Rock Star Riders and Sweating the Small Stuff

Thu, 2014-03-20 14:40 -- Dominic Tremblay


Should We Sweat the Small Stuff?

So often it is said “don’t sweat the small stuff” to encourage people to look at the big picture, to let some things go, to realize that you do not need to be in control of everything and that not everything needs to be perfect.

But, what are we missing out on?

What are we failing to communicate?

The small stuff has an impact!

You often hear about crazy rock star requests. Here are a few among many outlandish rider requirements:

  • Jennifer Lopez        - The dressing room must be completely white – white paint, white flowers, white tablecloths, white couches, etc.
  • Justin Timberlake   - Every two hours all of the doorknobs that he might come in contact with must be disinfected
  • Barbara Streisand   - The toilet bowl in her dressing room must be lined with rose petals.
  • Britney Spears        - When on tour in England, she once requested that a framed photo of Princess Diana be placed in all of her dressing rooms
  • Van Halen               - A large bowl of M&Ms needed to be in the dressing room but all of the brown ones needed to be removed

Are these just spoiled, eccentric stars or do these requests serve a purpose?

When the rider is fulfilled, it demonstrates to the artist that the organizers have read through the requirements of the contract and have taken great care to ensure that every detail has been met – not just of the potentially outrageous request but it also creates comfort that all of the necessary items are in order. The outrageous rider requirement acts as a signal to the artist of whether things are in order or whether they need to review things in detail.

I recently overheard discussion about a science project where the student had created some incredible work. During the discussion, the student was asked about a basic principle upon which the work would have been built. This seemed to have caught the student off guard as it would have been a question which fell outside of a prepared presentation on the project. The result, though, had the impact of showing that the student may not have truly understood how the results came to be. The student most likely knew the concept but was unable to articulate the base structure of the work when being asked about it. What was possibly a small item acted as a sign that more information was required to properly assess the work put forward in the presentation.

As the judging window is so brief at science fairs, it is important to know and be able to demonstrate the basics of the work being presented. Having the small stuff in place creates confidence to know that everything that needs to be done has been done.

You don’t need to sweat it, but you cannot ignore it.