Friday, March 22, 2013

Brown M&Ms: early warning your presentation requirements are being ignored

Suppose that your presentation needs a complicated multimedia and lighting setup to work as designed, and you need to depend on people at the venue for getting it done. How could you quickly find out if your requirements were being ignored?

In the early Eighties the rock band Van Halen was touring with a sophisticated stage show that filled nine tractor-trailer rigs, and thus needed longer and much more careful setup than was typical back then. They sent promoters a detailed concert rider (see this infographic) which specified what was required. Buried in the middle of it was a demand that there be no brown M&M candies in the backstage food set up.

If they saw brown ones, then they knew the promoter hadn’t read their requirements, and they needed to double check everything before the audience arrived. Chip and Dan Heath blogged about it at Fast Company two years ago. There’s also a six-minute video of David Lee Roth discussing this topic. So, they weren’t just behaving like petulant children.      

My last post about BASE jumpers at the Perrine Bridge prompted me to look up lyrics for the Van Halen song Jump (video here), which led me to the discussions of their no brown M&Ms policy.

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