Conventional Wisdom equals All Convention but No Wisdom
01 Apr 2021
Franklin Leonard is an American film executive best known for
founding ‘The Black List’, a yearly publication featuring Hollywood’s
‘The Black List’ is a compilation of a list of promising screenplays that were
not picked by the production houses, because they applied their “conventional
wisdom” filter while rejecting some of these gems. Since its inception, of the
approximately 1,000 screenplays The Black List has included, nearly a third have
been later produced as theatrical films, including successful and award-winning
examples such as Argo, American Hustle, Juno, The King’s Speech, Slumdog
Millionaire, Spotlight, The Revenant, The Descendants, and Hell or High Water.
The produced films have together grossed over $25 billion and have been
nominated for 241 Academy Awards and 205 Golden Globe Awards, winning 48 and 40,
In one of his recent TED Talks, Franklin outlines how the
conventional wisdom yardstick that gets applied while taking decisions is
not only incorrect but also deeply unfair, leading to deepening of our
economic and social problems. In his opinion, conventional wisdom is ALL convention and NO
Franklin’s TED Talk immediately resonated with
our struggle over the last few weeks to try and convince a plethora of
stakeholders including customers and VC funds as to why things need to be
done differently in our industry and why we would be doing a great
disservice if we keep thinking and doing things the way we have been doing
over the last few decades. During this process, some of the conventional
wisdom that has been bestowed on us is –
(1) This looks great and we are sure that
this will induce a change for better, but how will this help me in doing
what I am doing currently.
So, you do recognise that there is something
wrong in the way things are being done, and yet you want us to propose a
solution that will help you keep doing the same things over and over again.
Worth a slow clap!!!
(2) This industry is completely
disorganised and if you try and change the way things are happening,
there would be a lot of resistance.
Helllloooo!!! Isn’t that the whole point of
disruption - to fundamentally change the way things are done. For sure there
will be resistance, and which is why we need muscle power (i.e. investment)
to catalyse that change.
(3) You are trying to do too much. It would
be better if you do one thing and just work on it.
Yes, agreed. But is it wrong to have a larger
vision that drove us to create Spalba in the first place? While we can phase
out the rollout, why should we not aim for a much larger vision!!.
(4) If we give out more information about
our venues/pricing/availability etc, we will lose our competitive
So, basically you are saying that you want to
increase your product sales without letting people know what the product is.
We have also had our share of euphoric moments
when someone gets what we are trying to do and is willing to take a punt to
create a different future. Although, the share of such people was a
minuscule when we started, this is definitely increasing as we are moving