Don’t get caught in your wet suit.

Part of the documentary I’m shooting involves interviews with celebrities that work in difficult industries, face failure every day, but never give up, despite long odds and longer hours.

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Seth Godin, Dr. David Sidransky, Doyle Brunson, “Rudy”, and more (You’re going to love these things when we’re done).

I also wanted to interview the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  I knew it was a long shot, but hey, the risk/reward ratio was pretty good.  It took me about 3 minutes to shoot an email off to the press dept., and if it got through, it’d be like hitting the lottery on my birthday after getting an opportunity to invest in a tour of Wicked.  In my pitch letter, I made sure they understood that we could do the interview in as little as 15 minutes.

Two days later, I got an email back from Google’s press department saying that Larry and Sergey’s schedule “leaves next to no time for media opportunities.”

Hmmmm, really?  Not even 15 minutes?  Sounds like a “He’s Just Not That Into Me” excuse to me.  I would have much rather the truth, because I don’t care if you founded Google or you founded America . . . everyone has 15 minutes if you want to give it.

So . . . I couldn’t let them get away that easy.  🙂

I FedExed Larry and Sergey a copy of The 4 Hour Work Week, which teaches readers how to be more effective with time management, so they have more time to do the things they want to do, while still making googles of dollars.  (I also just happened to know that they had hired the author of 4 Hour, Timothy Ferriss, to speak to their employees.)

I included a letter that quoted their press rep’s response, and told them I was sending them the book “to help put a little more space in your week.  You’ve given me Google.  I’m giving you time.  Seems only fair.  When you’re done reading it, give me a call so we can set up the interview.”

And guess what happened???  Guess who just called me?????

Ok, truth is . . . they didn’t.  But wouldn’t it have been cool if they did?

Think I was too much of a smart a$$?  Think I was risking pi$$ing off powerful people?  Think they really are too busy and that their time is really too tight???

Look at the photo below . . . it was featured in an article in the NY Times last week about how Google missed profit expectations (That’s Sergey in the wet suit.  It looks like that suit is the only thing that’s tight for Sergey).

It’s ok that they didn’t want to do the doc.  You’re going to get lots of people telling you they don’t want to be a part of your projects.   When Google isn’t interested, go to Yahoo, and then AOL . . . and you’ll find someone eventually who you connect with.  Keep googling.

But when the situation is reversed, and people are asking you for things?  Make sure the people doing the talking for you aren’t blowing smoke up your server.

Tell people you’re not interested.  And tell them why.  The truth always comes out, and you don’t want to feel like you’ve been caught without a wet suit.


  • jane says:

    Sorry to ruin your analogy, but I’m pretty sure he is wearing a cycling jersey, and not a wet suit.

  • Adam says:

    My mother used to call these people “gargoyles” because their sole pleasure in life was refusing to grant access to their bosses. The problem is that many of them have no idea of who rates and who doesn’t.
    David Spade parodied this type on SNL: “And you would be . . .?” “Jesus Christ” “And he would know you from . . .?” “The Bible” “Well, then Jesus, why don’t you just have a seat over there . . .”.
    I’m sure Ken has his own list of anecdotes. I certainly have mine, including Julia Roberts being turned away from Tavern on the Green (the publicist never heard of her) and Tino Martinez being refused admittance to a post-World Series party by a “security guard” thug who was only letting in pretty girls, but not actual players for the New York Yankees.
    A few years back, “Spy” magazine tried a test. They created a fictitious “Wayans brother”, Tito Wayans, and a fictitious “Baldwin brother”, Michael Baldwin, and called various publicists to see if they could get either, both or neither on various guest lists.

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