They showed me statistics and I slowed down.

I was doing about 70 MPH down the West Side Highway last week when I heard a public service announcement commercial on the radio about the New York City speed limit of . . . 30 MPH.

“Yeah, right,” I thought. Who goes 30 in the city?  The guys pushing their carts of fake Louis Vuitton bags probably get up to 35 MPH easy.

The ad continued, “It’s 30 for a reason.”

Ok, you’ve got my attention. Give it to me, NYC DOT.

“Hit someone at 40, there’s a 70% chance they’ll die.  Hit someone at 30, there’s an 80% chance they’ll live.  That’s why it’s 30.”

I put my foot on the brake immediately.

Why?

Because I, ignorantly, had always thought speed limits were arbitrary.  Just made up numbers designed to keep us all under a bit more control.

But no, there was a reason.  A reason, backed up by facts and figures that I certainly couldn’t argue with, and I’m not sure many people could.  And something I will never forget.

What does this have to do with what we do?

We work in a complicated industry with a lot of very passionate people on both sides of every negotiation.  Too often, “drama” gets in the way of swift, practical resolutions.

The quickest way to a mutual agreement is to help the other side understand why things are a certain way, and explain to them the statistical reasons behind it . . . not yell and scream and call them names.

Because the best result of a negotiation is when both sides win.

A TV version of the commercial I heard is below, which, coincidentally, has a Broadway theme.

 

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You know you’re a brand when . . .

. . . you appear on a skit on Saturday Night Live.

If you haven’t seen this clip from last week’s SNL, prepare not only for a few chuckles, but prepare ye for one of the seven deadly sins to start bubbling up upside you.

I couldn’t help but feel a little envy seeing all those shows satirized in the skit, because this kind of treatment means you’ve crossed over . . . way over . . . into the mainstream (and the Piven reference doesn’t count, although Lorne Michaels’s stock just went way up in my book).

The skit may have made fun of us, but oh how I would have loved to have been one of the Producers of any one of those shows . . .even Cats.

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