Positive and Negative Spaces
Bluestone and Abbeshire don’t get together without AE often, but on this day they are trying to get a few things straight between them before another flurry of activity happens around the second book. Both feel they’ve learned a thing or two around the first launch: Dan, based on what he saw happening in Orlando and New Orleans. Jan, based on conversations she has had with a variety of editors and writers. Jan and Dan are both astounded by the remarkable response the failure coach has received. Both have, however, assessed the situation differently. Dan believes it is a function of pure creativity by which the initial book was marketed and how AE seized the day. Jan is convinced that the reality is more calculated and that AE is the recipient of triumph because of the publisher’s prioritization. She believes the book and emerging philosophy therein are well timed. Jan and Dan agree on one thing: the success is remarkable and has propelled Alan Edgewater Failure Coach into popular culture even beyond business press. Jan is more fearful and cautious than Dan who looks at the good fortune as a wonderful ride. Both want to plan the next critical steps very carefully.
Together they view a video someone sent Alan. Alan wants to know if there is a place he might use something like this in one of his seminars. It’s about famous people who failed big and achieved great things in spite of it all. “ I get it, I get it,” says Jan. “Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Eminem, Dr. Seuss all experienced setbacks. So what?” Jan is playing Devil’s Advocate to Dan’s enthusiasm. “We’ve heard this before. Alan Edgewater can leverage these facts in creative ways to set the stage for a seminar and maybe even sell a few books, sure. What we need to be thinking about, though is: What makes Alan Edgewater unique? What is the appeal?”
Dan is quick to respond, “Jan, you should see what happens in a room full of people at one of the Failure Coach seminars. Alan has a kind of magic, not unlike a revival meeting or some other kind of spiritual experience. It comes without judgment. You don’t have to be saved or buy anything. Hell you don’t even have to buy a book. I know how you are Jan. You want tangible evidence. You want a hook for editors. Never mind the guy is a best-selling author. How about the crazy social media numbers we are just now starting to understand. Over a million views of the Orlando video! AEIOU and #epicfail blowing up on twitter! We don’t even know how many people have seen our Abe Lincoln poster but we do know #FailureCoach is driving traffic to the website we don’t even know what to do with… ”
Jan makes a time-out signal tapping her right hand on the fingertips of her left hand. Her diamond ring and the gesture get Dan’s attention. “Look, you are describing stuff we can’t control going forward. I’m all for taking chances with innovative uses of type, design, graphics, videos and social media cluster-f*#k but at the end of the day we have to be accountable…”
So it goes with Jan and Dan, the Abbeshire and Bluestone Show. Jan is linear and left brain and Dan is all about breakthrough creative. Jan wants metrics. Dan wants something cool that will get friends, shares, hits, views and/or drive traffic. Throw in an accountant and a lawyer and Bluestone feels as though he is pissing in the wind however. It isn't easy being Dan Bluestone. He has to accept all the common sense reasoning and he knows it. But he can see that Alan Edgewater, Coach Siena, Johnny Appleseed, Bob Fontenot and a whole lot of failure fans believe in the power of breakthrough ideas. Ideas that can come from looking at the world creatively.
“Come on Jan, humor me, will ya? When we meet with Alan, let’s see if we can go in as a unified team. I’ll continue to support the retainer and the editorial focus of PR if you endorse the video and graphics for the failure fans…We’ll give Laurie a proposed budget of $250,000 for a one year program…That’s gonna work out to like 60/40 budget split between us.”
“Dan, I love ya, but my 60 is fully accountable and your 40 is totally not. I like to think we are creative in what we do as we measure hours, output and placements weekly. You are kind of well known for going over budget on everything…”
“Okay, so it will be up to Alan to decide how he wants to fail: by a slow and painful bleeding or from a blunt force head trauma. Fading into the sunset or going down in a blaze of glory…”