30: Advice from Todd McFarlane
Lower the bar
Todd McFarlaneis the creator of the comic characters Spawn and Venom. He’s had a best selling comic line, a best selling toy line, an Emmy award and a Grammy award. And is a part owner of the third largest comic publisher, Image Comics. Spawn is also the longest running creator owned comic of all time.
For someone who’s achieved so much, it might be surprising when asked for advice on succeeding in the ideas business, he said.
“Lower the bar.”
“Tell yourself today will NOT be perfect!”
“The only person in the world out of 8 billion who’s going to wake up today thinking I’m going to make my like better is me.”
“Expect someone’s going to cut you off and get in your way. Expect if you don’t play golf for 3 years and one day you go and play, you’re not going to be good”
The point is to lower the bar so these challenges that inevitably come, don’t weigh you down. Because luck and success depends a lot on shots on goal. And you need attitudes that help you keep going.
Another example of lowering the bar is. If an order come is for 100k units of toys, Todd would talk them down to 40K units. Because there’s two ways to sell 60K toys.
One is you sell 40k and sell out and the buyer has to reorder another 50% to make it 60K - That’s called a Success!
Or you can sell them 100K and they only sell 60K and that’s seen as a failure.
In both cases you sold 60K toys, but the one with the lower bar is the success.
Narrow the gap
Do your best, but don’t expect everything to go as planned. Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. You will get punched in the face. Expecting the punch will help you deal with it.
And some days no one cuts you off, and no one gets in your way, an no one tells you, NO! Rare, but it happens, that will be a surprisingly good day.
Thanks for writing these little notes Adam. This one really hit the spot for me. I enjoy seeing them pop into my inbox and the little nuggets you share ❤️