Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rightsizing on the Margin

A thought-provoking post from Seth Godin today coincides with a subject I am struggling with at present:
This is backwards but here you go: businesses that exist exist because the marketplace allows them to function at the right size. There were a lot of bowling alleys in the 1960s because the number of people you needed to run one plus the rent was just covered by the revenue you could expect. There was a right size, one that people were willing to take on and run.

The next level up from Mom and Pop feels different. Different furnishings, different rent, different payroll. It's not a little bigger, it's a whole quantum level different. And then down the street is the chain store, the one with 40 outlets and regional vice presidents and regional newspaper ads. Those things naturally go together, the scale is right.
Under-99 theatre is theatre on the margins.  The economics of producing a play is whack at the Broadway level, nevermind at the "buying props out of your own pocket" level.  At least the cats on Broadway are getting paid.  (No pun intended.)

There is a problem of scale here that needs to be sorted out.
When in pain, consider your scale. When you're too big or too small for the revenue or the impact you seek, you'll feel it in your bones. Leap.
There must be a way to crack through the "Community Theater" ceiling and make under-99 theatre more of a career and less of a volunteer activity.  Or perhaps doing it because it's a fun thing to do is enough.  Maybe I'd feel better if Sisyphus had a few party balloons and some crepe paper streamers hanging around him.  I'm not sure.  Like I said, I'm struggling with it.

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