Netflix has a got a real winner with this incredible documentary about the Fyre Festival.
If you haven’t heard of the Fyre Festival, you may have seen on a variety of news channels about festival goers being stranded on an Caribbean island – The Bahamas; without much food let alone the numerous music acts that pulled-out probably knowing it was going to be a complete failure.
Well, let’s roll-back to the beginning.
The focus is mostly on the brainchild of the Fyre Festival – CEO Billy McFarland of parent company Fyre Media.
Billy McFarland like most entrepreneurs are ambitious and hungry for success and there isn’t anything wrong with being driven and determined.
However, having a certain amout of success with his [Billy McFarland] previous venture the Magnises ‘metal’ black credit card, which had its numbers cut-out rather than embossed on the card, which was quite a unique selling-point, and its market was to the more wealthy hip-young movers and shakers, who paid an annual fee of $250 and in exchange got a social network of like minded individuals as well as benefits like VIP treatment to concerts, events and nights out to restaurants.
Though Magnises became profitable two years after its inception in 2015, it fell-short of what it advertised and it was reported that Billy McFarland had a reputation of ‘over-promising’ the benefits to its customers.
Another venture was the next step in the progression of McFarland’s Fyre Media empire building.
It was unfortunate that Billy McFarland didn’t learn to walk, before, he not only convinced himself of his gift of making a profitable business, but those he came into contact with.
When you aim high the chances of failing is so huge, that any right-thinking investor should, and you would hope to investigate thoroughly, whether the business model and what the product or service is being offered to the paying customer can be realistically achieved.
So, Billy McFarland wanted a good life and wanted to give that experience to those that wanted to share this luxurious lifestyle of sun, sea, sand and a lot of fun.
It is disappointing that Carola Jain the investor and often portrayed in this documentary as Billy McFarland’s mentor didn’t see that this ‘luxurious festival’ was going to end in the very least a disappointment, due to its far reaching promises of having a celebrity chef cooking for 10,000 people is quite ludicrous.
In the footage she doesn’t seem to pull apart what Billy is saying or what he needs more money for. Without questioning the person you’re giving millions of dollars to (reportedly she lost $4 million), is bad business practice and can be seen within the law as facilitating, however, loosely on this mess, which was caused largely to do with naivety and having a fantasy mindset of being able to achieve in this get-rich-quick-scheme.
Furthermore, on Billy McFarland’s side he wanted to be successful, but didn’t really know what he was doing and therefore was in fantasy-land of wanting to be successful and wealthy – but could only achieve this if he tapped-up enough wealthy people, so he could spend their money whether things became a business success or not.
The fall-out of the collapse of the Fyre Festival actually hurt alot of the workers and the ‘poor’ people who thought they would financially benefit as well as the Tourism Department of The Bahamas Government, from having this festival on their small part of The Bahamas – The Exuma island.
Though those that looked-on who either couldn’t afford to join this high-end luxurious festival, or other companies who spent years building-up there own successful festivals – pretty much laughed at all of those responsible for the collapse of the Fyre Festival.
The only benefit of watching these tell-all documentaries is to be educated in how-not-to-do-things.
The smartest thing Billy McFarland should have done is to make no promises and just say to festival goers – this could be great or as festivals go – could end-up not being too great. So the expectation is lower and paying customers would have just shrugged their shoulders if it wasn’t a great experience. Furthermore, it would have been hit and miss whether festival goers would have returned the following year, but at least it would have had a better chance of surviving as a business and as a festival.
Billy McFarland was convicted of mail and wire fraud on the 11th October 2018, and is serving six-years in a federal prison in Orange County, New York.