Everything I Know about Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead: The Ten Most Innovative Lessons from a Long, Strange Trip

Everything I Know about Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead: The Ten Most Innovative Lessons from a Long, Strange Trip

Barry Barnes

Language: English

Pages: 109

ISBN: 2:00341985

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Grateful Dead is one of the most popular bands of all time and they have enjoyed incredible relevance to this day. But let's admit it, they were not exactly poster boys for corporate America. In EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS I LEARNED FROM THE GRATEFUL DEAD, Deadhead and business scholar Barry Barnes proves that the Dead's influence on the business world will turn out to be a significant part of their legacy. Without intending to, the band pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by American corporations. And in this book Barnes shares the ten most innovative business lessons from the Dead's illustrious career, including:

-Creating and delivering superior customer value
-Incorporating and establishing a board of directors early on
-Founding a merchandising division
-Giving away your product for free to increase demand

Above all, Barnes explains how the Dead were masters of what he calls "strategic improvisation" -- the ability to adapt to changing times and circumstances -- and that their success lay precisely in their commitment to constant change and relentless variation. For an extraordinary thirty years, the Dead improvised a business plan and realized their vision -- all while making huge profits. EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS I LEARNED FROM THE GRATEFUL DEAD will show you how they did it -- and what your business can learn from their long, strange trip.

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themselves as members of the tribe. The Dead “started the trend of marketing band paraphernalia,” according to Garcia biographer Blair Jackson. Two primary factors helped the Dead achieve this status. First, the Marin County artists Alton Kelley and Stanley “Mouse” Miller had created a number of iconic images—including the skeleton crowned with roses—for the Dead’s album covers. Those images functioned as band logos, and they worked beautifully on T-shirts. The second factor in the Dead’s

merchandising success was the mailing list, that database of names and addresses for the band’s most committed fans. As it turned out, the band’s newsletter, which had been created to keep the band in touch with fans, also worked for direct marketing. One of the first Dead newsletters advertised band T-shirts for sale through a shop called Kumquat Mae, identified as “the Dead’s old ladies’ store.” That shop was co-owned by Susila Kreutzmann, wife of the Dead drummer; she also sold Dead T-shirts

accepted corporate sponsorships. The Dead was the only band to make a success of such a complex operation. As always with them, it wasn’t just about money. Insourcing the ticket sales not only made things easier for Deadheads with jobs, made the band more money, and helped keep ticket prices lower, but it also made the Dead’s relationship with fans more intimate. The fans sent order forms and checks, and they got tickets in return. Instead of dealing with a box office, they were dealing directly

www.marketingcharts.com/topics/branding/us-consumers-employees-want-socially-conscious-companies-912/. Bernard Cova, Robert Kozinets, and Avi Shankar, eds., Consumer Tribes (Oxford, UK: Elsevier, 2007). Cameron Crowe, “The Dead Show Off New Bodies,” Creem, January 1974. W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (Cambridge, Mass.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986). David G. Dodd and Diana Spaulding, eds., The Grateful Dead Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). Tom Dupree,

what today’s businesses need is a new, more flexible approach to executing strategic plans. The business theorist and jazz musician Frank Barrett has written that musicians who improvise “do what managers find themselves doing: fabricating and inventing novel responses without a pre-scripted plan and without certainty of outcomes; discovering the future that their action creates as it unfolds.” No matter how strong your strategic plan is, running an organization involves making an endless series

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