February 20, 2019

A Tale of Two Shows

A Tale of Two Shows

Beginning as early as 1967, Siegfried Fischbacher and Uwe Ludwig “Roy” Horn, performed on cruise ships, in circuses and smaller Las Vegas clubs before hitting it big.  From 1990 until 2003, as the tiger taunting duo of Siegfried & Roy, they were perhaps the most visited and successful Vegas show.

It was a good run.

That is, of course, until one fateful night in October 2003 during their show at The Mirage, when Roy was attacked by a white tiger named Montecore and nearly died.  The Mirage subsequently cancelled the show and all 267 members of the cast and crew were laid off.

Game over.

Contrast that with Blue Man Group.  Founded in 1987 as the brainchild of three friends in New York, they took to the streets for random“pop-up” performances, ultimately landing a gig at one of New York’s prestigious Astor Place Theater, where the group has continuously performed since 1991.

In addition to performing in New York, there are continuous shows in Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago and others and they now perform all over the world in regular venues, featuring 7 to 9 “blue men” per cast.  What started as the three original guys doing every show, has grown into a repeatable, replicable business model.   So much so that in 2017, Cirque du Soleil purchased them with plans to expand even further.

I think there is a message for us in the contrast between these two entertainment groups as entrepreneurs and business owners in this advisory profession and by now it is clearly obvious to you.  

Are we building something that focuses the value proposition on us personally, on our own reputation,skills and abilities?  Do we have to personally “perform every show”? Or are we putting forth a system that delivers the value to our clients that could actually be delivered by any number of qualified and talented people besides us?  Can our judgement, wisdom, knowledge and creative problem solving ability be felt without us even being in the room?

Granted, there was a necessary period of time with both of these groups where the original performers did in fact perform every show to every audience and could only be in one place at one time.  But at some point in the success path, most likely at a point of exhaustion of not being able to possibly do more and realizing the ceiling of growth they were up against, Blue Man Group crafted a growth model that could be multiplied.

What exactly did they multiply?  Well, value of course.  More entertainment value for more people in more locations at the same time.  More work for more blue men performers.  More crews to support the more casts.  More revenue for more venues looking for top talent.

 And much more revenue and equity value for the original founders.

 Surely they had to spend countless hours teaching, training, and coaching others on their unique style of performing before they became comfortable letting go of the baton completely.  And likewise, surely their new blue performers brought much welcomed new energy, ideas, capabilities and creativity to their shows that made the whole thing even better.

The point here is not to say which of these business models is best for you, but just to elevate yourself-awareness to what you are actually building toward right now so that you can make the best decisions about the bigger future you see for your firm, your team, your clients and your family.

To me, this gets to concentrating or diversifying your risk. As we know in the investment world, they both work and many people have gotten wealthy by concentrating risk into one company or theme.  But few stay wealthy without ultimately diversifying.  The old phrase still rings true: “Concentrate to accumulate, diversify to protect.”  Siegfried & Roy concentrated and accumulated but did not diversify.  What is the saying: “Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered”?  Blue Man Group concentrated, accumulated, and then diversified.  The rest is history.

Although I don’t know for sure, my guess is that the original blue men have not painted themselves blue in quite a while, and that since the early 90’s many blue men performers have come and gone.  I mean, how would we even know one way or the other as the viewing public?  Nor does it matter, nor do we care.  We just want the value the show brings.

As we know, whether we are here or not, “the show must go on” for our clients, our staff and those loved ones we leave behind.  The truth is, the “tiger” will happen, sooner or later. When it does, will it be “game over” like Siegfried & Roy, or will your team get out the blue paint and continue your legacy and your value proposition uninterrupted?



Pete Bush

CEO, Financial Advisor







*Investments in securities do not offer a fix rate of return. Principal, yield and/or share price will fluctuate with changes in market conditions and, when sold or redeemed, you may receive more or less than originally invested. No system or financial planning strategy