Cindy Gallop, the former chair of Bartle Bogle Hegarty in the US, was cited as an example of why weird people outperform normal people, at a South by Southwest talk on Monday.
Michael Lazerow, who co-founded marketing company Buddy Media, presented the talk, called "science of weird: why weirdos outperform normals". He named several people he knew personally that he considered weird and successful, including the hedge fund manager James Altucher, as well as Gallop.
Illustrating his point about Gallop, he showed a clip from her 2009 TED talk, called "make love not porn".
Lazerow used old conformity studies by Solomon Ash and Stanley Milgram to demonstrate the dangers of wanting to fit in, and added that we are the best species at following orders that has ever graced the earth.
He also railed against the US education system for following the bell-curve model and relying on grades, which he suggested destroyed children's interest in learning and the quality of their thinking.
Explaining why he thought weirdos were more successful, Lazerow said that odd people were self-directed, self-motivated and fearless, because they learn to listen to their gut.
Lazerow said it was "more dangerous than ever to fit in" and "conformity makes us commodity". In a poor economy it was more important to stand out and "weird gets remembered", he added.
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