Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page
While growing up, I used to spend hours watching park performers in Washington Square Park, NYC. A very scruffy looking character would begin to set up his “stage” in some corner of the park. He would take chalk and draw a circle on the concrete floor. He would then begin to set up some random roadside props; broomstick, garbage can, banana on a string, wig. It would take about 15 minutes just to set up the stage which composed of nothing. In the meantime people would gather around the circle curious to see what this guy had in store for them. The tension would build as the performer began to take on a mythical charm. As part of his set-up, he would get the audience to occasionally clap loudly claiming it would be vital for giving them the show of their life. The clapping would of course draw in other people strolling through the park. His circle of audience would gradually expand into rings of people.
At this point he would start to collect volunteers to participate in the show. He would place each person in what seemed to be a very specific spot. All this time he would not skip a beat interacting with the audience and making us all feel very much a participant in his show. We wanted him to succeed. For this brief instant he was our hero. We wanted to be entertained and were willing to give him every chance to put a grin on our faces. Eventually the show would begin although in retrospect the show began the minute the performer drew a circle on the floor with the chalk. You were continuously laughing at the ruckus taking place and you wanted more. Until in some funny manner the performer would get everyone to reach into their pants pocket and pull out some lose change or in some cases not so loose paper dollars. I would always walk away in awe at how this showman was able to entertained an audience without anything but his imagination.
Every entrepreneur is a sidewalk performer until they are able to create a large audience of participants and active observers. You start with nothing more than chalk, a white board and a mind to entertain the world with some unmet need. The entrepreneurs that can tell a tale end up winning the hearts and minds of an audience and build a very real story.