Staying in the Game

This is an article that I wrote a few years ago for a site I built with my brothers, called, but I feel like its timely considering the ‘Obama effect’, and the complete re-writing of the rules.  Since I have always had ‘Obama swagger’ I am hipping y’all to ish I knew way back when.


Folks here are a few tips for getting ahead in the highly competitive entertainment industry.  This is some good stuff, so take notes!


1. Know the Landscape. This ancient adage from Sun Tzu is super important. The entertainment industry is a business with its own unique set of players, cycles, barriers to and methods of entry, and a distinct formula for success. If you intend to be successful, you’ve got to know not only the present state of the industry, but its history (of successes and failures) as well. If you know the landscape, you can plan accordingly.

2. Kill the Competition. One of the 48 Rules of Power dictate that you do not seek to emulate your competition, rather you should seek to destroy them. Capitalize on your competition’s weaknesses and improve upon their strengths. Undercut their price, give freebies, offer bonuses, do anything to separate yourself from the masses and leave the competition in your dust.

3. Understand the Rules of Engagement. To truly excel in the entertainment industry, you must become well versed and flawlessly execute the rules of engagement, which are identify the goal (what do you want to achieve), focus (see yourself achieving your goal), plan (create a road map to your goal), execute (take the steps necessary to achieve your goal) and document (record the steps you took to achieve your goal). By following the rules of engagement, you will be able to see your steps and missteps.

4. Organize Your Team. No man is an island. More importantly, in the entertainment industry (as with most businesses), its not what you know, but who you know that matters. Your team should be comprised of the most experienced (and connected) people within the respective areas for which you require expertise. Surround yourself with people smarter than you, who are more concerned with achieving the objectives of the group, than individual acclaim or “shine.”

5. Hone Your Craft. Be a consummate professional at all times and exude confidence and knowledge. Learn as much as you can about what it is you are doing, and set yourself apart from the crowd. Seek to absorb as much knowledge as is available to you and never be satisfied with the status quo. With advances in technology and personnel shift occurring constantly, you are only as relevant as your ability to adapt to changing times.

6. Protect Your Neck. In business we say “CYA” (cover your a**). Its a fairly simple but important point. Never accept that things will go as planned, and create contingency plans. Maintain e-mail trails, copies of minutes and notes, and follow up oral commitments with confirmation e-mails. Its always better to rely upon written notes, than your recollection of events to settle your disputes.

7. Prepare to fail. Over 50% of all businesses fail within the first five years of existence. Chances are that your business concept, regardless of how sound and well planned, will fail. But failure should not deter you, because it is (paradoxically) inextricably intertwined with success. Failure gives you the unique ability to see your mistakes and improve upon them.

These tips are for people interested in the entertainment industry, but apply to all areas of life.

Class Dismissed.

The Digital Sniper a/k/a Stephen Chukumba

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