So, I know the title sounds strange, Hawk Moth had transformed back into Gabriel in The Collector
after all. I'm not debating that, but trust me, this is going somewhere.
As we all know, a video has been released not so long ago, in which Hawk Moth was singing about defeating Ladybug and Chat Noir. Apart from the fact that it's really catchy and all, one can't help but notice that certain parts don't seem to fall in line with what we thought to be his true intentions (list of these parts down below).
On one of my many, many
rewatches it hit me. It started to all make sense as this question popped into my head: What if Hawk Moth isn't a person
What I mean by this is that he is some sort of evil 'force', 'power' or 'spirit' (for lack of a better word) asscociated with the Butterfly Miraculous. Gabriel is, as the Miraculous' wielder, merely his 'host'.
These are some of the things I found peculiar about the song:
- When Gabriel says 'Nooroo, drop me a beat', his voice doesn't appear to be Gabriel's, but Hawk Moth's instead (although I could've just misheard this one)
- When Hawk Moth sings 'I give the forgotten', Gabriel is seen on screen right at the beginning of his transformation sequence
- After 'A chance to be reborn', Hawk Moth is shown
- Hawk Moth sings about 'his faithful servant' before he says 'Dark Wings, Rise', which could be interpreted as 'before Gabriel has transformed'
- Gabriel has never shown interest in ruling the world, yet he sings the lines 'once I have their Miraculous then I'll rule the world'
- The goal to save Emily has nothing to do with the repeated line 'All of Paris akumatized'
- Apperantly Hawk Moth want no more secrets (this would mean knowing Ladybug and Chat Noir's identities, but also revealing his own) and no more lies, which makes less sense for Gabriel
- Hawk Moth wants/has a 'villain army' that must obey his commands
- Perhaps the biggest point of them all: when Hawk Moth sings 'my plan goes into action', Gabriel is seen on screen litterally surrounded by the words 'MY PLAN', which could be a hint to all of this
All these points could probably be explained with different reasons, but isn't it a coincidence that all these points seem to be either hinting at the theory or contradicting everything we thought we knew about Hawk Moth?
Suppose the theory is correct. That could also explain some other things in the show:
- If Gabriel were to ever give up or lose his Miraclous, how slim are the odds that it'd end up in the hands of someone who's also evil and using it the same way, even going by the same name?
- Why did Gabriel act so out of character in Chat Blanc after he found out about Adrien's secret? And didn't he already know that Adrien couldn't be Chat Noir from Gorizilla, when they were standing next to eachother?
- Hawk Moth doesn't show himself in public that much. If he does, he makes sure he can't be seen by lots of people. There's only one exception to the rule: Hero's day, when he made sure he could be seen by all of Paris.
Point one could simply be explained by saying that whoever passes by the new Butterfly next would be consumed by Hawk Moth in the same way Gabriel supposedly is.
Let's suppose that Gabriel tried to keep the tought 'Adrien = Chat Noir' out of his head for as long as he was speculating (deny until proven otherwise), to keep Hawk Moth from doing the horrible things he'd do to him if he found out (which unfortunately didn't work in Chat Blanc
, hence his sudden personality change). That could explain point two.
Point three could be because he had almost fulfilled his true goal: akumatizing all of Paris (and from there he'd presumably start to spread to the rest of France, Europe, the world etc.). Aditionally, when Mayura set out to save him by using a sentimonster, he appeared somewhat sad
. The host's emotions normally don't seem to change after the creation of a sentimonster (except for August, but he is a baby and the thing he wanted litterally appeared right before his eyes). Perhaps Hawk Moth was already sad because he lost the power of Scarlet Moth?
The only other time I can remember him confidently being in public was in Miracle Queen
, when Chloe had all of Paris under control with her wasps (and Hawk Moth had Chloe under his
control, with the Akuma). If Chloe had managed to control all of Paris, that true goal could've been achieved if he took control over Chloe (which he basically already had).
One last point I'd like to add is that there seems to be a recurring theme that Miraculouses cant be used for your own good without there being consequences (this was apparently in the concept version, Master Fu literally said 'But the Miraculous must never be used for the wrong reasons' in Feast
, and it kinda happened in Chat Blanc
, as the episode would've never happened if Marinette just waited for a better moment to deliver the present). Besides, in Origins - part 1
Nooroo did say that the Miraculouses weren't meant for what Gabriel was about to do. Gabriel's goal of saving his wife sure isn't entirely
selfish, but perhaps selfish enough to also do something bad to him?
So, enough with the 'evidence' I've provided, let's go to the actual story I think is behind all of this.
I think that the Butterfly Miraculous is tempting you to misuse it. If you've seen Aladdin
, think of it as the cave that contained the lamp: there's an entire world with more possibilities than you could ever imagine, but if you do anything but this one allowed thing than that'd be your doom. The doom in this case is being consumed by the dark 'force' known as Hawk Moth. He lures you in with promises to make your life better and does so when you accept, but without telling you that your life will become his. Once he's taken full control over his host, he gives him the power to do the same with other people (therefore creating a double meaning in 'I give the forgotten a chance to be reborn' from the song). Hawk Moth will keep using his host as a slave, driving him insane by controlling his mind, until he gets what he wants. He has never come close because a single human doesn't live long enough to figure this out on his own. Until season two's finale, when Gabriel worked together with Nathalie to create Scarlet Moth. He's seen that two people together have the potential to achieve his goal, so now he keeps Gabriel from letting Nathalie quit being Mayura and Catalyst (I'm sure we'll se her again someday). Hawk Moth will never stop until he gets what he wants, and right now he's squeezing every bit of potential out of Gabriel as he possibly can. But his plans will never succeed if there are two Miraculouses out there that are more powerful than his, hence the need to obtain them.
To top it all off, I think I even know what 'chance to be reborn' trick Gabriel has fallen for.
This is unacceptable! Gabriel cannot do this to me! I'm the one who discovered him. Without me, he'd still be drawing his unworthy designs in his dismal, grim studio!
Audrey said this in Style Queen
, when Nathalie tells her that Gabriel has reserved a seat in the second
row. An unknown hobbyist whose designs apparently aren't even that great, just so happens to get discovered by the most powerful woman in the word of fashion? AND
he just so happens to turn into the world's most powerful fashion designer AND
he has the world's most successful brand of clothing?
A few weeks back, I posted about my wild success launching a hunting product on Shopify. The product sales have dropped off, but I am still doing $2k a week w/ 60% profit margin which is a life-changing amount of money for me. I got a ton of questions on how "I tested my idea before I launched it" on the first post and I wanted to clarify my thoughts.
I had a lot of product ideas. Most of them I thought were epic but ended up being really bad. The success came when I shifted my perspective on how I evaluated my ideas. There are two questions I think about when I bring a product in:
- How much money will it make?
- How certain am I it will make that much money?
Before my success, I found myself thinking exclusively about the first question and not at all about the second question. This post is about how to systematically tackle the second question.
Let's say I've got three hypothetical product ideas: a) Standard barbell back pads like https://www.amazon.com/s?k=barbell+pad
b) The "Rolls-Rari" It is a hybrid between a Rolls Royce and Ferrari that only costs $3,000. c) u/BigHairyGorlliaMan
's Epic Hot Sauce
If I pitch these ideas to people, they typically have thoughts like this: a) Barbell back pads: "I've seen those before. It's a well-established product. But how are you going to sell it when 1,000 people are already selling the same thing?" b) "Rolls-Rari" "That would sell like hotcakes. I would buy one. But, I have 0% confidence you can make a car that is better than everything on the market and sell it for a profit at $3,000" c) BigHairyGorlliaMan's Hot Sauce "How do I know your hot sauce is better than what's on the market? and even if it is better, how are you going to sell it?" If you categorize these objections, they fall into roughly three categories:
- Product-Market Fit Risk -- Do people even want my product? The hot sauce falls into this category. Our hot sauce might suck, and we are delusional about how good it is.
- Unit Economics/Manufacturing Risk -- Is it possible to make? Can you sell it profitably? The "Rolls-Rari" falls into this category. Our car might cost a lotttt more than the amount required to turn a profit at $3,0000 MSRP.
- Marketing-Sales Risk -- Can I sell my product in a cost-effective way? The barbell back pads & hot sauce fall into this category. We might have a product we know people buy and know we can make money selling it but either don't understand how to sell it or are delusional about the costs associated with selling it.
I started asking myself "Why would my hunting product not work?" I roughly knew how much it costed to manufacture but was unaware of how hard the small improvements to what was already on the market would be. I am an avid hunter myself and wanted this product for a long time but was unsure if other hunters wanted it. Although I thought I did, I had no idea how to sell the product.
I suggest tackling them in this order:
My favorite ways to mitigate risks:
- Solve the Unit Economics Equation / Reduce Manufacturing Risk -- it is the easiest and quickest. It is almost impossible to test things like Marketing-Sales risk as well if you do not know how much room you can spend on customer acquisition costs.
- Reduce Product-Market Fit Risk. This heavily correlates with how unique your item is. If you are trying to sell something that lots of other people have sold, you are not trying to innovate with the product. You are trying to innovate with the marketing strategy. It is really important to understand the difference between the two. If you are innovating on the product, you need to ask if the market wants what you are trying to do.
- Reduce Marketing-Sales Risk -- From talking with people at local meetups (now zoom calls,) this seems to be the one people struggle with the most. Just because you have something that people want, and you have good profit margins if you buy it overseas does not mean that it is magically going to sell. Understanding your path to customer and how much money it requires to obtain a customer makes, is how you make the money.
- Message suppliers to find cost data early. Everybody says I was promoting ImportYeti(Free) on my last post, but the tool is awesome. I highly recommend checking it out. I find the right factory has costs 10-15% lower than the ones I find on Alibaba. You do not have to know the "exact" cost often times. You just need to be in the ballpark.
- Get Samples. Self-explanatory. Reduces risk that the product is trash. ImportYeti helps with this as well since you can import from manufacturers, you are already familiar with. E.x. If I like Company ABC's Thermos and I know they buy it from Manufacturer XYZ, I can feel more comfortable that it's a good product.
- Create a unit analysis. Unit Economics is a big words for understanding how much money you make per item sold. This doesn't have to be crazy exact... in fact I think it is better if it's a little bit loose. It's a big warning sign if you're trying to sell a product and the numbers only work out if everything goes right. I feel like I'm always hit with small surprises. Pay attention to things like tariffs, shipping costs into the country, shipping costs to customers, packaging costs, warehousing costs, etc.
- Purchase a clone, repackage & sell. For example, I had the idea of selling a wok on Amazon a few months back. I went to the local Asian restaurant supply store bought 10 woks for $200 and sold them. It ended up being a failure because the warehousing costs were too high (Amazon calculated the space they took up individually -- not stacked) and my Amazon PPC costs were too high. The total experiment cost me roughly $75 bucks + 15 hours of my time and I learned a ton.
- Look for examples of other people successfully selling your product. As an example, I still find it helpful to assume that people leave reviews at a rate of around 1-2%. If I see a product with 1000 reviews, I know people are buying lots of it. I look at other websites as well.
- Look at ad buy rates and then draw reasonable conclusions. I use Google's Keyword Planner(Free) & SEMRush(Free Tier works fine) to help with this. It helps determine demand & competition.
- Run ads & refund the customer. I especially love Facebook & Instagram ads for this purpose since you can create them so easily and can target so specifically. I've often thought I'm going to crush it with a product and am shocked when I spend $500 on FaceBook ads and get 1 sale. It is very grounding. I have always made the mistake of buying the product first though. If I just ran the ads, I would have learned there was an issue and saved money in the long run. I think Amazon PPC ads are very worthwhile too. I created a few failure products w/ Amazon FBA before my recent project that failed solely because my ACOGS was too high.
- Presell the product. I do not think this has to be as fancy as Kickstarter but anytime you can get somebody to pay you for something before it's made that is a super positive sign.
- Talk to potential customers in FaceBook Groups / Forums / Subreddits / in person asking for feedback. I find this very humbling and worthwhile. It not only helps test your idea but can help you innovate as well.
I ended up doing this with my hunting product:
- I messaged manufacturers and within a day or two found out my product changes were easy to do and confirmed cost.
- I started asking people on forums, and FaceBook groups related to hunting if they would be interested in this. I collected a lot of feedback and made a few more small changes to my product
- Luckily, my conversations with people on the forums led to a sort of "presale" that mitigated my risk of not selling it.
In summary, this change in approach is what led to my success. I stopped thinking I was right or that my ideas were good and started living in reality. It also led me to fail a lot faster and cheaper. If I had a bad idea, I knew about it in 5 days vs. 4 months and lost $200 instead of $2,000.
I'd like to give credit to Running Lean by Ash Mayura & Four Steps to Epiphany by Steven Blank for laying the foundations down in this line of thinking. I'd love any and all feedback or other ideas on how y'all test your product ideas.