Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

It Better Be Packaged Right

April 19, 2020

by Robert Stevenson

Joshua Bell is a world-renowned American violinist who made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 17. He has performed with the world’s premiere orchestras and conductors and is also a Grammy winner. He fills the greatest concert halls in the world where the average seat will cost $100, and front row seats cost in the thousands.

The Washington Post newspaper set up an impromptu concert with Mr. Bell, as an experiment on perception and priorities. Would people in a hurry recognize the brilliance of this musician, even though he was dressed in jeans, long-sleeve T-shirt, and a baseball cap? Would the beauty of his music transcend the moment and cause them to pause and enjoy this incredible talent in the busy Metro train station in Washington, D.C.? Would priorities take precedence over listening to an international virtuoso who had recently won the Avery Fisher Award as the best classical musician in America?

The only thing that was exceptional to “see” for those who passed by Mr. Bell that day, was the $3.5 million Stradivarius violin he was playing (made in 1713). But, to those who saw him playing, it just looked like a regular old violin. “THE PACKAGE” (perception) didn’t draw people’s attention … even though the talent was exceptional. There was no advertising, no fanfare, no hype, no fancy clothes, no amazing concert hall or fabulous stage; just some guy in a baseball cap, standing up against a wall with his violin case open to receive donations.

Could a man who is paid $1,000 per minute to perform … who was playing the music of Bach, Brahms, Ponce and Massenet get their attention? Not really. The 3-minute video link below, will show you that 1097 people passed by. 27 people put money in his violin case as they walked by, and of those 27, only 7 of them paused for a moment to listen. Mr. Bell made $32.17 in 43 minutes of playing. There was NO applause or acknowledgement for his skill … a skill that three days prior to this experiment, filled Boston’s Symphony Hall; standing room only.

Here is the link to Mr. Bell playing at the Metro Station.
Link to Mr. Bell playing at the Metro Station

The point I am trying to make is that packaging is critical. When you are making a presentation to your client, boss, or peers … never forget that. You may have all the data and skills to make the presentation, but if you want to standout, pay attention to how it is packaged. Perception (the package) isn’t everything, but it SURE HELPS. As the experiment with Mr. Bell proves, it takes a lot more than just talent to get their attention.

Author Terry Goodkind once said, “Reality is irrelevant; perception is everything.” If a person doesn’t perceive the value, then to them, it’s not valuable. Good packaging elevates PERCEPTION OF VALUE.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

FREE Robert Stevenson newsletter

Why sign up for Robert’s weekly articles:

  • It is a great way to kick-off your week

  • It will motivate, inspire, educate, and challenge you

  • It will help to make you a better employee, leader, and person

  • He shares the insights he has learned from his clients and research

  • You will receive free a collection of his favorite articles

© 2023 Seeking Excellence A Robert Stevenson Corporation. All Rights Reserved