Why I’ll never sell umbrellas for a living.
Every time it pours down rain in our fair New York City, a bunch of pop-up umbrella shops emerge on every street corner.
I used to give those hungry weather watchers a lot of credit. They are entrepreneurial enough to know that demand for umbrellas will spike under certain “market conditions,” so on a soggy day, they buy a bunch, mark ’em up 500% and make some extra cash.
But here’s the problem with their business model.
They can’t control when it’s going to rain.
These guys are opportunity entrepreneurs . . . they sit and wait until dumb luck puts their product at the top of their customer’s mind.
But who wants to wait for the weather?
There are opportunistic producers out there as well – but instead of waiting for rain, they spit out a show to take advantage of some random fad, or the flavor-of-the-month faux-celebrity wants to do something on a stage, so they cobble together a show. And they take advantage of which way the wind is blowing, and then when it blows the other way, they just try something else.
Just like the umbrella salesmen, it is possible to cobble together an ok living and career by being that guy.
But the best business models in the world . . . the best shows in the world . . . are the ones that people want, whether it’s raining or not. In fact, the best shows in the world, are the ones that could make an audience forget it was raining . . . even if it was held outside.
In other words, I don’t want to produce shows that are the result of the “weather.” I want my shows to be the weather.
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