MICHAEL DAVIS: The Art Of The Deal, Part 3
Please refer to Part 1 of this series. Part 2 was my attempt to try and underscore what I was trying to get across. Yeah, I have no idea why I did it either. To recap, I was breaking down my deal that put comic books in the school system.
The program was called The Action Files and it’s a K-12 high interest, low level reading program. These were the steps I took and the questions I asked:
Q. Did my idea have merit?
A. Comics in the school system. Duh, duh, triple duh.
Q. What were the barriers to entry?
A. After researching I decided the reason why there was no comic book reading programs taught as a curriculum because of the educational climate and prejudices that were associated (at the time, which was 1996) against comic books.
In other words, no one wanted to see The Hulk on a textbook.
Q. If such a good idea, why had it not been done before?
A. Marvel and DC were light years away from my brilliance! Only I was smart enough to figure out how to get into the school system! Me and me alone!!!!!
Or…Marvel and DC were simply not interested in the market to approach it the way I did which was as a curriculum.
I covered all of this in detail in Part 1. Now comes the Nitti Gritty as to exactly how I was able to pull this off.
The idea of comics’ as a learning tool and comics in the school is not a new idea and certainly not just my idea. I realized that idea was a good one but it was a huge one.
So I fine-tuned the idea to a smaller more manageable and focused idea. Comics in the schools as a reading program. A curriculum based program complete with lesson plans and teacher guides.
From my research I realized that most states have different guidelines for their schools. No matter how smart, well done and even needed my reading program was, it would not ever be seen in a state unless it adheres to that states guidelines.
So how did I get around that? Did I do a program for all 50 states?
I created two different programs, one for California using their guidelines and one for Texas using their guidelines.
Why California and Texas? Why not my beloved New York and some other state I don’t hate like I hate both California and Texas?
Because there are no bigger players in the textbook market than California and Texas, where they go, goes the nation. Seriously, I can’t stand Texas and have no love for California but this as they say is business.
Did I care about the other 48 states and Puerto Rico?
Nope. Not for this deal. Sometimes less is more.
Now I had the program and knew the audience and had created The Action File Universe so now the question was how to get paid. Not how to get the comics into the classrooms.
I’ll say it again; the question after all this work was how I would get paid for this idea. Why was I not thinking about how to get the comics in the classroom?
Because that’s not what I do.
That’s so important. Many people try and be a jack-of-all-trades but end up being masters of none. I’m an idea guy. After the idea I’m like a deer in the headlights.
I don’t know nor do I want to know how the guy I hired to fix my car fixed it. Why? Because knowing how he did something does not mean I’ll be able to do it. So why waste my time trying? Hell, I know how and why my dentist drills my teeth but I’m not buying a drill so I can do it.
I don’t have millions of dollars (not anymore, here’s some advice kids, just say no) to pay for the creation, printing and distribution into the schools nor did I have the juice (influence) to get into the very exclusive education market.
I’ve got the juice now, trust me, I’m a doctor.
Remember. I’m an idea guy. The above is not what I do, even if I had that kind of bank.
I needed a partner. I needed a partner who would not only get it; they would also pay for it.
So, I took another month and wrote a detailed business plan. When that was done, I picked up the phone and called one of the biggest publishers in the world.
Next week, the deal.
WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold