What You Can Learn from Louis CK

by Holland-Mark | December 17, 2011

I think “Louie” is the best show on television right now. It’s almost certainly the best show about a divorced, balding, goatee’d ginger Dad trying to get laid in New York while raising two girls under 10 and telling jokes for money. Louie is the brainchild of the brilliant Louis CK, who undertook an equally brilliant experiment last week when he decided to sell a professionally produced video of his Beacon Theater show on the web for 5 bucks. No middle man, no DRM nonsense, no kidding. Pay your 5 bucks here through PayPal, and you can laugh for a full hour of HD video while Louie does his thing onstage. Did it work? You bet. I bought it immediately, and almost lost control of a bodily function a couple times during the set.

Big Lou broke even on his investment in 12 hours, and had made a cool $200 grand after 3 days of launching the site. I know this because he shared intimate details of the project’s economics in a refreshingly plainspoken follow up statement, which you can giggle admiringly through here. Today I got an e-mail titled, “A statement from Louie CK.” It read exactly as follows:

Hi.  This is LOuie.  It seriously is me. Im even going to leave the O stuipdly capatalized because who would pay an intern to do that?? Okay so you bought the thing with my fat face on it and you clicked the button that said i could email you. And i know that now you are thinking “aw shit. Why’d i let this guy into my life this way?”. Well dont worry. Because i really swear it that i wont bug you. I will not abuse this privalage of having your email. You wont hear from me again… Probably, unless i have something new to offer you. The reason i’m writing now, in the back of a car taking me to the Tonight Show set, is to let you know that as of now there is some new and cool stuff on my site, related to Live at the Beacon Theater. Theres a thing where you can download and print a dvd box cover and label so you can burn and make your own dvd of the video. And theres a new option where you can gift the special to as many people as you want (for 5 bucks each) and they’ll get a nice gifty email from you with a link to the video.

Also, some of you may know, i recently made a statement (that sounds so dumb. Like i’m the president or something) about how the video has been doing online. Im pasting it in here below in case you missed it.

Lastly I’m planning to put some more outtakes of the show on youtube and i think i will put one on the site that is only available for free to you folks on this list, who bought the thing and opted in. But dont hold me to that because really i just thought of it and typed it.

Okay well please have a happy rest of the year and more happy years after that. And please even have been happy in your past. What?

Thanks again for giving me 5 dollars. I bought 3 cokes with it.

Regards. Sincerely, Actually,


There is much to be learned from this. First, dis-intermediation is awesome. Look for ways to go direct to your audience… not only to pull cost from the equation, but so you can maintain a direct relationship with your customer in ways that will benefit you both.

Second, sometimes your most important business asset is the balls to try something that sounds crazy to everyone else, and maybe even to you at first. Think it through, of course, in terms of downside, upside, and risk. But if you really think you can pull it off, the only way to know is to give it a shot.

Third, people give you what you expect of them. Treat them like pirates, and they become one. Show them some trust, and they feel bad about screwing you out of your due. So they don’t.

Fourth, its thrilling to be spoken to like a person, by a person. Brand managers, take heed. And finally… Newton’s own Louis CK is an an innovator worthy of some love and attention from the BostInno community. So as one divorced, balding, bearded Dad to another; between two guys just trying to make a few sheckles and get some love in the downtime, I say unto you…Well played, sir. Well played.


This content was originally posted on bostinno.com on December 16th, 2011