5 Vital Life Lessons From Netflix’s ‘Fyre’ Documentary

Streaming platform Netflix released a lot of heavy hitters the last few weeks—we lovedTidying Up with Marie Kondo so much that we dedicated one article for that alone.

One other Netflix original—a documentary this time—is also making waves. And we’re more than excited to share with you the things we loved about it.

Where there is smoke, there is Fyre

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened provides viewers with a more insider approach to one of the most bizarre events of 2017.

The documentary tells the story of the botched Fyre Festival, supposedly a “luxury” music festival in the Bahamas. The festival was put up by entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule.

Although there was much hype that surrounded the event, thanks to the massive influencer marketing employed by the organizers, the entire event itself was anything but FOMO-inducing.

If you haven’t seen the documentary yet, we strongly encourage you to do so. But if you’re still on the fence as to whether or not you should watch it, we’ve handpicked some nuggets from this surreal event. Trust us, you can get more than just a healthy dose of schadenfreude there.

1. Not all influencers are made equal

In this day and age, everyone wants to be social media famous. But it doesn’t stop there: people who want to accrue thousands of followers want to get freebies and payments in exchange for branded posts. If you still can’t picture them, think of your influencers as the unholy marriage between timawa bloggers and “haoshiao” journalists.

Through the power of influencer marketing, thousands of people were convinced to part with their moneys in an instant. All to go to Fyre for the ‘gram.

Posts by people like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Hailey Baldwin—social media personalities with legions of followers—sparked conversation regarding Fyre. Despite giving scant details, their posts were more than enough to lure eager “experience seekers” to spend their money without hesitation.

Although influencers aren’t inherently bad, Fyre revealed a sinister side about our relationship with our favorite Instagram-famous personalities.

First, it shows how gullible people are in the face of accounts with high metrics. Second, we don’t hold these influencers accountable as to whether or not they’re promoting a brand or merely just posting a glimpse of their lives. The line between advertising and online expression has been blurred and consumers are the one taking the brunt of this whole mess.

Since influencers are now deeply embedded in our collective online DNA, the least we can do is become more discerning with the people we follow as well as the products and services they shove down our throats. Just because some model tells you to jump doesn’t mean you’ll ask, “how high?”

(Read: 10 Ways Being A “Tita” Actually Saves You A Lot Of Money)

2. Learn how to stave off FOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is one of the nastiest diseases of this epoch with a huge effect on not just our feelings but our finances (as we’ve covered before). It turns our social media habits against us so we will have this miserable feeling gnawing us from the inside. Unfortunately, brands exploit our social media-driven frustration to turn our despair into sales.

Going back to the case of Fyre, the biggest selling point of the doomed festival was its exclusivity. The marketing teams behind the company were able to craft a compelling narrative of opulence—and people were suckers enough to pay as much as $250,000 just to get in. They bombarded people with video ads of models having a great time and they were asking you one thing: why aren’t you here with us?

Those who put more premium in the number of likes and follows they get from Facebook or Instagram are more susceptible to this. If your goal this 2019 is to become more prudent with your finances, learn how to be comfortable in your own skin and accept that you can’t be there. Missing out is not a bad thing.

In one of the outtakes used in the documentary, McFarland even admitted that they’re “selling a pipe dream to your average loser.” Guess who’s the loser there?

3. Learn how to cut your losses

Hubris is a dangerous game to play. It gives you the mindset that everything is doable even if the odds are astronomically slim.

Although influencers played a huge part in creating this disasterpiece, the organizers were the ones who tripped up in the first place. This is especially exemplified thoughout the documentary with tales of how, despite any advice to the contrary, McFarland was insistent that the festival must push through.

When the cracks in the festival preparation were beginning to reveal themselves, McFarland still insisted they push through. When one of his employees asked him to cancel the event even before the guests arrive, he insisted that the show must go on. The documentary even revealed that they didn’t defraud the guests, but it was merely “false advertisement” on their part.

All this and more could’ve been prevented if they nipped it in the bud before it even escalated. It was eventually revealed that McFarlane doesn’t know how to stop. This is even evident when they talk about his other venure, another “exclusive” experience—the membership club, Magnesis, which was chest-deep in debt.

Whether you have loans you must settle or some personal issues to contend with, you must deal with your problems one by one instead of pushing on and hoping your next move will absolve your previous transgressions. Don’t go way over your head and do something insurmountable while you still have problems to deal with.

(Read: How Debt And Financial Distress Can Affect Your Behavior)

4. Walk away when it’s too much

Although Fyre Festival is full of villains, there are a few diamonds in the rough—one of them was seasoned events organizer Andy King. Acting as McFarland’s fixer and mentor, King came to the rescue multiple times whether it’s was an issue with the catering or logistics. However, it can only go on for so long before things take a weird turn.

At one point in the documentary, the ordeal became surreal after the Bahamian customs blocked the importation of four containers of water for the guests. With no drinkable water for the guests, McFarland contacted King and insisted on the latter giving sexual favors to the customs officer to get the water. In a stunning twist of events, King was ready to comply—only for the containers to be cleared without any favors given.

What can we learn about the whole ordeal? Sometimes, we are willing to risk life and limb for people even if our relationship with them is toxic, to say the least. Although taking one for the team is perfectly fine, you have to examine whether or not such move will greatly disadvantage you. If you can clearly see that only a few people will benefit with your sacrifice, sashay away and tell them “bye, Felicia.”

(Read: 5 People Share How They Paid Off Their Debts)

5. Do not overpromise

In a report by the Washington Post, the author wrote that the Fyre Festival organizers had a knack for selling a dream too big—only for those sales pitches to never materialize. Turns out, Fyre Festival is just the most recent illusion sold by the organizers to the public and they’ve been doing it ever since.

Case in point: McFarland’s Magnises, a membership club giving subscribers exclusive access to some of the hippest events in their city. Apart from the member-only group, they created offshoots such as SportsPass for sporting events and Magnises Air for special chartered air travels. Although a lot of people trusted McFarland and his ventures, there were several complaints from people about not getting what they paid for.

Unfortunately, the festival organizers aren’t the only ones prone to selling too much hype to the people. There are times that we’re forced to say that we can deliver, only to fail miserably at our attempt because our eyes are bigger than our mouths. Avoid punching above your weight. And if you’ve already overpromised something, take ownership of your mistake and communicate it properly so everyone can still salvage your circumstance.

Netflix’s Fyre can be a lot of things: a case study on influencer marketing, a cautionary tale about overpromising and underdelivering, a hilarious and sometimes painful cringe comedy, and a gloriously satisfying schadenfreude. If you haven’t seen the documentary, we cannot stress enough for you to watch it.

Also, we all need a friend like Andy King in our lives.

Sources: Forbes, The New Republic, Pitchfork