If you’ve never been in the advertising or TV businesses, this is a useful intro. This is the part where ~60 billion dollars from brands moves through the hands of the agencies, who give it to the networks. $60 billion a year.
This is not done with spreadsheets and algorithms. It’s done with parties, alcohol, steak, and big musical numbers —all at a scale you’d find shocking. I like all those things (not musical numbers). But I don’t confuse them with the conditions necessary to understand a product, evaluate a risk, or do business.
We live in a moment where inefficiencies are smoothing out quickly. The upfronts were born in a moment where it was legitimately difficult to exchange information without convening a crowd. But those days are over, for better and worse. It would be like bringing a bunch of insanely overpaid actors to the NYSE to pretend they still trade stocks there. Oh, wait.
This is the part of the story where everyone just keeps doing what they’ve been doing. Not because it makes any sense, but because they don’t know what else to do.
The parts of the story that come after that part are usually sort of sad.
The Wantrepreenur, the Glory getter Wannabe-Steve-Jobs’. They want the admiration, the envy, the success. They’re just not willing to do anything to jeopardize that dream. Mounting an all out effort for revenue and failing would kill that dream. So don’t ask those users who say they will pay to pay. Don’t knock on doors. Keep playing in the pitch contests and keep talking to the press.
The Entrepreneur are more like Job from the story of Job in the Bible. They’re in it for their faith in the product, for thier belief in their vision. They’re willing to endure without the need for instant gratification. They know that they’re faith will be affirmed when they generat profitable revenue. When they can prove they’ve built a real living thing…. a business…. a revenue generator.
They’re not play acting. They’re the real thing. They’re willing to suffer without glory in the faith that they’re hard work will persevere.