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An Under-Spending Problem

Q: Other than price, how do you gauge if something is “expensive”?
A: Measure it against opportunity cost.

In the late 1940’s, Walt Disney hired a team of nature photographers to record film for a new nature documentary called The True-Life Adventures.

Walt said: “The biggest problem was getting [the photographers] to keep shooting. They would be too conservative with film because when they were working on their own they had to buy that film. They would cut the camera just as an animal would do something. I had to pound: Shoot, shoot! I had to sell them on the idea that the film was the cheapest thing [in our operation]…”

Walt identified that the goal wasn’t to stretch a dollar, it was to maximize a dollar. He could have made the movie for cheaper by stopping filming and keeping film-costs to a minimum, but he didn’t want cheap, he wanted great. 

That philosophy earned his studio an Academy Award on that first production, and an additional seven Oscars across the following twelve films in the series.

Actionable Question: What is one thing that you think is too expensive to “waste”, when in fact “wasting” would create a better outcome?

-Andrew Nemeth

Thanks to David Perell for sharing about his trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum.