Steve stood outside his place of business.
In its heyday, one of the most popular in New York City.
Traditionally, owners are inside, walking from table to table, asking, “Is everything all right? Can I get you anything?”
Why was he outside?
Because he alone awarded the privilege of going inside.
Steve was not “good looking” by conventional standards.
Ironically, he might not get in if he were on the candidate side of this bargain.
Each night, he faced hundreds begging to be let in.
Steve was brutal in his evaluations and ruthless in his denials.
Outside, everyone could see swarms of people wanting in. Some nights the crush surged out into the street.
This arrangement was not poor planning or arbitrary.
Steve understood no one could see a full venue, but everyone can see people clamoring to get in.
Throngs of hopefuls would return night after night trying to make the cut.
The "stars" and "elites" entered through a back entrance.
Some described the entry standard as “high.” It wasn’t.
It suited the business. That's always the real standard.
In this story, 28-year-old Steve Rubell is the overlord assessing "candidates" outside the most famous nightclub in the world, Studio 54.
He described his methods as “Casting a play” or “Mixing a Salad.”
If you were lucky enough to get inside, you might see Cher, Elton John, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, or Mick Jagger (Hey, it was the 80s.)
Wherever you’re trying to get in, someone who got there before you is giving you a once-over every bit as cooly as Steve Rubell.
(No. Of course it's not fair.)
And no matter what explicit rules exist, part of that process is going to happen a human way.
What’s happening on the outside has nothing to do with what’s happening inside.
Getting in is a different job from being in.
You still have to “prove yourself at the door” and Steve’s experiment showed that most people don’t do a great job of it.
When you make a good job of it, you get glorious access.
You can't meet the stars or be one, without access.
You can work magic, once you're inside.
What happens at "the door" may seem random, but it’s not.
You can present the right stuff and you can make it less random.
If you want in, get Booster Shot and get through the door.
Like Studio 54
It's not cheap.
It's not random and...
It's not for everyone.
It's for you if you want to understand what the "Steves" of this world need see before they'll let you in,