Brown M&Ms, and other serious business

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Article 126 of Van Halen’s standard venue engagement contract states “There will be no brown M&Ms in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.” This means someone has to root through the jar of M&Ms the band obligates the venue to provide, and pick out the offending candies.

It’s a great story, totally true, and for years the rockband was seen as a group of prima donnas who needed their sweets hand-picked to their satisfaction before they’d acquiesce to play one moment of “Panama.”

If you followed the Snopes link above, you already know the rest of the story. in his autobiography David Lee Roth came clean on this. A band that throws a show on the Van Halen scale has a lot of technical requirements, managing weights and amounts of power that are dangerous if mis-handled. Collapses, explosions, fires, and so on are the result of neglect. The bowl of M&Ms is the miner’s canary, so to speak. If the stage crew can’t even get the M&M thing right, who knows what else is jacked up?

A lesson here, for us.

If you can’t get the little things right, why would anyone trust you on the big things?

If your site has grammatical errors, pics have watermarks, links don’t work, content just kind of thrown together, and in general your web or mobile presence conveys a sort of “we had to get this out the door” kind of vibe to it… you lose.

Same goes for your own personal work. If you can’t get the little things right, why would anyone trust you with the big things?

I’m definitely guilty of letting the little things slip through the cracks sometimes, and when called to task on it I take responsibility, but I’m tempted to think that “well, I got the big things right, the little things don’t matter so much.”

This is wrong, and poor craft. Mind the brown M&Ms.

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