A lesson for all Broadway Producers from Blackberry.

blackberry broadwayLike so many others, there was time when I was addicted to my Crackberry.

I can still hear the click-click-click of those keys.  And the only time my thumbs were in better shape was in 1988 when I was playing a lot of Super Contra on Nintendo (up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-select-start).

Blackberry monopolized the market.  It was the generic term for phone/email device.  If you were cool and in business, you had a Blackberry.  Period.

But then the iPhone happened.  And then the Android happened.

And then, Blackberry went bust.

Last week, Blackberry reported a loss of nearly 1 billion buckaroonies (!), announced they were laying off about 40% of their remaining staff, and most significantly, said they were putting their business in reverse . . . and going from public to private.

What happened???  They were on the top of their game!  They were walking around in the best suits and the biggest cars thinking their financial future was guaranteed!  (Sounds kind of like MySpace, doesn’t it?)

Well, they got out-innovated.  And they failed to develop new products to keep their audiences happy (Ironically, Apple may be facing the same issue in the next couple of years, if the iPhone doesn’t keep up with Samsung – I know I just switched to the Galaxy, and I appeared in this!).

I’ve seen the same thing happen to many a Producer.  And I don’t want it to happen to you.  Big hits don’t last forever.  And medium hits don’t last that long at all.  You may be the toast of the town one day (literally), and the next you may be wondering why they won’t give you a table at Bar Centrale.

And that’s why you can’t stop doing what got you to succeed in the first place.  Sure, that Nintendo I wore my thumbs out on way back when is no more . . . but that same company is behind the Wii.

When you’ve got a hit, that’s when you need to double down another one.  Because a Broadway Producer is only as good as his next show.


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  • Laurent says:

    This speaks to something you often talk about; there is no relaxing. there is no looking back; only forward. As you told us Hal Prince always did after opening night. He’d take a meeting for the next project. You told us you do the same. I remember Nathan Lane on the day after The Producers opened, took one of the ensemble members and said, “Don’t get caught up in this. In no time at all, they won’t be knocking on our door that hard.” His biggest opening night of his life was followed by his opening in….The Frogs. Success is fickle…for ALL artists. Thanks for today’s post, Ken.

  • Jackie Ondrejik says:

    Just saw your show at GSP and loved it!

  • Bob says:

    So why did you switch to the Galaxy? Why is it better than the iPhone?

  • Zanne Hall says:

    A B’way producer is only as good as his or HER next show. Thanks!

  • One thing for sure – if your shows aren’t hits – you can always have a career doing commercials! You are terrific!

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