One of my all-time favorite movies is Good Will Hunting. Since the death of Robin Williams, I admit it has been hard to watch. The same is true of Dead Poets Society, and beyond his films, the Fast & Furious franchise. RIP Paul Walker. #GoneTooSoon.
We all know the scene where Will bangs on a window and asks the preppy Harvard dude through the glass if he likes apples. When he says yes, Will slams a napkin against the window and says, “Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?”
It was an epic burn, but in my opinion, the best part of the movie is the exchange in the bar that led up to the legendary apple incident.
Here is a brief transcript of the conversation:
CLARK: There’s no problem. I was just hoping you could give me some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the southern colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War, the economic modalities—especially in the southern colonies—could most aptly be characterized as agrarian pre-capital—
WILL: [interrupting] Of course that’s your contention. You’re a first-year grad student. You just got finished reading some Marxian historian, Pete Garrison probably, you’re gonna be convinced of that until next month when you get to James Lemon. Then you’re gonna be talking about how the economies of Virginia and Pennsylvania were entrepreneurial and capitalist way back in 1740. That’s gonna last until next year, you’re gonna be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood, talkin’ about, you know, the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization.
CLARK: [taken aback] Well, as a matter of fact, I won’t, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of —
WILL: “Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth…” You got that from Vickers, Work in Essex County, Page 98, right? Yeah, I read that too. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us—you have any thoughts of—of your own on this matter? Or do—is that your thing, you come into a bar, you read some obscure passage, and then you pretend, you pawn it off as your own—your own idea just to impress some girls, embarrass my friend?
. . .
She believes that to become more successful, we don’t have to change who we are, we have to become more of who we are.
I have written about Sally before, and what I remember most from her time on stage were these five words: Different is better than better.
“Your competitive advantage is not the way in which you are incrementally better than the competition. Better keeps you chained to the same old way of working as your competition. The good news is, you can compete. You can be the best in a competitive environment—if you use your natural personality advantages to attract the attention you need to succeed.”
Sally is not wrong.
. . .
You may recall, a few years ago, a scandal erupted on social media. Strangely, I missed this when it happened, but I caught up quickly when documentaries were released on both Netflix and Hulu.
The festival was organized by Billy McFarland (née Magnesis) and Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, also known as Ja Rule. It was scheduled to take place on April 28–30 and May 5–7, 2017, on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma.
Fyre Festival was supposed to be the new Coachella, the new Burning Man, the new whatever. It turned out to be the “greatest party that never happened.”
There is a long story—and plenty of things to write about—here with Fyre Festival, but I want to hone in on the biggest takeaway for me.
Promotional footage was shot on Norman’s Cay, and the launch was supposed to be, as Billy put it, the best coordinated social media campaign ever. On the A+ list were influencers such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Emily Ratajkowski.
There they were, in one of the most beautiful places, with some of the most beautiful people. A concoction for success, right? Not so fast.
Though Fyre Festival itself was a colossal fail, one thing wasn’t: The Orange Tile.
Oren Aks, former designer at Jerry Media and man in charge of the festival marketing, practically stopped the Internet with a single color.
Not with pictures of pristine, white beaches. Not with access to the Crème de la Crème of supermodels. And not with any combination of the two.
The greatest orchestration of social-media-influencership was to sit atop a gargantuan push of an orange tile. A random concept, garnering millions of likes, and causing a disruption like no other. Mission accomplished.
Why did it work? Because it was unexpected. And different.
. . .
Originality is a creative’s best weapon.
It’s the reason behind “Weird Al” Yankovic selling more than 12 million albums, why Lady Gaga is known as a modern-day Renaissance woman, and explains why people like me couldn’t stop watching Tiger King.
I will be the first to admit, being original is often hard. Damn hard. But there are words of wisdom out there which can carry us through the difficult times:
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.” — Judy Garland
“I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” — Kurt Cobain
Here’s what I believe to be true, and the single best piece of advice I can give you: Originality wins. Every time.