Feature: Soapbox Musings

Five Business Tips From The Beatles

Author: John Greathouse
Published: February 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I am an ardent Beatles fan. Thus, when Come Together – The Business Wisdom of The Beatles (Come Together) was released, my hopes were high for a great read. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.

Despite the book’s shortcoming, it contains a number of insightful lessons for budding entrepreneurs. Of the 100-business “lessons” articulated in the book, I highlight a few below which I feel are the most relevant and impactful for entrepreneurs.

Beatles Business Lessons

My primary complaint with Come Together is the authors’ attempt to divine 100 meaningful business insights from the Beatles’ career. Although successful entities, including the Beatles, have much to teach entrepreneurs, 100-lessons is about 80 too many. Some of the examples are patently obvious (e.g., (i) drugs are bad, (ii) no matter how much success you have, you are not invincible, (iii) have fun, and (iv) negativity is a weakness) and others only relate to the Beatles in a tangential fashion.

In the list below, I have compiled some of my favorite lessons from Come Together, combined them with a few of my own Beatles inspired startup tips.

1. What’s Your B7?

The Beatles consistently walked a challenging line between creating innovative art which remained imminently accessible. They differentiated their product with subtle, unconventional techniques, such as the use of the B7 chord in I Want To Hold Your Hand.

After alternating very conventional C and D chords, John plays a B7th chord at the end of the line “I think you’ll understand.” For years, the note was improperly scored as a B-minor chord, because that was the conventional note one would expect following a C and D chord progression.

As the Come Together authors note, the instability caused by the unexpected and unorthodox use of the B7 chord is, “interesting and pleasing to the listener.” One strange chord is immaterial in isolation. However, the Beatles consistently differentiated their products by deploying surprising, adventuresome chord progressions throughout their career. At the end of this section, the authors challenge the reader by asking, “What is your B7? You and your competitors are probably using the B7 in all the conventional ways. Don’t be afraid to add a little instability, a little mystery…” to your company’s products and their underlying value propositions.

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Article Author: John Greathouse

John Greathouse is the author of the hands-up startup advice blog infoChachkie (http://www.infochachkie.com) He has held a number of senior executive positions with successful startups which generated more than $350 million of shareholder value. …

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