What Bill Murray Can Teach You About Business
23rd October 2014
By: EJ Rumpke
My name is EJ Rumpke and Bill Murray crashed my bachelor party.
Yes, that is me in the above video and yes, the whole experience was as cool as it looks.
550+ million impressions 1,190,988 pageviews on Deadspin 207,000 Google search results CNN, BBC, E! News, Rolling Stone #BillMurray
SO HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
It was the Tuesday after Memorial Day and I woke up to a text from my buddy, Stephen, saying he had sent the video to Drew Magary at Deadspin. I thought to myself, “Oh, that’s pretty cool. Nothing’s going to happen with it,” and proceeded to make myself some breakfast.
Twenty minutes later, as I’m finishing up my meal, I’m checking Twitter on my phone and THERE IT IS. Drew posted it. The video went live.
I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s pretty damn cool.” I sent the link to my buddies, got in my car, and went to work. Little did I know what was about to happen that day…
Three days earlier, I was down in Charleston, SC, with 19 of my boys from Boston College. We rented a house in Folley Beach for the weekend to celebrate my impending nuptials. Saturday was our big night out, and for dinner, we had a private room reserved at Oak Steakhouse.
Early in the meal, one of my friends heads to the restroom downstairs and walks back into our room with this little smirk on his face. He quietly goes to sit down in the opposite end of the room and pulls another friend close by to tell him something. I don’t think anything of it and continue the conversation on my end of the table.
A few minutes later, I see our waiter talking to my whispering friends and just assume they are ordering some more drinks. Little do I know they are actually trying to buy someone else drinks.
Fifteen minutes later, I discovered they were trying to send a few drinks to a guy downstairs so he would come up and talk to us, but they wouldn’t tell me who it was. My buddies clumsily tried to keep that part a secret by forbidding me to go downstairs and see who they were talking about. But nature eventually called, and that’s when I found out who they were talking about: Bill Murray.
THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND
We ended up offering Bill and his table a round of drinks three times, and each time he politely declined. Thinking Bill wasn’t going to come upstairs, we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, so I ran downstairs quickly to use the bathroom one last time (there was a lot of wine.) I’m two steps down the stairs and who do I see walking up the stairs…Bill Murray. Knowing he is coming up to address me and my friends, I let him pass me and then do a quick 180 and walk up the stairs and follow him into the room.
I wasn’t able to take Bill’s advice and travel the world with my now-wife Kelly before we got married, but I did learn a few things from Bill that I’ve applied to the business side of my life.
I work at a startup based out of Baltimore called Kinglet and we are an online marketplace for office space. Here are five things I took away from Bill Murray crashing my bachelor party:
We tried to get Bill upstairs three times and each one resulted in a “no thank you.” We had just about given up hope when all of a sudden he came walking up the stairs. The same holds true with our startup Kinglet.
We launched our initial product and got great exposure, but we weren’t getting the traction we wanted. We were doing and saying all the right things, but received a lot of “no thank yous” from investors. This was frustrating, but we kept on pushing and iterating.
We tried new things, gathered feedback, and landed on a product we are extremely proud of. We’ve successfully raised $500,000 in seed fundraising, none of which would have been possible without our perseverance.
2. ALWAYS BE READY TO TELL YOUR STORY
Carl Spackler knows how to tell a story about his round with The Lama…and so does Bill Murray. Bill held the attention of every eye and ear in the room as he delivered his speech. People ask me why I think this video went viral and my response is this: he told a great story that almost everyone can relate to. He knew his audience and delivered a message that resonated with the group.
Working at a startup, you always need to be able to tell your story. Regardless of whether you’re a co-founder, manager, or intern, you always need to be ready to tell your story. As a startup, you are constantly selling yourself to potential clients and investors. You need to know your audience and tailor your message to them to sell sell sell. And always be ready. You never know when that chance meeting will happen or when you might run into that one person you’ve been trying to meet.
3. BE QUICK & TO THE POINT
Bill delivered great advice and did it in six sentences:
“So now listen here, I’m gonna give you some advice. If you have someone that you think is the one, don’t think let’s make a date, let’s plan this, make a party and get married. Take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world. Go to places that are hard to go to and hard to go off. And if when you come back to JFK, you’re still in love with the person, get married at the airport.”
Do the same with your business pitch. Know what you want to say and don’t waste people’s time. It shouldn’t take more than a few sentences to tell someone your story. If it takes any longer than that, shorten your story. If need be, practice it so you can nail your pitch every time you say it.
4. DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
Starting a business is hard. There are no shortcuts and it takes a “get shit done” mentality to be successful. Don’t add to the stress of starting a business by taking yourself too seriously. Be spontaneous and break up the monotony of your day.
Bill delivered great advice and was serious with his message, but then all of a sudden he says, “Let’s pick him up over our shoulders!” Nobody was expecting that, but it’s my favorite part of the story when I tell people.
5. FIND GOOD PARTNERS
In our office, we often say that that we have “Work Husbands.” We say this as a joke, but there is a lot of truth to it. With a young company, you are working long hours and surrounded by the same small group of people day in, day out. You may very well spend more time with your business partner than your significant other at home. Because of this, make sure you partner up with good people.
Whether you’re finding a co-founder, making your first hire, or bringing on an investor, don’t rush into a business relationship. You probably won’t be able to travel the world with this person before you hire them or decide to start a business with them, but make sure to spend some time with them before jumping into a big decision. Do your due diligence because you are going to spend a lot of time with this person.
Bill, I’ve done my due diligence after watching Caddy Shack for the 10th time over the weekend and I would like to extend an offer for you to join the Kinglet team. You bring positive energy everywhere you go and I would like to have some of that energy here at Kinglet. You can reach me at (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can talk about how to get you involved with our growing business.