The Fyre Festival was an epic disaster. Organizers hyped the festival, set on an obscure island in the Bahamas, as “the next Coachella”; attendees got stranded with little food and shelter, no entertainment, and no easy way to escape. Who could have known? Anyone who read the pitch deck. It’s filled with un-words that have no meaning. When you see un-words, you know it’s bullshit.
Leadership gurus will tell you to dream big. But execution is also necessary, and it’s a bitch. While big dreams fuel the entertainment business, anyone with a wallet ought to demand more than just vision. It’s rare to get a peek inside the hype machine, but thanks to Vanity Fair, you can now look at the leaked pitch deck for Fyre Festival investors. It’s as airy and vacuous as a helium soufflé.
Fyre is actually a talent booking platform
Fyre is a service enables people hire entertainment talent. This seems like a worthy goal. And in the only slide in this deck that appears to make sense, the founders describe what it does:
FYRE REMOVES THE FRICTION TO SECURING TALENT
Fyre is a global entertainment marketplace that helps venues, brands, and qualified private buyers book talent for live performances, appearances, and paid social posts through one consistent and easy digital platform.
If you’re still not getting it, here’s a picture:
But to get to that, you have to believe in the vision:
FYRE DEFINES HOW WE ENGAGE AUDIENCES, CONSUME MEDIA AND SHARE CONTENT BY CONNECTING CONSUMERS, CELEBRITIES AND BRANDS THROUGH LIVE EXPERIENCES.
Understanding that today’s cohort interacts, engages and follows a new generation of role models who are defining today’s culture, the FYRE platform changes the way how they interact with their fans, followers and brands.
What does this mean? Once you remove “engage,” “cohort,” and the rest of the meaningless words, you get this:
We help people hire talent. Our platform enables that talent to interact with audiences and brands.
Doesn’t sound like quite as attractive an investment now, does it?
The festival description is pure, empty hype
One way to get people interested in the Fyre platform is build festivals with it. But festivals with actual venues, performers, and attendees take a lot of work — you can just wave a software wand and make them happen. And that’s where Fyre went so horribly wrong.
If you’re going to believe, you have to start with this:
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
— Lamaan (@LamaanElGallal) April 28, 2017
But the true refinement of meaningless words is in the vision and the overview for the festival.
Fyre has a unique goal and inspiration: the exploration of the uncharted inspired by and referencing the five elements of the earth
Throughout the next five years, we will traverse the globe to find untouched lands and convert them into unparalleled experiences. Fyre will work to bring life to each region. Through the purchase of significant land, we will utilize the each festival as a major cultural event to bring awareness, visitors and livelihood to the land.
Fyre Festival leverages our global access to talent and our understanding of the millennial demographic to create
THE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE OF THE DECADE.
Fyre Festival is a rich experience that emboldens our quest to connect a diverse set of influencers. For two weekends in April and May, the curious and adventurous come together on a private Exuma island
Fyre Festival will feature music from the greatest talents in the world, immersive experiences through art, theatre, and a weekend long treasure hunt; as well as informative discussions with some of the brightest minds in the world. Fyre will be defined by its ability to connect: the ultimate in a tasteful experience.
Watch for the un-words
Un-words are words that have no meaning. In contrast to weasel words, which don’t have a precise meaning, these words are just filling space and creating wonder. When you see them, you know bullshit is coming.
Here are some of the un-words in this description:
If you see these words, be afraid. If you see them all in one place, keep your wallet in your pocket and cancel your plane reservations. Because you’re about to land in the twilight zone.
Here’s the full deck, for the adventurous among you.