Keep Expectations Low

It's amazing how you can spin almost any news.

In my business, years ago, ratings were all that many people were watching your show.

Until networks that didn't have a lot of people watching their shows concentrated on the number of young people watching their shows.

I suspect when that looks bad, they'll move onto the number of insomniacs with more than two pets watching their show.

Anything that can be spun to make them look good.

I'm no stranger to this spin game myself.

As a kid, I used to warn my parents not to be too upset when my report card arrived...that there'd be a lot of "F"s there.

Lo and behold, when they saw a couple of "C"s and "D"s in there, I looked absolutely brilliant. I wasn't, but compared to what they feared, it sure seemed like I was.

I saw this in full throttle last night with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Obama saying his North Carolina win was indeed a game-changer, playing off his opponent's prediction the state really mattered.

Senator Clinton felt otherwise, insisting her narrow win in Indiana was the more important win, that since she won Pennsylvania and Obama won North Carolina, she won the rubber match.

How's that for chutzpah?


But not unprecedented.

Companies do it too, routinely bracing Wall Street analysts for a lousy quarter, then predictably beating their own lousy expectations. Everyone's happy.

So, word to the wise: Keep expectations low.

Or as my dad used to say, "Neil, stay humble. In your case, it'll come in handy."

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