This week: Alas, hard work probably doesn’t trump innate ability… It’s tempting to believe extravagant claims for technology, but there are limits… Yes, by all means let’s talk about equity, but be sure you know what it means… A real-world experiment in ticket pricing (and some surprising results)… The death of the mid-budget Hollywood movie.
- We Like The Idea That Hard Work Trumps Talent. Alas… You put in your 10,000 hours practicing something, you expect results. Our bookshelves are heavy with books extolling the virtues of hard work for success. But the truth is, “we know, from a growing pile of evidence from many different sources, that while innate ability is far from the only contributor to success, it is probably the best predictor of it.”
- Why Do We Believe The Technology Utopians? They’re constantly trying to convince us that their technology will make the world a better place. In some ways our tech innovators have become the high priests of our age. Alas they’re often wrong. “Can we find a synthesis in which technologists look at their work critically and work closely with the people they’re trying to help in order to build sociotechnical systems that address hard problems?”
- Jump Aboard The Equity Train! (But Be Sure You Know What It Means): The arts are awash in declarations about equity. But a lot of what’s being said is vague and meaningless if things are going to change. So let’s get what we mean by equity straight.“It falls to those seeking fair equity to propose a new way to allocate resources, with all the pros and cons on the table, for there to be a basis of discussion. Put another way, those who call for redressing inequity — and here I’ll expand this discussion to include diversity and inclusion, which suffer from the same definitional complexities — must propose ways to achieve the equity they seek.”
- Ticket Price Matters. And Not Just To Sell More Tickets: Maybe one reason we’re getting demographically narrow audiences is because of ticket pricing. Need some real-world evidence? In 2005, Signature Theatre, an off-Broadway house on far West 42nd Street, “did a very hard-to-do thing. They convinced a big corporation, Time Warner, to hand the theater $500,000 to try to chip away at the price barrier. Before that grant, tickets to Signature’s shows had cost around $55. After the grant, they cost just $15.”
- This Is Why You Might Be Watching Fewer Movies: “Either you offer audiences an unmissable blockbuster derived from well-known intellectual property, or you invest in meek, sub-$10-million indies and pray for a return on investment on the art-house and VOD circuits. That once-upon-a-time sweet spot of $30-million to $50-million productions, with marquee stars and trusted directors? That era is over.”