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Entrepreneurs: Lessons from South Park

by Miki Saxon


If you listen to the content industries, they are being killed by disruptive technologies, but is that true?

Not according to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who have built an empire on content, with no consideration for the so-called disruptive platforms that have shown up over the last two decades. Originally created as shorts that went viral on the Internet, South Park became a series in 1997 making its creators multimillionaires and Comedy Central a force to be reckoned with.

“Disruption is overrated,” Stone said. “If you tell good stories, the platforms are sort of beside the point. We made the most analog thing you can think of, a play at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, and it worked out as well as anything we have ever done.”

He went on to suggest that each time new a distribution avenue opens, it has become a window of opportunity for their content.

Stone and Parker’s success was built on prescience, they negotiated a 50-50 split on all digital revenue before digital revenue meant anything, and patience, they keep control by investing their own money so they can take their time with new projects.

“Owning your own stuff means that you control not only the content, but the life you are living while you are producing it.”

There are worse things than being frugal and growing organically.

Like being forced into an early exit or excessive growth to give your investors their return.

Join me tomorrow for a look at the lengths one company went to in order to put the brakes on its explosive growth.

Flickr image credit: Pop Culture Geek

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