The Experience Experience

Mark Hurst is founder of the consultancy Creative Good. He also hosted Good Experience Live 2004. In his introduction to GEL, he addressed the idea of what “experience” really means. What follows is a partial transcript of his remarks:

Those of you who were here last year know that I took a road trip across the country and really had an experience of place. The idea of GEL was born around that time. In the year since, I’ve been thinking about this question: Where exactly is experience? A lot of people are talking about experience in a number of different ways.

Here is a lovely resort called Mohonk. It’s a “landmark experience.” Equinox gym is simply “experience.” Are you ready for a unique fitness experience? Avis makes sure every customer has the “best experience.” Earthlink promises to accelerate your Internet experience with dial-up access. The Silver Star Restaurant is an amazing dining experience. In Midtown we have the RCS Computer Experience. It’s just a computer store, people. The Mets ask you to experience it. The New York Times Magazine had a foldout ad that asked me to experience somnia. The humble Dannon yogurt carton encourages you to create your own yogurt experience.

It’s not always the word “experience” that creates the experience. What if it wasn’t called an experience? Would it still feel as good? So I took the word “experience” out of the examples. What did I conclude? You don’t always have to call it an experience for it to be an experience. At GEL 2004 we’re trying to create a good, direct experience for you. Throughout the day, think about what you’re experiencing and enjoy it. I hope it’s good.