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Would you spend $3M for a baseball?

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Have you planned your 2023?

Are you going to make some serious big moves?

I hope so.

Thing is, big, bold moves require a mix of short term audacity and long term patience.

Let me explain with an example…

Comic book artist and entrepreneur Todd McFarlane once talked about the time when he bought a baseball for 3 million dollars.

True story.

Apparently Mark McGwire had hit 70 home runs which was the record back then. McFarlane had his toy company already, but wanted to enter the sports toys market too.

Well, he couldn’t even get a meeting. He was a nobody in the industry.

So why would any sane person spend $3M for a $3 baseball??

In McFarlane’s own words:

“I knew that spending and getting that ball would get me headlines. So instantly it was a national story and I was on lots of talk radio shows and TV shows and everything. I mean I canvased the planet. And do you know how much money it would cost to get that attention by buying ads in any of those areas?… Those headlines then got seen by all the sports leagues and the unions. And when I phoned the next time and said, “Hey, I’m Todd McFarlane and maybe you’ve heard of me, I bought the McGwire ball, but I’d just like to talk to you. I’m also in the toy business.” They let me in the door and I got to have a conversation with them. In short order I ended up having the license for baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. I did it for 13 years. I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I made more than three million dollars in profits on those toys multiple times over those 13 years. So at some point you have to put up an ante on the table to play the big game with the big boys in poker.”

This is what I mean by being short-term audacious, long-term patient.

You have to learn to value delayed gratification more than the quick, in-the-moment bursts – while having the guts to take the big first step towards your vision.

I think this is what stops a lot of business from investing in a copywriting project too. I had my fair share of potential projects fade in the distance because prospective clients weren’t ready to fully commit to this type of mindset.

And it’s illustrative to think of how, even your prospects when they land on your site, might not be ready to make the big move.

So what can we do to help them make the right choice and invite them to a seat at the poker table?

Here are 3 thoughts:

  • It’s all about vision and you have to create it for them: don’t force them to figure out what their future with your product or solution will look like. Feed it to them. McFarlane had a very clear idea of how he would enter the sports toys market, your prospects might not see it yet.
  • But…they have to believe that vision can turn into reality for them: which means, before you consider making any claim or promise, ask yourself “Do they accept this? If not, what do they need to see/read/hear believe before believing it?”
  • If they can’t enter the poker club from the main entrance, keep the backdoor slightly opened: not all prospects will be perfect fits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them. There’s always a way to provide and extract value out of a lead. Whether it’s about dollars, good reputation, or simply about you being the starting point for their next move. It all compounds.

Would you add anything?

We’re already a week into the new year.

Here’s to making this one a bit bolder.

But to also being a bit more patient and able to wait out the storm.


I tried my best to be as bold as I could in the past year or so. Want to learn some of the most private and top-secret bits about my story (including hard earned lessons)? This just came out.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“I don’t envision a single thing that, when unguarded, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when unguarded leads to great harm.” – The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya

Uncontrolled emotions and impulses can easily lead you astray. Your mind needs guardrails so you can condition your own thinking and intentionally direct the actions that derive from it. Monitor your thoughts for the moment they’re derailing you. Spotting it is the hardest part, because the mind is a clever and cunning persuader. Don’t engage in the negotiations.

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