3 Business Lessons From the Kids of South Park

01 3 Business Lessons From the Kids of South Park

What can your business learn from the makers of South Park? Comedy Central has a new documentary called “6 Days to Air.” It follows Matt Stone, Trey Parker and the staff of South Park as they create an episode of the show. If you’ve ever seen it, South Park is an animated show on Comedy Central. The show is an irreverent animated show that follows the lives of 4 kids in South Park, Colorado. If you’ve ever seen an animated movie, you may be aware to create one typically takes about three years to make. A 30 minute animated television show could take anywhere from 3-6 months to create.

The best thing about South Park is every episode is created in 4-10 days. This allows the show’s episodes to be fresh and topical. For example, during the BP Oil spill, BP’s CEO made some insensitive statements and then went on a media campaign apologizing. Within a week Matt and Trey had a show on the air mocking the entire fiasco.

So what lessons can you learn from the creators of South Park that can help your business.

  1. Act quickly. Money likes speed. That does not mean act without forethought. It means get the facts and make a decision. Don’t get caught in the paralysis of analysis. Trey and Matt have forced themselves to go at this pace because they know without imposing such deadlines they could take 3 years to make an episode, because there would always be on more tweak.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The night after the 2008 presidential election, South Park aired an episode in which Barak Obama beat John McCain in the election. Many people thought that they had created 2 episodes and aired the one that had the correct scenario. That would have been too expensive and too time consuming. Instead they made 1 episode, Obama beating McCain, and crossed their fingers. Had McCain won, the simply would have dealt with the missed call.
  3. Do what you love. These guys have fun. They work extremely hard. Along with making South Park they have created a hit musical, “The Book of Mormon,” that won 9 Tony awards. But they keep up their breakneck pace because every day they wake up excited about the prospects of the day.

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