After I made up a law in my snowboarding post, people have been asking me what other laws I have. So without further ado, I present:
Big Ben’s Big Law #173
Anything you write will sound stupid when you read it one year later — other people may not realize this. In fact, it’ll sound smarter to them.
Big Ben’s Big Law #1
If you’re gonna lick it, stick it.
Big Ben’s Big Law #327
Sell 1% of your stock for every high priced consultant your company hires. (The consultants are good, the fact that your company needs them isn’t.)
Big Ben’s Big Law #4
If you have to rely soley on other people’s laws, you’re never gonna be king.
Big Ben’s Plagerized Law #983
You need at least 10,000 hours of practice at a skill (Malcolm Gladwell) to acquire fingerspitzengefuhl (try saying that fast five times, or read about John Boyd and the OODA Loop).
Big Ben’s Big Law #2
Follow what interests you, you probably won’t end up where you originally intended but it will make sense when you look back at it.
I’ll post more later, as I’ve just committed myself to having at least 983 laws.
2 Replies to “More Big Laws from Big Ben”
Re: the 10,000 hours of practice
How many times would a comic have to get on stage to get to 10,000 hours? The HBO specials are one hour long, is this a typical amount of time a performer gets each night?
@HoundDog79 – Most beginning comics start out by getting 3 to 5 minutes at an open mic. Once they start going in front of a paying audience, they usually get 5 to 8 minutes. If you’re able to get 10 to 12 minute sets on a nightly basis, you’re doing very well. Professional headliners do anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the setup of the show. 25-30 minutes is most common.
When you see an HBO special, the comic has spent anywhere from 2 to 20 years putting together this hour of material. The best HBO specials to watch is when it’s a comic’s first time on HBO — they use the best one hour of material they’ve ever written in their entire career. Once they are well known and are doing a special every 2-3 years, they only do new stuff that had less time to develop.
Some professional comics I know do 4 shows a night, but this is only possible on Friday and Saturday nights. So once you’re funny enough to be in front of an audience every night (but not well known yet), you can do up to 20 shows a week. Getting to this level can take anywhere from 3 to 10 years. 20 shows a week doing 30 minutes each time = 10 hours a week = 500 hours a year. So you’ll hit your 10,000 hours after around 20 years of being a professional. (So 23 to 30 years of total time.)
Keep in mind, Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000” hours is more of a concept than the actual amount of hours. The concept is that in order to become very good at something, you need to put in significantly more time than most other people who have tried to do or are doing that same thing. Some professions the amount of hours can be 3,000 while others it can be closer to 20,000.
For comics, it also depends on if you count the time spent writing, listening to other comedians, etc as part of your “10,000” hours. I’d venture to say that someone who spends 5 hours a day writing will improve quicker than someone who spends 30 minutes a month writing, even if they get the same amount of time in front of an audience each week.