InsightaaS: We frequently feature the Enterprise Irregulars in Across the Net - and at least one of us spends a fair amount of time listening to the Grateful Dead. So when we came across an Enterprise Irregulars post drawing on the Grateful Dead for insight into how startups should define market strategy, it seemed like a perfect weekend entry for this space ("Without a Net," perhaps?). Author Dave Kellogg, CEO of enterprise performance management (EPM) software vendor HostAnalytics, discusses the notion that "the world is a very large place," and poses six questions that early-stage companies should address as they seek to understand their competitive "space."
As a long-time Grateful Dead fan, I have to say that I was advantaged in understanding how the Blown to Bits problem would affect digital media businesses. You see, for years, the Dead had changed the business model of the music industry, choosing to use "albums" as a loss leader and choosing to make money on live concerts, playing some 2,300 concerts together, not to mention those done individually be band members. (Think: Jerry Garcia at the Keystone Berkeley.)
The Dead even had a "tapers" section at most concerts and sometimes could be heard literally stopping the show to allow someone to move back their microphones. The Dead have a valid claim to "we did Freemium 30 years before Freemium was cool."
While I won’t go as far to say that Everything I Learned about Business, I Learned from the Grateful Dead (a good book, by the way, that takes a top ten set of lessons from "the long, strange trip"), I do believe the Dead were both musical and business model innovators.
Improvisation as strategy was profiled in Competing On The Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, published by Harvard Business School press...