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Becoming The Champ In The Long Run

Becoming The Champ In The Long Run

Hello and good day!

For the last several days, I have been conducting a certain type of investigation.

I do the dishwashing in our household, usually while my lovely wife is preparing our children for bed.

After I wash the dishes, I wipe down all of our counters, and then I sweep the floors.

I like to do a good, thorough, cleaning at night so that when I wake up in the morning, I wake up to a nice, clean house.

That puts me in a tranquil frame of mind to start the day.

If the house is messy, it feels like I am walking into chaos first thing in the morning, and to my mind, that makes it more likely that the entire day will be chaotic.

I don't know if that is my little quirk or if others feel the same way.

I'll have to ask a few friends to see whether my opinion is common or whether it is a unique form of superstition that I alone participate in.

Whatever the case, I take advantage of my cleaning time to listen to interviews or music.

A few days back, I had the idea to listen to an entire decade's worth of number one hit records. I decided to start with the 1990's and listen to every number one single, as ranked by Billboard.

I've learned a few interesting things about number one hit records that I believe have universal application to life and business.

Before sharing those, here is a little bit of trivia for you.

The first number one hit record of the decade was Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You."

It hit the top of the charts on January 20, 1990, and stayed in the number one position for three weeks.

The final number one of the decade was "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. It debuted at number one on October 23, 1999, and held its spot for 12 long weeks.

When you look at the data, 12 weeks is a very, very long run.

Something like 70% of number one records only hold the top spot for one week.

2 - 3 weeks is rare.

12 - 14 weeks are smash hits.

Do you feel like trying to guess which musician dominated the charts in the 90s?

Go ahead and take a guess. I'll give you a second to think it through.

One more second.

Did you guess Mariah Carey?

Mariah Carey had 14 number ones in the 90's and spent 60 weeks in the number one position.

That is an average of 6 weeks per year for 10 straight years. Nobody else in the 90's was anywhere near as successful as Mariah Carey at putting out hit records.

Many of the number ones are silly and are objectively bad music.

An example of this is Right Said Fred, "I'm Too Sexy."

I probably listened to that song 85 million times when it came out. I thought it was hilarious. It was funny to sing. It stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks.

When you go back and listen to it now, thirty years later, you can't help but wonder what in the world everybody was thinking.

It is one thing for it to be a joke song that we sing for fun.

It is another thing altogether for it to be the most listened to and purchased song in the country for three whole weeks, when very few songs hold the number one spot for that long.

As I go through and listen, I am surprised at how many gimmicky songs became the top songs in the country.

However, the champion of the decade, the one who won over and over again, was Mariah Carey, and she had one of the best voices of all time.

While a gimmick can get you a quick burst of fame and notoriety, quality and substance tend to win out over the long haul.

Mozart sounds just as good now as he did two hundred years ago. The music holds up.

Same with the Beatles, and Mariah Carey, and Ray Charles, and Gladys Night, and Elvis, and Santana.

Here is another thought along the same lines.

Certain books have been around for thousands of years.

We keep reading them and teaching them.

Scribes copied them by hand to pass along to future generations before there were printing presses.

The quality and wisdom contained in the texts were considered to be of such great value that people made every effort to safeguard the contents so that their information and lessons would never disappear from the world.

Lately, my brother and I have been tasting a lot of chocolate made by other companies.

Some of it is made by companies who sell billions of dollars' worth of chocolate per year. Given the large volume of their production, some of this stuff is almost unbelievably bad.

I had forgotten why I stopped eating most of it more than ten years ago.

Where are they finding a large enough audience to consume all this stuff?

It is a very hard thing to get your head around.

But then you can go back to thinking about some of these number one hits that reached huge audiences and generated tremendous revenue.

And that is when you realize just how far a gimmick that catches fire can take you.

The very strong benefit of understanding this is that I am quite certain that our company can create products that could catch fire on a mass market level.

Listening to old pop records is good for your self-esteem.

It helps you to understand that anybody, and I mean anybody, has the talent to create something that will be attractive to large masses of people.

Once you know that, and you feel very confident about it, you can choose to make something that you can look back on with pride and not regret that it is likely to reach fewer people than if you had some kind of popular novelty.

With this mindset, you can focus on quality and a reputation that endures.

And if you do that long enough, I do think that you will be crowned the champion someday.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day.


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