It’s Remarkable I’m Still Walking…
Considering how many times I have shot myself in the foot. As a rule, creative people make poor businessmen. It’s called the Kahn rule, or at least it should be. Let’s go back….way back. My first show. I was seven. Two puppets, an original script, two bags of chips and a large bottle of Pepsi. Production cost and snacks came to four bucks. Admission was twenty-five cents. I sold seven tickets, and closed opening night…at a huge loss.
Here’s what I learned. Nobody was asking for a puppet show. I was pushing it on them. It was something they didn’t need or necessarily want. Nothing has changed. Success is usually attained when you fill a real need or want. 20 years later in 1975, I got my average up with Dietware. Way ahead of its time. People were overweight then too. I saw an opening to create a product that dealt with portion control. Dietware ™ was a set of plastic dishes. Half a dinner plate. Half a salad plate. Half a dessert plate. Half a mug. “Now your diet has half a chance” was the slogan, and it did quite well. More than enough to cover my puppet show loss, and get us a new home on Long Island.
Throughout my entire career, I always had the need to go outside my core competency and try things. There was my foray in to Broadway with “Little Rascals Live.” I partnered with Marty Richards (Producer of Chicago) Cy Coleman and Carol Bayer Sager (music and lyrics “Annie”) and Twentieth Century Fox. I really had to go out of my way to screw that up, but I did it. A longer story for another time. And then, back up again owning and launching the Double-Decker Bus business in New York in 1991. And then back down (one could get the bends) with the recent J-Bar (as in Subway’s Jared) a healthy chewy granola bar, which made it into test, stores just to be pulled willy-nilly by Subway. Ouch!
Point is, never give up. You don’t have to win them all. And it has been my experience that the successes linger and everybody forgets the non-successes (I don’t use the f-word). Lets look at it in baseball terms. You hit .300 lifetime, you make the Hall of Fame. When in reality, you didn’t hit .700….to which I say…batter up!