Shep Gordon, Restriction, and the Power of Scarcity

The most famous talent manager in the world built an empire by creating division and scarcity. When it comes to the career of Shep Gordon, there are countless insights that could fill volumes of articles. This particular article, however, is getting to the heart of the mechanism that ultimately cemented his success as one of the most remarkable Hollywood managers of all time. Gordon, who made a name for himself managing Alice Cooper’s rise to fame isn’t just pushing papers for an incomprehensible list of A-list actors, musicians, and, in a later life, celebrity chefs. 

He’s a change maker and the way he made Alice Cooper (who he met in 1968 in Venice Beach) an international star might surprise you. Inside of this fact is an important lesson. Gordon didn’t try to coordinate the production of the best music possible. Gordon’s managerial advice wasn’t to create a group of raving fans like Seth Godin would suggest. He didn’t even try to market Alice Cooper in a positive light. 

The now infamous strategy that launched both Gordon and Alice Cooper into super stardom was simple: make the parents of the world’s youth hate him. With the hatred of the parents, Gordon knew he’d have millions of young people desperate to buy the albums they weren’t allowed to have.

And, he was right. Make no mistake that Alice Cooper didn’t break box office records until members of Parliament requested his performances be banned in the U.K.. 

The lesson might seem odd, but you already know the power of restriction well. The prohibition drove an increase in alcohol consumption. The stay at home order made hobbyist joggers out of otherwise sedentary individuals. I chuckled to read a meme the other day that said, “I want to congratulate Drugs on winning the War on Drugs.” The list goes on. 

Effective marketing, like art, is polarizing. Humans are driven by scarcity. You (and I) are compelled by scarcity and it’s a fact better worth knowing than pretending isn’t there. 

How are you moved by what’s forbidden? What’s your relationship with restriction? Can you use it for more positive outcomes?

9/9/20 WOD


[Meet at Anderson Park]


[Meet at Pan Pacific Park]


Bent Row

Plyo Push Ups

Then, complete 4 rounds for time of:
8 Unbroken Shoulder-to-Overhead (135/95)
10 Unbroken Front Squats
12 Unbroken Deadlifts
400m Run