About this project
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.
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.
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.
I want the content to be a surprise; but to give you a taste of the writing style, here are the words from Chapter  (thumbnail above top left):
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 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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:
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."
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.
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):
And here are the images that I have chosen for the posters:
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?
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.
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  ... of General Thinker!
That's all from me. Thanks so much for your attention.
General Thinker | Bondi Beach
1 September 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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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