You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

I was chatting with a newcomer to our industry yesterday and he reminded me of how life was in the beginning stages of Sportsman Channel: ignorance was bliss.  Like most start-ups, the network had a mix of people from all walks of life, but I am not sure if anyone fully understood the deep-seeded roots of the cable/satellite world. It is like a night club with a very tall, muscular bouncer with a scowl on his face at the entrance. You do all you can to make him smile and grant you entry, but in the back of your mind, you know it is practically impossible.

Back to my newcomer, he wants his client (one of our producers) to get on a late night talk show.

“Good luck,” I said sarcastically. “Most talk shows tend to shy away from folks who make a living via guns.”

He knew that, of course, but believed in his client’s “brand” so much, that he was going to try anyway. And he explained to me, “You know, I really don’t have any experience in PR.”

Shocker. But then I warmed up to him because I remembered the early days of the network when I didn’t know anything about cable PR and very little about outdoor TV.  I was lucky to not know what I was getting into. If I realized how difficult it was to get ink in Multichannel News, or even Wall Street Journal, I probably would have freaked out. But instead, I said, “I am going to try it anyway.”

So I told him, “I bet you anything, you’ll get him on there because you don’t know what you don’t know.” He didn’t really understand me.

The funny thing is, if you want something bad enough and believe in something strong enough, you’ll make it happen. The dozen of us that made up Sportsman Channel in the early days believed in the network so much, it made us creative in getting press, finding clients and securing programming. That creativeness is carried through still today. And that, my friends, is what my newcomer is using right now to get his producer on a late night talk show.

So embrace what you don’t know and smile when people tell you “ignorance is bliss” because by gosh, it really is.

Do you have a story where your ignorance helped you?


  1. JR Robbins on July 7, 2010 at 11:48 am

    You might tell your client about two champion turkey callers I saw on a daytime talk show once. These guys were superlative callers. While they did their routines facing the camera, the two Madison-Avenue hosts sat in the background laughing at them. It was incredibly insutling.

    Not all mainstream media are so ignorant, however. NPR was pretty good about NRA’s Women On Target program, as were several major newspapers.

    Keep up the blog.

  2. Dan Murphy on July 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I thought it was called “beginner’s luck” 🙂

    Glad to see you blogging Michelle. I still plan to take you up on that offer to stop into your office. I just need to find the time. Looking forward to reading more from your blog.

  3. Lisa Metheny on July 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Yay! Michelle’s got a blog! Good job Posh, I think you will rock the blog world for sure. BTW, Bulletproof, seriously one of the best names I have heard in a long time. Then when you add into the equation your personality–it fits perfectly. I will be following.

  4. Michelle on July 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you Lisa! I tried to incorporate “Posh” into the blog title, but it just didn’t roll off the tongue.

  5. Michelle on July 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    And there is the reason you don’t see much of us on broadcast TV – unless we are cooking, or supporting a non-profit cause. Thanks for following JR!