Wednesday, September 2, 2009

May I Have Your Attention, Please? (or) You Can't Make This Stuff Up... Or Can You?

I don't know if this little news item slipped past you;

Disney to acquire Marvel for $4 billion

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. says it is acquiring Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man into the Disney family.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters.

Disney said Monday that Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own.

It said the boards of Disney and Marvel have both approved the transaction, but it requires an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders.

Once upon a time in the "Land of Make Believe," there was a very expensive marriage...

There are two different ways of looking at this corporate conjugal venture, both fairly interesting. The first wanders into a place we know as "Stone Cold Reality Land."

Consider this: a company that is one of the most widely known and successful entertainment conglomerates in the world, whose origin and worth is based upon the brilliance and driven imagination of one man (who rallied many other like-minded and talented individuals to work and create with him) is acquiring another company that has been around since 1939, was in bankruptcy from 1996 through 2000 but literally has a "cast of characters" known as the "Marvel Universe" which has survived all the lengthy trials and travails of the publishing/comic book industry. Now the payday for persevering has arrived.

Returning to our marriage theme, this then is the union of one company (aka "the House of Mouse") with another that helped spawn the most common form of pulp magazine in America before WWII, the comic book.
At a price tag of $4 billion, that's one expensive "imaginary" wedding... which brings us to a second way of looking at this merger back in the "Land of Make Believe."

None of this is "real." It's all fiction, an illusion, child's play... but with one very important catch.
We have decided that this is both valuable and real, not "airy fairy" made-up junk.

And how did we do this?

Simple. We paid attention to it.

From the mind of an imaginer (or in Disney parlance, an Imagineer,) comes a creation, a "fancy of flight." Should the imaginer be pleased with the creation, he pays attention to it and thus imbues it with spirit, with life. Now should the imaginer dare to think great thoughts about the creation, he sets it free upon the (maybe) waiting world. What will make or break the success and longevity of the creation is the same thing that brought it to life; how much attention will be paid to it over the course of time.

You see when someone asks for your attention, at that moment you are literally giving away the most valuable thing that you possess. It is so valuable that it can fuel the fire of a creative empire, produce great works of art... or lead down the path of violence, misery and all stops in between.

Why do you think so much "imaginary" money is spent in myriad forms of advertising?

(And by the way, money really is imaginary. It only has value because we've collectively agreed that it does. Should you doubt that, look up Peter Minuit and the 1626 purchase of Manhattan for $24 worth of cloth, beads, hatchets and other odds and ends, a perfectly acceptable transaction there and then.)

From Mickey Mouse to WALL-E, the Fantastic Four to Daredevil, all were spawned via imagination, nurtured by attention and brought to "empire" status via mass attention/mass consciousness. That's how the "Land of Make Believe" really operates and why $4 billion is the price tag in this "little transaction."

Who knows? After reading this, perhaps you won't brush aside someone's "wild imaginings" so casually!

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