So… Deal or No Deal?

“Follow your passion and the money will come.” -Richard Wolpert

The Story

Jeff nervously rocked back and forth in his office chair.

In a few moments, Allan and Tommy — two of the most well-known and successful filmmakers — would walk into his office. Jeff still couldn’t believe that they were coming to him with a movie pitch, and not the other way around.

There was a light knock on the door and in walked Allan and Tommy. As Jeff shook their hands, he hoped that they wouldn’t notice the nervous sweat on his palms. They made quick hellos and then quickly dove into their request.

Allan spoke first. “So Jeff, we’ve got a project that we want you to write the script for.”

Jeff’s heart started to race, first out of excitement but then out of dread…

Allan and Tommy took turns explaining the film, both clearly excited about it and eager to have Jeff involved.

There was an awkward silence. Tommy spoke up, “So Jeff, are you in?”

Here Jeff was sitting across from two of his biggest idols and they wanted him to be a part of a project that was a perfect fit for him. Every ounce of his being wanted to scream, “YES!”

But something held him back…

(Scroll to the bottom to read the rest of The Story!)


The Soul Of A Deal

Chad sat down with Richard Wolpert, entrepreneur and author of The Soul of a Deal: Making Deals in the Digital Age. Richard shares some of his advice for young entrepreneurs, the tactics to execute a successful exit, and what he’s learned from Director J.J. Abrams.

“No doesn’t necessarily mean never again. No sometimes leads to doing something in the future.”

Listen to the Episode!


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The Story (continued)

…See, Jeff was in the middle of finalizing another project — a pilot for a TV show that was his own creation.

To work with Allan and Tommy would mean abandoning the show.

He thanked them for the offer and said that he would think about it.

A few days later, after much internal debate, Jeff arrived to his decision. He called Allan and Tommy and said no to the deal.

He knew it was the right decision, but he was worried that he had forever burned the bridge between himself and the two stars. He thought that by going with his gut, he might have just ruined his filmmaking career.

But a few months later, Jeff got a call from Tommy.

“Hey, I’ve got another project for you…”

Jeff couldn’t believe Tommy had called him again! This time, having already launched his TV show, Jeff had the bandwidth to say yes.

So who were the stars of this story?

Allan was Steven Allan Spielberg. Tommy was none other than Tom Cruise. And of course, Jeff is Jeffery Jacob Abrams, or J.J. Abrams.

The script Spielberg and Cruise wanted J.J. to be apart of? War of the Worlds.

And the show J.J. turned them down for? A little project called Lost.

The movie that Cruise later asked J.J. to help him with? Mission: Impossible III.

J.J. Abrams’s story is a case study in why it pays off to follow your passion, even if it means sacrificing in the short term. The people who matter will respect you for it, and you will find, like J.J. Abrams did, that even greater opportunities await you.

To learn more about deal-making and when to take (or not take) opportunities, we invited on Richard Wolpert. Richard has been working in technology and media for over 30 years. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is say no today, but if you are following your passion, it will lead to a brighter future tomorrow.


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