Why So Emotional?

Had a fantastic, casual conversation with my boss yesterday. I'm really starting to LOVE this guy. He's so wise.

We were talking about the show Hamilton. His hoity-toity credit card allows him to purchase tickets at around $475 apiece (vs. $900-$2,900 retail). He asked my opinion of the show and, of course, I launched into an emotional tirade about how it's exploitative to charge what they're charging, is cost prohibitive for the couple in Topeka and most anyone who truly wants to see the show which is antithetical to what theatre is all about. I mentioned that I'd never see the show purely out of protest of the "for profit" model that has turned Broadway theatre into some exclusive "clique" that only the wealthy can afford. 

So he asks, "Taking away the ticket price, would you see the show?"

Me: "Absolutely."

Him: "If you were gifted a ticket, would you go?"

Me: "Nope, out of protest. I'd probably give it to one of my friends whom I know couldn't afford the ticket but really wanted to see the show."

I went on to say that I find it disgusting that the insane profits that are being collected from these ticket sales are likely not finding their way into the pockets of the actors in the show. They're going straight into the pockets of the (admittedly brilliant) producers who created the show and the tremendous groundswell that has made the show such a runaway success, albeit cost prohibitive for most.

Then my boss kinda blew my mind a bit. I'll summarize what he said.

Looking at it from a Venture Capital perspective, it sounds like the perfect storm. They took a hip, new concept, marketed it perfectly and created a runaway hit. The momentum created a product that people had to have and were willing to pay whatever it took to have it. That momentum continues to increase as the popularity increases and allows the show to expand with numerous touring companies fanning out across the US and, no doubt, into Europe and Asia. This creates more jobs and increases the longevity of the show. These additional touring companies also allow for lower ticket prices for the people who couldn't afford to see the first run of the show on Broadway. 

Look at it like the Tesla model. The first model out the gate was that $100K+ 2 seater model that only the rich could afford. It was cost-prohibitive for most and likely designed that way. It set the bar and exponentially increased interest in the brand. With each new product release, the price points decreased while continuing to increase the interest and inclusion in the brand. Now there are Teslas everywhere with even more affordable options in the pipeline. If you look at Hamilton through the same glasses you'll understand that this is actually a similar take on a different product model. Emotionally, I can understand how you feel this makes it difficult for the average person to take part in the hype surrounding the show. And it's true, they may not have the means to do so...right now. But in time, they will. And it will still be the same amazing show that it was at the start at a price that they can now afford.

OK. Wow. So I got a few huge epiphanies from this insight.

1. Emotion is the enemy of sound business decisions.

After we talked I really audited how emotionally biased and kinda blinded I was when describing my distaste for the exorbitant ticket prices, etc. I was behaving like a selfish, irate consumer and not seeing the bigger picture. While I was complaining about the exclusivity of the prices for the couple in Topeka, what I failed to see was that, in time, ANYONE who wanted to see Hamilton would be afforded the opportunity because of the insanity that exists now. By growing the profits of the show through the hype, this would allow the show to survive and thrive over the long term. Shows come and go. We know this. But the success of this show at this price point will create a longevity that will allow everyone the chance to see it. May not happen today, if your wallet can't support purchasing a $1,000 ticket. But give it a few months and you'll likely be taking an orchestra seat alongside someone just like you who waited to pull the trigger.

2. I think I understand one of those elusive "How To Become a Billionaire" keys to success.

While I was having this conversation with my boss, I could almost sense that he was a little taken aback at how emotional and passionate I was being when describing why I was boycotting the show on "principal." He was incredibly calm and inquisitive and it made me realize that I've had this mindset for quite awhile now....that may have actually been detrimental to my success as an entrepreneur or even as an EA.

As he was describing his "Venture Capital perspective" to me, it really made sense. While I was so busy being offended and distracted by ticket prices the show was actually doing exactly what it was intended to do. Grow, diversify and evolve to the point where ticket price was no longer an issue. It was "using" those who could afford the exorbitant prices to build the groundswell so that the remaining stages could occur over time. 

My mindset, if I were a producer on Hamilton, would have stopped this lifecycle cold, because I'd be too concerned with the Topeka couple seeing it NOW, vs. in a few months after the show had grown and evolved to the point where other Topeka couples could see it as well. But the Topekans aren't the ones who could grow the show financially. It's the ones who can and willingly pay the exorbitant prices for immediate access who do.

The mindset of a billionaire isn't based in emotion. Like, at all. In fact, emotion is clearly a success killer. Yes, it does come into play at some point, but to keep it at bay 99.5% of the time appears to serve you much better than allowing it to cloud your judgment and direct your focus too far into the "now" vs. the "what could be." 

EPIPHANY: Emotion stalls you in the NOW. And will affect your ability to see (and profit from) the bigger picture of what could be.

This has literally been one of those life changing nuggets that I will apply RIGHT NOW to my business goals. A tactical approach, sans emotion, that focuses on the big picture is one of the keys to truly being successful in business.

Just had to share.

(Full disclosure: I was a professional singer/songwriter for over 18 years and performed in numerous regional and national musical theatre productions for over 20 years.)


Phoenix Normand