Pixar’s bathroom. Eddie Van Halen’s M&Ms. Enough. We got it.

I’ve heard the story of Pixar's bathrooms about a thousand times now. Enough. I get it. People peeing together make for great collaboration and great film.

I’ve also heard the Van Halen brown M&M story a thousand times, too. Brown M&M’s equal contract accountability. I got it.


Last week I heard the M&M story told on a business podcast as if it were something new and enlightening.

I also heard the Pixar bathroom story on a similar podcast and read about it on a science blog. In both cases, the story was told in its entirety.  

I’d like to officially propose a five year moratorium on both these stories.

I don’t want to read about them in any social science, business or behavioral economics books. I don’t want to find them in any journal articles or magazine pieces or science blogs. I don’t want to hear them discussed on television or on a podcast.

Can we all agree that everyone has either heard these two stories by now or don’t read or watch or listen to the kind of material that would ever expose them to these two stories?

Find some new stories. Please?

Lessons and observations from a week of The Clowns.

This evening we will meet to discuss the future of The Clowns, the rock opera that my co-writer and I have spent the last five years writing. With two weeks to reflect on the workshop process that brought The Clowns to the stage for the first time, I had some final thoughts:

1. When collaborating on a project, I strongly suggest that you find a partner who is considerably nicer than you and is willing to put forth 100% effort while gladly accepting 60% from you. It is an ideal situation.

2. When given the freedom and encouragement, actors are like writers without keyboards.

3. Similarly, directors are like editors without red pens. They, however, do not require the encouragement and simply assume the freedom.

4. Watching actors say lines that you wrote and become the characters that you envisioned while listening to the audience around you laugh and gasp and applaud is just as good as seeing your novel on a bookstore shelf.

5. I’ve acted before and thought this while doing so, but two weeks of rehearsals and performances confirmed it: Acting is a form of collaborative, non-competitive sport with much of the physicality of athletics and all of the pressure of a championship game on the line.