$50 entitles you to a single book and a commemorative General Thinker kickstarters badge.

Any kickstarter who contributes over A$100 also receives a pack of Remo-curated ephemera AND a set of ten A4 posters, printed by Sydney's Digitalpress on BJ Ball Superfine Eggshell 270gsm premium stock. Yum.

Here's a photo of an indicative ephemera pack (contents will vary):

Indicative Pack of Remo Ephemera for all contributions over A$100
Indicative Pack of Remo Ephemera for all contributions over A$100

And here are the images that I have chosen for the posters:

General Thinker | Set of 10 A4 Posters
General Thinker | Set of 10 A4 Posters
Posters Packaging
Posters Packaging

 Any contribution over A$250 entitles you a copy of a commemorative hardcover version that Blurb are going to all sorts of trouble to make for us. It will contain your name printed on a patrons page at the back, with a dedication in your words in the front.

Also, any contribution over A$250 triggers the inclusion of a copy of one of our award winning REMO catalogues from the early 90s. This is what they were like. Look familiar?

Archival REMO Catalogues: 1989 to 1995
Archival REMO Catalogues: 1989 to 1995

Anyone kicking in over A$500 (Silver & Gold Patrons) gets invited to all of our launch parties. There'll be a big one in Sydney in the first week of November, and small events in other cities later on.

Sydney Launch Event at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
Sydney Launch Event at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

 Finally, Platinum Patrons contributing $5,000 get to engage with me personally in a quest to create a visual drawing aka "RemoGram" that the kickstarting patron would find useful in their work or life.

So there's a big range BUT ... for as little as A$10 you can be involved and enjoy the content. Everyone is welcome, and every little bit counts.

Indeed, as my then 9 year old daughter Lola said at the time, in reference to her 2004 Daisy Chain installation for Sydney's Sculpture by the Sea:

"I like daisy chains because you start with something little, and end up with something big."

 Read all about it in Chapter [67] ... of General Thinker!

That's all from me. Thanks so much for your attention.

Remo Giuffré
General Thinker | Bondi Beach
1 September 2014

Kickstarter video shoot with Peter Cramer and the team from The Milkbar in Sydney | Bondi | Monday 25 August 2014
Kickstarter video shoot with Peter Cramer and the team from The Milkbar in Sydney | Bondi | Monday 25 August 2014

Risks and challenges

There is minimal risk associated with this project. If the project is funded then, by definition, the books will be printed and will available for shipping to backers in November 2014.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $9

    Thanks! You will get a link enabling the download of an interactive PDF version of General Thinker.

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    Pledge AU$ 25 or more About $23

    Just interested in the content? You will be able to download both electronic versions of General Thinker: the interactive PDF and a version designed for the iPad.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $47

    Welcome to the real world. You will receive both of the above plus one printed copy of General Thinker hot off the press along with a commemorative General Thinker kickstarters badge. Total Value: $70. (NB: It'll cost you about this much to order a single shipped book in November. So, this is just really a pre-sale with some bonuses thrown in.)

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    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $93

    Now you're talking! All of the above along with an extra book (totalling two copies, and both of them SIGNED by the author) AND a set of ten A4 posters to keep or frame along with a goodie bag packed with cool ephemera and a General Thinker kickstarters badge. Total Value: $140

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    Pledge AU$ 250 or more About $233

    This is my favourite level. You receive all of the above along with an extra signed copy of the book (totalling three copies, one to keep and two to give away) plus a dedicated and signed copy of a commemorative hardcover version of General Thinker containing a page listing you as a Bronze Patron, along with a precious archival copy of an award winning REMO General Store catalogue.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $467

    Party time! You get everything as per the A$250 level along with an extra signed copy of the book (totalling four copies) and listing in the commemorative hardcover version as a Silver Patron. Finally, you will be invited to our launch event in Sydney in early November, and to all other launch events or book signings that we may organise in other cities of the world.

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    3 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $934

    Wow. Thanks! You get everything as per the A$500 level along with an extra copy of the book (totalling five copies) and listing in the commemorative hardcover version as a Gold Patron. I'll also throw in a surprise REMO branded product from the archive.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 5,000 or more About $4,669

    Forget what I said before about the $250 level. THIS is my favourite level. You are a true believer and a very generous patron. Along with your pack of ephemera, A4 posters set and the invitations to our launch events, I will send you 10 signed copies of General Thinker, and two copies of the commemorative hardcover version, dedicated to your instructions (where you will be lionised in print as a Platinum Patron at the very top of the totem). Finally, we will meet or talk with a view to providing you with an original RemoGram addressing an agreed aspect of your work or life.

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Funding period

- (30 days)