Rethinking the MacGuffin

Earlier this month, I wrote about how it’s in our nature to hope against all odds.

This time around, I’m climbing back on my soapbox with a slightly different message. It goes something like: ‘it’s in our nature to put our hope, our blind trust, and even our money into something we believe will beat the odds.’

Or in the case of one twitchy, thirty-year-old whiz kid who’s laying low in the Bahamas while billions of dollars go over the falls, someone who knows how to beat them. In this case, think Dustin Hoffman counting cards in Rain Main…but with a fancy degree from MIT.

While I don’t need to elaborate, here’s the scoop on FTX collapsing like an accordion if you really need it.

For better or for worse amigo, we live in interesting times.

Memes of the Day

​​​​Rethinking the MacGuffin  

​​​​I can’t resist riffing on some thoughts from Ben Hunt, who explores FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried through the lens of story structure.

His take?

It was a con right from the start—but one that story after story has been priming us to believe (and if we’re not sober and self-examining as hell, fall for…) for nearly a thousand years.

Hunt reminds us that every screenplay has what Alfred Hitchcock once called a ‘MacGuffin’—shorthand for the valuable, hard-to-obtain item / resource / secret / story outcome that the hero wants.

In the hero’s journey, it’s called the ultimate boon.

In The Last Crusade, (and also in Monty Python) it’s the Holy Grail.

In Norse mythology, stories like Aladdin, and fairy tales like Rumpelstiltskin, it’s the ‘Magical Money Machine,’ a recurring genie-in-a-lamp entity that can create massive wealth from nothing.

Sound familiar?

Right on target, Hunt writes:

“But the best place to find this MacGuffin today isn’t in Hollywood but on Wall Street. Because once you start looking for the Magical Money Machine in financial media and financial advertising and, most prominently, in the stories that we financial professionals tell ourselves, you will find it EVERYWHERE.”

With that, he clears his throat and makes a confession.

“Sure, we citizens of Wall Street know full well that of course there’s no such thing as a Magical Money Machine, and when we talk with each other in public we laugh at the idea, like ‘oh, haha, get a load of these rubes who believe in this nonsense.’ But in private we whisper our heart’s truth, that there is such a device.

Because the human truth is that deep down in every single one of us who makes our living in the financial world, we believe that there IS a Magical Money Machine and that if we just look hard enough or get lucky enough, we will find it.”

From Vegas casinos to housing bubbles, there’s no denying it.

Where the sharpish, scion-of-society types still fall for the old free lunch trick, intellectual honesty has a nice, sharp sting to it.

The kind that reminds us we’re alive. 

All in the Journey

​​​​At Dare Capital, we remember that the MacGuffin is not the point of the hero’s journey. Rather, and through every twist and turn, the point is the hero’s own refining transformation.

That excites us.

Because regardless of the next great thing that will make everyone rich, we dig transformation. And we’ve been known to help an entrepreneur or two get the working capital they need to get started.

Success? Setbacks? Painful lessons that challenge us to be better, or at least more honest versions of ourselves?

It’s all in the journey.

So, if you’re looking for working capital, give us a call and let’s talk about the Dare client experience.

Happy trails.

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