Tag Archives: van halen

Van Halen Shows Us the Importance of Details

17 Jan

Van Halen Shows Us the Importance of Details

If you’re a rock fan like I am, you’ve heard that story about Van Halen, back in 1982, creating a section of their contract rider that prohibited brown M&Ms from being in their backstage stash. Most people think about it as an arrogant band pushing the limits of celebrity for something trivial, but there was more to it than that.

In David Lee Roth’s book “Crazy From the Heat” he talked about how that clause was meant to protect the band:

“The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function. When I would walk backstage, if I saw brown M&Ms in that bowl…well, line-check the entire production.”

This was not a star tanrum at all. Instead, it was the only way that Van Halen knew that the venue had read their contract thoroughly and followed it to the letter. This got me thinking about attention to detail in business.

Because I’m always looking for new clients and opportunities, the quality of my work needs to be top-notch. That means I need to be really careful about typos and grammar – especially on my new blog. After all, that sort of carelessness sends a message to potential employers or consulting clients that I don’t pay attention to details. If I can’t be bothered to check and double-check my website or resume, what kind of things will fall through the cracks once they hire me? See what I’m saying here?

I see misspellings on corporate websites and marketing materials all the time and I wonder how it gets through. If a company can’t take the time to make their marketing copy perfect, what other corners are they cutting when a client is paying them? The same kind of company that allows, or worse – doesn’t notice that kind of carelessness – may make serious mistakes with your business that could cost you lots of money.

It’s hard enough in this economy to land a job or a consulting gig – send the right message by paying attention to details. Before you send that proposal or apply for that job, check to make sure you’ve removed all the brown M&Ms from the bowl.