What does solving a maze have to do with your show?

One of the most fun stocking stuffers I got this year was one of those Money Mazes.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

The Money Maze is a 3D cube with a marble inside.  Get that marble down the right path and it opens a secret door, and out pops . . . money!  (Click here see a sample.)

It’s super fun, and let me tell you, if you’re staring at a $100 bill or a Discover gift card trapped inside that cube of plastic then you are pretty incentivized to solve that puzzle.

It ain’t easy, mind you.  But I’m a guy, like you I’m sure, that likes a challenge.  I sat down with that thing and analyzed it, studied it, tried all sorts of tricks, even refused help from someone who had solved one on their own.  I could have taken a hammer to it.  But no.  I had to figure it out.  I had to solve it.  For the $100?  Nope.  For the pride.

And as I was entering my second hour of trying to figure out what the eff I was doing wrong, and after I had developed a stigmatism and a half from staring at it so closely, I got to thinking . . . was I spending too much time on this thing?

The answer, when you’re talking about a game,  is no.  It’s designed for fun.

But the problem is that guys like me and folks like you treat too many things like puzzles, including shows.

I know too often when I hear about a new media option or a new accounting method or even scenic technology, I want to learn the ins and outs myself.  I find myself down a rabbit hole on Google, or spending hours creating a crafty formula in Excel, or God forbid trying to figure out Photoshop.

All because I want to crack it.  And hey, maybe if I do it on my own, I’ll save a few bucks too.

And I lose hours in the process.  Hours that I could have spent on something else, for sure.  Hours that probably would have been more “profitable,” both fiscally and artistically.

While sure, learning is great, as you get busier and busier, you have to remember that business is not a game.  It’s not a puzzle.  It’s important that you get to the prize the most efficient way possible . . . and sometimes that means letting someone else do it, if it means getting it done quicker, so you can spend your time on something you already know how to do exceptionally well.  And ok, it may cost you a few bucks to hire someone to “solve your puzzle” for you, whether that’s a Photoshop guru, or a book doctor, or a direct mail specialist.  But if that frees you up to add more value somewhere else, then it’s a net gain.

Some people like to call this delegating.  I like to call it letting someone else take out a hammer, and crush your problem with one swift blow, and then you go shopping on Amazon.com with what’s inside.

 

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