Weekly Thoughts


You Talkin’ to Me?

When scanning the morning news we saw a click-bait article on the best unplanned movie moments.  Despite the vast amount of time and resources that go into making movies, some memorable cinematic moments are impromptu. 

Take, for instance, when, in The Empire Strikes Back, Princess Leia says “I love you” to Han Solo.  Harrison Ford was scripted to say “I love you, too”, which makes complete sense.  Instead, Harrison adjusted and responded with “I know”.  What a line. 

Titanic director Jim Cameron made Leonardo DiCaprio’s line, “I’m the king of the world!” up on the spot. 

Robert DeNiro’s iconic “You talkin’ to me?” line in the 1989 hit Taxi Driver was entirely unscripted—and timeless. 

Then there’s the scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere shows Julia Roberts a beautiful necklace in a jewelry box.  When she tries to touch the necklace, Gere unexpectedly snaps the box shut, resulting in that magical Julia Roberts laugh.

Dirty Dancing has a memorable scene where Johnny and Baby are crawling toward each other in the dance studio.  That wasn’t part of the script; Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey were just warming up and their chemistry was caught on film. 

In The Godfather’s original script, when a lieutenant was charged with a hit, the line was “Leave the gun”.  Instead, the actor improvised and came up with the famous line, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”  

In the less classy yet equally timeless movie Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carry was just playing around when he came up with “the most annoying sound in the world” in Lloyd and Harry’s van ride to Aspen (to the chagrin of parents of teenage boys everywhere). 

We speak often with people interested in getting into the EtA space.  We’ve noticed a lot of these people want to plan everything in advance.  What exactly do our LOIs look like?  What type of marketing software do we use?  What legal structure do we have?  What does our compensation structure look like?  How is our work-life balance?  How do we structure deals? Do we use seller notes?  How do we hire people?  While these are all valid questions, sometimes it feels like missing the forest for the trees.

We started with a somewhat broad idea to buy small businesses from retiring owners and use the cash flows from those businesses to buy other businesses.  We have figured out the details as we went.  Today, the most special parts of Chenmark are the result of unexpected (and often painful) experiences.  Our recruiting process, deal origination, working capital approach, governance philosophy, and oversight functionality—none of these could have been planned in advance.  

The clickbait article reminded us that, yes, it’s important to have a plan.  But detailed plans rarely create something special.  Our best advice for those interested in the EtA space would be to give oneself enough space to allow for some unexpected magic to happen.  

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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