Day 2 of the Broadway League Conference: Going global and to the game.

Day 2 of the conference started out with a mouse sighting.

Yep, Disney was in the house.

But not the Disney you think.  Yesterday AM we got a talk from Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney International, who talked about Disney’s strategy of delivering its content beyond our shores, in order to maximize its success.  And it ain’t as easy as it sounds, even for a powerhouse like Disney, whose products are all huge pre-existing brands.  Too many Producers think their shows are like the Kander and Ebb/Frank Sinatra tune says and that if they make it in NY, they can make it anywhere.  Try again, please.  Different languages, different customs, and different demographics all directly affect whether or not a show will be embraced overseas.

My big takeaway from Mr. Bird’s speech was that I’m never going to be as much of an expert in a foreign market as a partner in that market, just like they’ll never be an expert in the NYC market.  When I go global, it’s essential for me to find people to help “translate” my product to the market to guarantee the same success I’ve had on Broadway.

Our second speaker was the Executive VP & GM of the AA Arena and the (Miami) Heat Group, Kim Stone.  Kim has seen the Heat and their building through some pretty serious failures (a “peaceful riot” and a season when the Heat were the worst in the NBA) to an NBA championship and getting the arena certified green.

I love hearing from speakers in other perishable inventory industries like ours (I’m still hoping someone will host a perishable inventory conference, where theaters, airlines, sports teams, and restaurateurs all converge to talk best practices), but especially from sports teams.  And when I do hear from sports speakers, I’m often reminded how sports teams are like Broadway shows.  Many owners are like a lot of our Producers, who may not have come up in the business, but who have always loved it and gotten in later in life.  And they hire a team of experts to run the team for them.

My big takeaway from Kim’s talk was, well, how often she flopped . . . but how, despite failing so hard she was in tears twice at the office, she dug down, sucked it up, and kept fighting, until she found success.  The photo in this blog was in her PowerPoint – the left side is what  the path to success looks like to other folks, and the right side is what it actually looks like to you while you’re working at it.  It’s a great reminder to perfectionists like me (and you, you Type A people out there!) that you’re not going to succeed every time you try something.  All that you need to do is succeed more often than you fail.

And thus ends another biennial conference!  (There’s a wrap up session tomorrow morning, but no more official speakers, so I’m tying up my coverage with this entry.)  As always, the conference pokes and prods at our sensitive spots.  It doesn’t feel good, all the time.  Kind of like a doctor’s office when they put on that rubber glove.  But it’s necessary.

And now it’s up to us to leave and take what we’ve debated, discussed and got drunk over, and do something about it.


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– This week on the Podcast:  Broadway gossip columnist Michael Riedel from the NY Post.  Listen here.


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