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business blog Feb 11, 2020

This week’s Friday Fav is one of my favorite books:


Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff

Business Brilliant covers stories of entrepreneurs like Guy Liliberté who turned a measly little traveling group into what we all know today as the over 2.5 billion dollar traveling circus, Cirque de Soleil.

It also talks about topics like 'Modest Goal Making' - the idea that many people set goals too low so there's no chance of failure. But in turn, they churn out modest work, make a modest living and don’t really ever reach their full potential.

My favorite chapter was about negotiation and the story of Adam McKay - former head writer at SNL.

McKay was one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade but didn't have much TV experience when he was hired on SNL.

After a few years of the intense long hours and creative battles with Lorne Michaels - the show's creator - McKay was itching to branch out and do his own thing. He wanted to move to LA and pursue his dream of being a comedy screenwriter and director.

At the time his agent, acutely aware of how tough LA could be, strongly advised against it recommending that he try to hold out just a few more years to gain more experience.

So McKay attempted to renegotiate his contract with some pretty intense demands.

As head writer he no longer wanted to attend production meetings.

He wanted to keep his on-air credit.

He also wanted a separate budget to make short comedy videos and be left alone to write and direct them.

Believe it or not Lorne Michaels agreed to all his requests and a few years later, McKay made his move to California.

Adam McKay has gone on to write and direct some of the biggest comedy films of the past ten years; the Anchorman franchise, Talladega NightsStep Brothers & The Big Short.

The Power in Being Uninterested

Even though Adam McKay stayed at SNL when he had originally wanted to leave, it was actually a win-win for him.

Instead of moving to Los Angeles and trying to break into filmmaking with little experience in making movies, he basically got paid to learn how to make short comedy films with some of the most talented comedic actors in the industry. Plus he kept his title, pay and on-air credit.

What worked in McKay’s favor was the “Least - Interest Principle”; basically whomever has the least interest in the relationship, deal, etc holds the most negotiating power.

in whatever you’re negotiating; pay rates, schedules, contracts; it’s helpful to first ask yourself how badly you want whatever it is that you’re negotiating and pick what is the most important to you.

If you’re negotiating for a higher title and more money and could only walk away with one, which would you prefer?

If you’re working out contract details with a client and they want the work done in a shorter time frame, ask yourself what’s the cost of working double time for yourself and more important, is it worth it to you?

We Don't Get What We Don't Ask For

It seems like a simple concept, but if you don’t ask for something - chances are slim you’re going to get it.

In fact, one of the most interesting takeaways from Business Brilliant was a study about the 7.6% pay difference men and women who held MBA’s were making.

After further investigation, it was found that only 7% of women attempted to negotiate upon being hired whereas 57% of men did.

What?! Men ask 50% more times than women do??

For some reason it’s been imprinted in our heads that we’ll come off as too demanding or bossy if we ask for what we want or try to change the terms presented to us but let’s think about this.

Unless we created the terms in the first place, the terms are set by the other person/party we’re negotiating with which means most likely... they’re heavily weighted in their favor.

So how is that an equal playing field? The only way to make it an equal playing field is to speak up!



Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self Made Business Icons

Adam McKay

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