Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume #95 - January 2014

Yep, here it is, another new year, another blank slate, another fresh opportunity.  Bring it on 2014!

December was a fantastic way to end 2013.  Here are a few highlights and lowlights:

  • Weather played a big role in early December as a major ice storm hit Dallas, causing the cancellation of an entire day of programs for one of our favorite clients.  The streets were sheets of ice and power was out all over the city.  At the spectacular Galleria Mall, only 10 stores were able to open, and that’s during the Christmas season!  It took us 6 ½ hours to make the drive from Dallas to Austin (usually 3 ½ hours).  It was the only cancelled program we had in all of 2013.  We were so disappointed.
  • Why We Love the Movies had a great crowd of 500 at the historic Lakewood Theater in Dallas.  The expanded program was a huge success and the client graciously gave me 2 hours!
  • Off to Iowa to teach our customer service program A Step Ahead to a great group of client-contacting team members.  The results met with such success that we are currently planning two additional classes for 2014.
  • Our newest program, The DNA of Success, is now complete and ready for our January client.  I want to thank all the leaders who graciously shared their time and knowledge for our study.

The first quarter of 2014 has tremendous opportunities with two custom programs ready to roll for two separate clients, The DNA of Success hitting the market in Austin, and The Once Upon a Time Project, The Idea Factory, and Repeatable Successful Acts all in play in January!

By the way, the “2013 Top 10 and Bottom 5 Movie List” is ready to go.  If you want a copy, send me an email and I will get it to you.

"Me, I want to live with my feet in Dixie and my head in the cool, cool North."

[Jimmy Buffett, Nothin But A Breeze]

The idea of dichotomy, of two non-overlapping parts that are mutually exclusive, is a problem when looking for patterns in a system.  In our latest platform, The DNA of Success, we encountered two of these seemingly opposing ideas in the same behavior! 

The DNA of Success is the latest program based on the principles we used to develop our most successful program in Creative Ventures history, Repeatable Successful Acts (RSA).  We were able to interview over 40 business leaders from seven different industries, using our Narrative Arc tool to identify the patterns they shared that led to their success.  There are 11 DNA success components in the platform.

Here is one of the DNA behaviors:  The Rule of Immensities.

Successful leaders have the ability to think big.  They understand scale when it comes to ideas and actions.  Though they retain a healthy respect for risk, they are able to manage the potential dangers of making bold decisions.  At the same time, they think small.  These leaders understand that to embark upon grand ideas, you need to take small, significant, and focused steps... small within immense.

Seven years ago Peter Gelb took over the New York Metropolitan Opera, which was on the verge of bankruptcy with an aging core audience and rapidly declining attendance.  His immense idea was to make opera vibrantly relevant to a new audience.  Gelb put together a grand plan to  reimagine opera.  His plan:

  • Open dress rehearsals to the public for FREE.
  • Create stunning staging that would rival the visual impact of movies.
  • Film the performances in HD and broadcast them to movie theaters for a fraction of the price of the live performance.
  • Modernize the stories and add readable subtitles.
  • Beam performance to Times Square.  Yeah, Times Square.

Gelb knew that the plan was bold and full of risk, but in order to bring the Met back to glory, a plan of immensities was needed.  He also knew that to makes something so big happen, he had to attack it in small steps.  One completed step leads to the next, to build upon and leverage existing success.  You couldn’t sell movie theaters on showing opera if the performances weren’t grand in scale.  Attack a plan of immensities with small, strategic steps.  This behavior lives in a dichotomous world of big and small, grand and impactful, focused and glorious!

So great leaders think big and attack small.  Look at your plans and find room for wars of immensities and battlefields of little steps!  The DNA of Success is poised to challenge our RSA platform.

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
[Vincent Van Gogh]


WELCOME BACK, BLACK-FOOTED FERRETS:  This is the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most successful pieces of legislative ever passed.  The act has saved hundreds of species, including the bald eagle, the American alligator, Florida panthers, sea otters, pumas, and manatees.  The little black-footed ferret, believed to be extinct, was discovered in 1981 to have a small group of 18 living in Wyoming.  At that time, it was the rarest mammal on earth.  Though still endangered, about a 1000 of them have now been reintroduced in 8 states.  Pretty good stuff!


A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND:  Madison Square Garden is the home of basketball’s Knicks and Liberty and the NHL Rangers.  It is now also home to a new franchise, Mr. Billy Joel.  Joel will be playing three concerts at the storied venue (all sold out) and is getting ready to add a fourth.  He plans on playing the Garden as long as there is a demand.  Joel has not performed a live show since 2008 and is ready to hit the stage, minus the traveling.  Billy Joel is a NY boy and the Garden is like home away from home.  This is following the idea found in many of the Las Vegas venues that have superstars as home performers.  Watch for other extended acts anchoring other venues around the country.


STAY CLASSY, RON BURGUNDY:  The marketing campaign designed around Anchorman II has truly been a work of strategic art!  Perhaps the best example of the unique market positioning was Paramount’s brilliant idea of having the fictional Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) co-host the evening news at KX News in western North Dakota.    From a small market TV station to an overnight national story, this creative idea was only part of the Burgundy express.  Dodge car commercials and the hilarious ESPN interview with Peyton Manning were also part of well-orchestrated plan that had Burgundy literally everywhere!  The idea of using the character in such creative methods may well be the model of the future and something we can all learn from.

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Office: 512-712-5279

Steve Harvill • • Cell: 972-345-9480
Colin Harvill • • Cell: 214-794-1777