Once again I’m late to the game. Though it’s been on the air for six seasons now, I only got into ABC’s Shark Tank a few months ago. I’d heard a little about the show over the years, but it wasn’t until I got cable in my new apartment and was able to watch hours of the show that CNBC airs during the week that I understood why people loved it so much. After making it a habit to watch the 4 to 5 hour mini-marathons that air Tuesdays and Wednesdays (in addition to at least one airing weeknights… except when hockey is inexplicably on), I’ve probably seen at least 90% of the episodes now — some multiple times. This new obsession got me thinking: What if the Disney executives did their own one-time version of the show at the upcoming D23 Expo?
I suppose since I’m pitching here, I should act accordingly:
Hello, Sharks. My name is Kyle Burbank and I’m seeking $100,000 in exchange for 100% of my revolutionary idea. Sharks, have you ever been on a Disney fan site before? Everyday, thousands of hardcore Disney fanatics share their opinions and ideas on everything from theme park attractions to consumer products. While most of these may just be critiques on recent plans, others have unique and intriguing ideas that, if brought to fruition, could be a game-changer for the company.
Imagine what could be accomplished by harnessing the talent and creativity of this group. Who knows what this company needs better than them? Much like Shark Daymond John made his money off of the brand FUBU, which stands for For Us By Us, these innovations could be for the fan community by the fan community.
Recently, the Orlando Sentinel wrote a piece on how fans and bloggers are benefitting theme parks. Isn’t it time that the Disney brand take advantage of this growing trend and elevate it to the next level? So which one of you Sharks will join me today and make these Disney dreams a reality?
OK, so this idea is pretty far fetched, but there actually is some precedent for it. Last year, Disney teamed up with TechStars to create the Disney Accelerator. This competition invited tech startups to develop ideas that would create a better entertainment experience. To do this, the teams each received a nice chunk of change or, if you’ve watched much Silicon Valley, “venture capital.” The program must have been successful, because earlier this year Disney announced they were doing another round.
I feel like the same could be done with a wider scope of fan ideas. This doesn’t mean I think that just any fan should be able to voice their ridiculous plans to the executives (we’ve all see how that goes at shareholders’ meetings), but the screening process could whittle the herd down to just a few thinkers who have fully fleshed out their ideas. Of course if they were going to make this a live show at the Expo or record it to air somewhere, they could also through in a few crazies just for fun like Shark Tank and American Idol are known to do.
Now I’m not saying that any idea we might have about the parks an Imagineer couldn’t have come up with or that whatever we think would be a slam-dunk product hasn’t been market-tested to the contrary, but what if these ideas actually haven’t occurred to anyone at Disney? While we’d all love to think that someone in Glendale or Burbank might have read all of our blogs, listened to all of our podcasts, and seen all of our tweets, the likelihood of that is extremely slim. So maybe just this once they should look to the fans and invite us into the Tank to hear what we’ve come up with.
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV