supermensch-the legend of shep gordon

10 Business Lessons From The Amazing Supermench, Shep Gordon


Supermench, the legend of Shep Gordon. So I’m listening to the Timothy Ferriss Podcast and this guy who Tim’s about to interview has one of the coolest introductions, Shep’s done a lot. He’s cooked for His Holiness the Dali Lama, entertained who’s-who of Hollywood, and managed some of the most amazing musical acts, then the most amazing chefs in the world. He was a brilliant story teller and had accomplished so much. He seemed content, I wanted to know more. So i bought the book, They Call Me Supermench: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll. This post is inspired by the book. I highly recommend it. Entertaining, funny, and thought-provoking, one of my favourite books this year.

This quote pretty much sums up Shep.

hero

Shep Gordon is one of my hero’s, here are a few reasons why.

1. Create history.

Don’t wait for it to happen, you can create history. Most people believe all you have is what you’re dealt, like you can change your future if you want to. What a lie! Create history. When Shep first started managing his first artist, Alice Cooper, these were his marching orders, to create history. Quite literally working with Alice they didn’t try to “market” Alice Cooper, he didn’t “advertise” Alice Cooper. No that’s what the other managers would do, if he really wanted to stand out he needed to create history. 

Whether it was wrapping an album in Panties or shooting Alice Cooper out of a cannon, Shep tried nearly everything. The first time Alice was to play in the UK they needed a really aggressive stunt as ticket sales were nonexistent. Shep got a flatbed truck with a giant billboard on the back displaying Alice wearing nothing by a large snake. Oh and he paid the driver handsomely to ensure the truck “broke down” several times in Piccadilly Square downtown London during rush hour. The driver was subsequently arrested, but they sold the show out! Create history. 

Or the time that they promised to shoot Alice out of a cannon on stage in Pittsburgh. The problem was the cannon didn’t work. The night before the big show, Shep invited media to a “pre-concert party” where they were going to demo the cannon shot, how exciting! Shep was up to something, because when the cannon fired, Alice (or a dumby, who knows!) fired but only went ten feet. Panic strikes, the star is injured! Rush him to the hospital!

On the news you’d hear of the “accident” and how Alice was hurt with “non-life threatening” injuries. He played the show the next night in a wheel chair with hospital staff on stand-by if anything should go wrong. But how could it? It was all staged, Alice wasn’t hurt at all. It worked perfectly.

Create history, don’t wait for it to happen.

Create history

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Dear Montréal, We’re Stealing Mural Festival. Sincerely, The City of Regina.

Dearest Montréal,

We here on the prairies have grown quite fond of some of the pleasantries your fine cultured citizens have the pleasure of enjoying year on year. We feel it is our duty to inform you that we will be politely (and with the utmost respect) be stealing your Mural Festival as well as a few other ideas from your wildly addictive city.

Your streets are nothing short of beautiful. We intend to do the same to our fair city in due time.  Not only do I want to steal the idea of the Mural Festival, I want to take back to Regina a few other parts of Montréal.

Thank you Montréal for your cooperation and willingness to share in your Mural Festival. We from the City of Regina (unofficially), thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

A Regina citizen that appreciates your fine city.

First of all Montréal is 375 years old, yeah that’s older than our country! So you can assume Montréal is doing something right, otherwise it wouldn’t be around. There’s a lot of history there, a lot of history this author had no idea about. The people are proud of their rich cultural heritage, far more than I witness on the prairies. It’s about time to start that rich, cultural, artistic, prairie heritage.

If we want to become a major destination in Canada we need to believe we can be a major destination in Canada.

What you want? CHEESEBURGER!! CHEESEBURGER!!

They Get Hospitality and Customer Service – fast service is a win-win

You don’t wait for meals very long at all. Be it crêpes, burgers, or a famous smoked meat sandwich, the service in most places in Montréal was remarkable. They are FAST! Sometimes you are served literally in minutes after ordering. This is a huge win-win! The restaurants like to have more people through their doors and customers don’t want to stay in one place too long. Serving meals fast is a way to impress customers and help your bottom line!

The “cooler” the dining experience the better your odds of success

Montréal really gets outdoor dining. Patios, terraces, tables in the middle of nowhere, some of the most romantic places to share a meal with someone are in the most unique places. We can easily steal this idea. We just need to talk to the City of Regina about allowing dining establishments more leniency on “where” they can setup tables to serve you. “Creating Instagramable Moments”.

Does It Cost To Get In? Nope.

Never short on fun (free) things to do 

We went on a Tuesday till a Saturday and there was the Mural Festival, The Francofolies Festival, as well as a beer fest going on near by. They were all free to attend. That means the organizers must have some great funding to be able to put on acts like that throughout the week. The Mural Festival was an entire street blocked off and shops, restaurants, and artistic acts lining the way. Amazing art pieces now cover the not so boring concrete jungle most cities become.

There’s a free app called Cite Memoire that tells the history of old Montréal in 22 different projections telling the history of Montréal.  Some of these projections were literally hundreds of feet in the air and you could only see them after a certain at night (had to check the app). They were breathtaking. Talk about “creating Instagramable moments” what a smart idea!

 

cite memoire

Got street art?

It’s beautiful just to walk around, the Street Art is amazing

Many of the most spectacular ones were from last year and 2015, Mural Festival is a way to keep making your city more artistically beautiful. The amount of tourists walking around snapping pictures of the Murals was also amazing (guilty!). What a brilliant way to make your city more beautiful, once a year hold a “mural fest” invite famous artists from around the world, and BOOM, every year there are more places with stunning art for everyone to enjoy.

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Eddy and Tina Swinging with the stars

How To Raise $100,000 In One Night 

You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose site of the shore.

Swinging with the stars

I met her a couple years ago, she was an outgoing student with a smile you could pick out a mile away. Kelsey Stewart is an inspiration to me, here’s why. 

Kelsey works at Hope’s Home in Regina. She came to us a few (just 4) months before the big event saying, “I got this idea…”. We instantly loved it. Though a bit courageous trying to pull it all off in such a short time frame. Why not wait till next year and plan out a “proper” event? Kelsey proved you DON’T need years to plan one of these events, you just need, well, Kelsey.

We had worked on Swinging With The Stars in Saskatoon. The firm we worked with spent two years planning their event, Kelsey had four months. FOUR MONTHS!!! The folks in Saskatoon had done it before, Kelsey and the Hope’s Home team have never tried it before. After our first meeting I still remember saying to Brandon that “she’s crazy and that’s definitely not enough time to pull it off!!”. That’s exactly why we wanted to help.

Parkinson’s Law

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“I Can Get It Cheaper” 

Few phrases say more about an individual than those five words. So much is communicated when one judges a product or service based on the price alone.

The fact that you can find anything these days for a cheaper price shouldn’t come as a surprise. The surprising part is people still use price as a major factor in decision making, when they verbalize their frugal attitude it labels them.

1. When you say the words “I can get it cheaper” you seem, well, cheap. 

We don’t look up to cheap people. Do you have a friend or family member brag about a “deal” they got at Walmart? Probably not because that’s not something to brag about. We look up to people who are generous, who don’t count the change after some one gives it to them, who tips more than they should, who doesn’t make a big deal about money ever. Those are the people I look up to.

In the creative field you can always find someone who’s willing to do what you do for a cheaper price, but that price comes with a cost.

Just because it costs less at first it may end up costing you a whole lot in the long run. I find in my old age I’d rather pay a good price for something and get a great product in return. Every now and then when cutting costs you get burned. Ever buy something just because it was cheap? Tennis balls, never buy the cheap tennis balls, I’d much rather pay more for a better quality ball.

Pizza, sure you can get cheap pizza but c’mon Sparky’s isn’t even that much more but the taste!!

As a kid it was hockey sticks. You could buy a cheap stick at Superstore but it won’t last long.

I wrote about this 7 years ago, labeled it as “Walmart Culture” cheapest prices for the cheapest products, it wasn’t sustainable. Now in 2017 it has become extremely apparent some people will always use price as their major deciding factor.

price is a calculation value is a feeling

Price is a calculation, value is a feeling.

Be careful not to confuse the two, value is a much bigger topic for another day.

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Why stratlab doesn't have a ceo president or formal boss

Why Stratlab Doesn’t Have a CEO, President or Formal Boss 

the starfish and the spiderWe at Stratlab are growing a “Starfish” organization, stolen from Ori Braffman’s the Starfish and the Spider, the story of leaderless organizations.

I don’t believe the future is in an organizational chart that dictates a clear divide between management and employees. The future is a leaderless organization. An organization that doesn’t need constant management, an organization where you’re free to make decisions on your own, we hope they are good ones but we know we can’t control that.

What we can control is how StratLab grows as a Starfish, by taking on bigger and better (more impossible) problems. To do this structure is a hindrance to true creative brilliance hence why at Stratlab we have as few rules a humanly possible.

The starfish and the spider

The current way to organize a business with Executives, Management and Employees dates back to the 1600’s

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Imagine if you could

My Favourite Business Book of All Time

Maverick written by Ricardo Semler in Brazil published in 1993. A transformational business book from start to finish. Completely counter what you’d come to expect from a Ricardo Semler MaverickBrazilian industrial tycoon. I think Mr. Semler is one of the most thought-provoking, honest, most humble leaders I’ve ever come across.

Semco, a heavy duty industrial manufacturer has no rules to live by. You pick your own hours, pick your own pay, pick your own vacation times, heck you even vote on your own managers regularly! Twice a year you fill out a 30 question questionnaire about your management and division you work in.

No one has a long term contact. No one is employed longer than 6 months. Everyone’s salary is openly known by anyone who cares to know.

Semco is the most democratic company I’ve ever read about, and they did it in a 1980’s Brazilian economy. Not the beacon of sought after economies you once thought, on the contrary, Brazil was avoid by many businesses because of the government, high inflation rates, and a fast growing unpredictable future. It’s astounding what Ricardo and Semco accomplished during this period in Brazil.

How did they get it so right?

Ricardo lucked out in a sense, his father build a multi-million dollar company. He became of age and realized it would never last in its current state. Plus the fact that second generation wealth is squandered 70% of the time, Ricardo had to make a gamble.

He was courageous in his decisions but the theme throughout his career and the book was that he cared (and still cares) dearly about people. It’s so refreshing to see in someone like him in a leadership role, putting people before profits.

Telling, forcing, commanding, never works. Inspiring, helping, listening, always does.

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Why You Won't See Any Blouses or Ties at the Stratlab Office

Dress Code? Nah. Why You Won’t See Any Blouses or Ties at the Stratlab Office 

In Ricardo Semler’s Maverick he tells the story about the first few times he came in on a weekend. The first thing he noticed “people dress differently when they come in on the weekend, why is that?”. They did it to be more comfortable. But don’t we want everyone to be comfortable when they are working all week long?

The dress code era at Semco was ended.

The executive dealt with the obvious backlash. “What if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way someone is dressed in a meeting?” Ricardo’s answer; “if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way one of our employees ‘looks’ then that’s probably someone we shouldn’t be doing business with”. Wow, that’s leadership.

Isn’t that simple? Why do you try to make your staff conform? Because you’ve always done that? That’s not a good reason why. Ask your staff, what they think, you may stumble upon a smart way to make your company culture better.

The original dress code disobeyer

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what are you looking for a job a career or a calling

What Are You Looking For; a Job, Career or a Calling?

From John Mackey’s Conscious Capitalism he sums up what the vast majority of people are looking for when it coming to work.

A job, a career, or a calling.

a job

A Job

We’ve all had a job. We’ve all hated a job. 

A job is what we first want when we’re young. Mostly for means to an ends. We want cash money. We treat the job as such, we don’t get too attached, we try to do just a good enough job not to get fired. There are many people in this world that simply work at a job. It’s not fulfilling, they don’t love the organization they work for, and when another “job” comes along that seems similar but pays better, they’re gone fast than you can say “do you want fries with that?”

a career

A Career

A career is a little different. Like a longer, well-paid boring job.

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If Vacuum Cleaner Sales People No Longer Exist How The Hell Do They Sell Vacuums

If Vacuum Cleaner Sales People No Longer Exist How The Hell Do They Sell Vacuums?

Ask Dyson or Roomba.

You don’t sell by selling anymore, you sell by doing something different.

Different enough to get someone to talk about you. That’s it. Not different to be goofy, no, different to be top-of-mind in your market space. That spot is left to the most innovative companies in the world, and you can do it too.

Vacuum cleaner sales people no longer exist. At one time what a great profession! Think about it, you choose your own hours, you get exercise while working, you get to meet new people all the time and you choose how much money to make. Based on the amount of hours you put in, you can make a lot in a very little amount of time.

You can see why many people went into this profession, good wages, fun work, what more could you ask for. The better you could manipulate sell people on a vacuum, the more money you were to make. The problem is that way of thinking doesn’t work anymore.

i am the future

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the worlds great lie-achievement is greater than fulfillment

The World’s Biggest Lie: achievement is greater than fulfilment

​The World’s biggest lie according to Tony Robbins, “achievement is greater than fulfilment.”

On the Tim Ferriss Podcast with Tony Robbins, Tony goes off on an amazing but very thought provoking tangent.

fulfillment is greater than achievement

Fulfillment is greater than achievement.

His theory of what’s wrong with society is that we continuously put achievement before fulfillment. We’re always looking for the next big thing, the next toy, house, car, or vacation. Nothing is ever good enough and you’re destined to die a lonely death.

Tony talks about Robin Williams and how he asks about Robin to crowds all over the world. Everywhere Tony goes he says 98% of the crowd LOVES Robin Williams, the other 2%? He makes fun of them too.

He asks crowds about Williams because he trying to make a point. Robin Williams of all people had it all, he’d won every award in his field, he was widely regarded as one of the best comedians and actors of his generation. Then Tony get’s mad. “And what did Robin after all of those achievements? He hung himself. He still wasn’t good enough in his mind.” 

We have a duty in the life to help others. One major way is to focus on fulfillment and forget achievement. How can you do this? It’s hard to forget about achievement, we’re built to want ti achieve. It makes us feel good, it’s an ego boost. But the problem with achievement is that it can get addicting, you can want it at all costs, sacrificing things you never would have. Eventually simply focusing on achievement will lead you to disappointment.

The wise owls always worry about fulfillment before achievement, for achievement is but a fleeting emotion, fulfillment feeds the soul.

Fulfillment is sustainable. Fulfillment is that feeling that makes you smile when you wake up in the morning and the reason you’re happy falling asleep. It’s challenging, it’s spiritual, it’s something personal, it’s your journey. It has nothing to do with anyone else, it’s your art and only you know if you’re putting in 110% all the time. When you do, you’ll get a weird feeling of contentment.

Fulfillment is greater than achievement

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