Kevin Spacey nails a key insight that is vital not just to the entertainment industry, but to everything we do in marketing & advertising.

Say it over and over again, because it’s a universal truth, not something that has to be “proven” with a deck or a presentation: 

"The audience wants the control. They want the freedom…we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in…the device and the links are irrelevant, the labels are useless..for kids growing up now, there IS NO difference.  Watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV or watching Game Of Thrones on their computer…. It’s ALL content. It’s. Just. Stories. All we have to do is give it to them.”

The overall premise is right there, right in front of us and incredibly easy to understand. We couldn’t ask for a better scenario. Grab it, because another brand will quickly figure it out and take it away from you. 

Technology and The Power of One

Stumbled upon the story of Patrick McConlogue, a 23 year old software engineer and Leo, a 36-year old man who lives on the streets of lower Manhattan near Patricks’s office. 

Patrick passed by Leo every day and actually took the time to notice details about him that many others did not. And so, a few days ago,  he took a gamble and gave Leo a choice - $100 or an opportunity to learn how to code.  Leo turned down the cash and instead took Patrick up on the coding lessons.  

Within a day, the backlash to Patrick’s efforts was astounding.  

And I’m confused by it. Patrick is 23, and yet saw something in an individual that others missed. He can’t (yet) make broad sweeping changes for the masses or even for one person long term, so he offered what he could. 

Yes, it’s a gamble. But so every decision we make. And quite honestly, in this case, it’s pretty much no harm, no fail. If Leo doesn’t step up, Patrick’s out some cash for a laptop, 3 books and a few hours in the morning.  But if Leo does step up, then the outcome will be incredibly interesting. 

I’m curious and want to better understand why people are so pissed off because I believe making the difference for one person - or giving them the tools they need to make a difference - has the potential for creating a broad sweeping impact for the masses, a la the “butterfly effect”. And because I believe that just because you can’t “go big” doesn’t mean you just do nothing. 

How many of the critics have actually looked at a homeless person in the eye and talk to them, see them as human beings? Or spotted potential in an unlikely place? Or tried to do something that might have long lasting impact with short term actions?

Personally, I’m routing for Leo and Patrick - and so are other people. I’m pretty sure Patrick feels good regardless of the outcome - he won’t ever have to ask himself “what if” - he made an effort. And I really hope Leo nails this.  He turned down the $100 which would have been an easy take, so the determination is there. The desire to change something is there.  But he needs to run with it.

And I hope the critics start to better understand what this is really all about, end the criticism and perhaps, take a better look at the people they choose not to “see” every day.