There's no doubt that recent years have been a golden age for television with so many amazing shows on both traditional TV channels and streaming services. Breaking Bad, True Detective and House of Cards are just a few of the shows in recent memory that have elevated television's reputation as a storytelling medium.
But, undoubtedly, the ruler of TV is the recently wrapped up Game of Thrones (GOT), which was more akin to a pop culture phenomenon.
Unfortunately for many of the GOT faithful, season eight -- the show's last -- displeased many of its fans. Most were in an uproar over percieved poor storytelling in the final episodes. Other complaints included one episode that was so dark people couldn't see what was going on. Perhaps the most famous complaints, though, were that elements of our modern world kept popping up in the fictional medieval world of Westeros where the show was set.
In one of the last episodes, a Starbucks coffee cup could be seen in plain sight sitting on a table within easy view of the actors in the scene, as well as people watching at home. And in the final episode, two disposable water bottles could be seen peeking out from behind the legs of some of the characters.
Needless to say, when you are trying to immerse an audience in a fictional world of medieval fantasy, modern coffee cups and water bottles are distracting.
Game of Thrones leaving a plastic water bottle sitting there in the finale is such perfect symbolism for a show that spent the last two seasons rushing to get done and ignoring the important little details that made it great in the first place. pic.twitter.com/P4VWTuGvBM-- Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) May 20, 2019
Here are three lessons small business owners can learn from GOT's coffee cup and water bottle fiascos:
1. Quality control is a team effort.
Only the people on the set of GOT know how the coffee cup and the water bottles ended up in the final footage, but what is apparent is that nobody noticed these objects that should have stuck out like proverbial sore thumbs amidst all the swords, armor, carriages and castles.
When something is everybody's job, it can become nobody's job. If everyone tries to make their area of responsibility a perfect little circle, no one is looking between the circles. It also helps if you look at quality from the end user's perspective and not from the production/supply side.
We had a similar problem at my company recently. Customers were repeatedly calling about small issues and we were fixing each of them one at a time so it seemed like we were on top of things. It took one proactive team member to see that there was a connection with all these individual issues. She informed the rest of the team and went up the chain of command to fix the bigger problem and she did it by looking at it from customer's perspective.
2. Sometimes you can be too close to be objective.
I'm obviously not privy to what went on during the shooting of GOT, but my guess as to why nobody involved in the show seemed to notice the cup and bottles is because they lived and breathed the show so much that any object on the set was just swallowed up in the GOT universe and no longer looked out of place.
Or, perhaps, foreign objects were so out of place that they essentially became "invisible" to people who were wrapped up in the show's universe for eight seasons. Some fans of the show say the objects are evidence that the show makers simply got sloppy or didn't care about it any longer, but I doubt that is the case.
Sometimes you just need to take a step back or bring in a third-party to objectively look at a project to make sure there are no mistakes happening. Make a big deal about people catching mistakes in your processes so everyone is inclined to do it.
3. The more popular something is, the more it gets scrutinized.
Obviously, any television show or business should care about quality regardless of its popularity, but the more popular something is, the more it will be scrutinized. With such a rabid fan base, GOT was likely dissected frame by frame by some of the more fervent viewers. So, while those water bottles were just barely visible, they had no chance of being overlooked on a show as highly regarded as GOT.
This is something to keep in mind as your business grows. It's not uncommon for a small business to get high praise when it first starts out and then to start piling up complaints as it gets more recognition. This is often simply because more people know about it and more people are demanding service from the company. If the business is not able to accommodate an uptick in customers, its quality may suffer.