Sorry for the unusually long gap in blog posts. I have two excuses – firstly, I’ve become a bit of an obsessive twitter user … and secondly, I had a bad dose of “Man Flu”! During my convalescence, I did manage to catch a really good Sky Arts documentary on Pink Floyd’s creation of Dark Side of the Moon. For those who are not 70s music aficionados – here is the programme summary:-
Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” Classic Album is the creative story behind the masterpiece: “Dark Side Of The Moon”. “Dark Side Of The Moon” transformed Pink Floyd from art house favorites to global, stadium superstars. With the timeless qualities of its production and musicality, allied to the hypnotic evocation of its central themes – alienation, paranoia, madness, war and death, “Dark Side Of The Moon” would become the album that would dominate the 70’s and 80’s (with a record number of 741 consecutive weeks in the Billboard 200).
The reason I mention this was that I found it fascinating how a group of individuals could come together to produce something so brilliant. The programme showed that it was not just the brilliance of the 4 band members – it was the whole network of people around them. The documentary interviewed the band and explained the parts played by many others in producing this level of excellence. People like Alan Parsons (the producer), Storm Thorgerson (sleeve designer), Clare Torry (haunting female vocals), etc. Some of the cool quotes that intersperse the tracks were provided by roadies, doormen, etc – it was a real team effort.
Three things struck me – and felt very relevant to my thinking as I try to create a new start up business, VizWho:-
* You can get the core members of the team right – but to produce something special – all the team need to come together
* It’s so much easier to achieve this when you are young. Maybe it’s the lack of commitments – coupled with youthful enthusiasm. (Do I sound like an old git?!)
* Finally, once successful – is this possible to replicate? It was interesting seeing the ageing band members still playing their instruments brilliantly … but it’s unlikely they will every create another “Dark Side of the Moon”!
At the same time, through my twitter following I’ve found some terrific blog posts. One was particularly relevant to this last point – by Ben Horowitz (he’s a very serious person who cofounded, along with Marc Andreessen, the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz). The post that took my eye was how he “reluctantly funded” a new venture created by a successful entrepreneur. Ben’s take was:-
…one general rule of mine is don’t hire or fund rich people. The reason? Building a technology company is hard. It’s really frackin’ hard. Many of the tasks that you do when building one are no fun. When things go wrong as they always do, it’s no fun at all. Rich people tend to like to work on things that they enjoy, because if they don’t enjoy it, well, they are already rich. When the going gets tough, the rich get going . . . to their vacation homes and their yachts.
Luckily, Ben did decide to back this venture. I’m currently thinking that having been successful and not being young anymore is really pushing against me building a successful start up!
Maybe I need to just dip back into music history a little further … Frank Sinatra did sing “The Best is Yet to Come”…
Here’s a bit of my two cents worth on this post Phil: it’s ALL about attitude…. team attitude, youthful attitude (enthusiasm has nothing to do with age really!), can do attitude (as in “I CAN succeed in this endeavour”) as opposed to a can’t-do attitude. And attitude is something one can totally decide on / control.
So… bottom line, if one believes (has the attitude that…) that there IS a bright side of the moon, then the moon looks bright indeed! Here’s to that moon looking bright whilst you finish constructing VizWho. And if you want me as a team member, I’m in, because it is all about attitude!
You’ll always suck me in with a musical reference 😉
Interesting thinking about success breeding laziness; creating quick-quitters. Not exactly what you said, of course.
Do you think that success makes folks less likely to stick with their own efforts, or only less likely to continue supporting someone else’s, to continue being part of the team? It seems to me that the personality which leads to success would be driven to continue the path as long as there was passion. But I can easily see jumping into a team as a tool for success, but a less important one after the success came.
Hi Joel. Nice to hear from you – I’ll keep the musical references coming … maybe that can be a feature of my blog!? I love the libation and music starts to the chapters in your book!
I think that’s a pretty good precis though.
Your reference to teams is interesting. Personally, I think that it would be very hard to walk away from a team and let them down.
As an individual, it might just be easy not to push on with things (bit like I have a personal trainer for fitness – as I know I’d not do the exercise on my own).
You are also right on linking this all to passion. I think that is the real driver in all of this – as it’s not affected by climbing that long hill, setbacks, critics, etc (if, of course, you really are following your passion).
The wealth that goes with success is a consideration – and the quote “When the going gets tough, the rich get going . . . to their vacation homes and their yachts” rings in my ears. Working in adversity has a certain adrenaline – I can now fondly remember those cashflow crisises, pressure from the banks, competitors snatching your key staff, etc!
Musical reference to finish off… Adele “Right as Rain” – have a listen… “Who wants to be right as rain it’s better when something is wrong. You get excitement in your bones and everything you do is a game.”
Seems to me that loyalty to a team is very important in the context of personal networks. Whether family team, business team, sports team – a team (in its most solid sense) is in itself a strong network. A person is less likely to abandon his/her team when he/she (as an individual) becomes successful if being a member of the team was really important to him/her in the first place. If one values one’s network (thinks it is valuable to be connected and to interact with others), then one doesn’t ditch it when the bucks or pounds roll in…
Hi Laury. Thanks for this (and the previous comment – which I missed… sorry). You are right – it’s very much about attitude and loyalty (and a fair bit of trust building in the team!). Appreciate you taking the time to comment. P