Weekly Bookmarks –
119th Edition – May 16, 2021
I can’t retire until I croak. I don’t think they quite understand what I get out of this. I’m not doing it just for the money or for you. I’m doing it for me.Keith Richards
1. Same Job, Different Industry
Have you ever wondered what it would be like working in the same job, but in a different industry? And what if that industry had an element of fun, unpredictability, and one where it received a great deal of media attention.
After wrapping up the Keith Richards memoir entitled Life this weekend, I gave myself a few minutes to imagine the life of a CFO for a big-time rock band. I’m thinking either a major adrenaline rush at times or a massive migraine that lingers for months.
2. Rock Band CFO for One Day
Let’s say you are the CFO for Coldplay for one day. If you’re a CEO, CMO, work in logistics, or work in any other role, you’re that person for this popular British rock band.
Where would you focus your attention? Here’s my shortlist based on my quick study of the industry:
- I’d have the best music IP attorney review/audit every contract signed by the band over the past 10 years including all licensing arrangements.
- After studying the tour schedule for the next 24 months, I would create a simple but comprehensive financial model showing projected cash flow for these gigs because if not watched carefully, concerts can bleed red ink.
- I would also review all other cash inflows looking for holes, inconsistencies, missed opportunities, and anything else that captured my attention.
- I’d ensure they had the very best international tax accountants in place.
- Finally, I’d hire a forensic accountant to review internal controls and complete agreed-upon procedures no fewer than three times a year. My position is that any successful rock band is a target for theft.
3. Financial Education
Assuming I have some credibility with Coldplay band members, I’d make sure they each had good financial planners and a business coach on the team. I’d want the business coach to be independent of the business manager.
Adam Cates wrote The Business of Show, and he has a short chapter on personal finances. It’s way too short on quality content. Plus, personal finances start with understanding every aspect of how the band generates revenue and spends cash to keep that money rolling in.
We wouldn’t have time to teach profitable entrepreneurialism in one day, but I’d get that ball rolling immediately. In doing so, we’d study The Rolling Stones who set up their own music label, created an iconic logo, and never gave up the rights of their music during the distribution process.
4. Not a Band, But a Brand
Joe Pine wrote the book, The Experience Economy. The Grateful Dead could easily have written that title based on their concerts grounded in authenticity and staying close to their fans.
They were one of the first groups to cut out the middleman by selling tickets directly to customers on their mailing list.
According to the author of Everything I Know About Business, I Learned from the Grateful Dead, they became famous for allowing fans to record their live shows and to share those tapes with one another. Oddly, the band’s business didn’t suffer. Instead, this brought more fans to The Grateful Dead.
In short, innovation doesn’t apply to your business and mine – it applies to rock bands too.
5. Teamwork, Camaraderie, and Oneness
This past week, I shared an old picture from the 1990s of my first accounting department. I knew nothing about organizational health or culture building at the time. But we did strive to apply the golden rule, and we went bowling once a year on a Friday afternoon (hey, no teasing – Patrick Lencioni was still working for Oracle).
As I was reading the Keith Richards memoir, leave it to a rock star legend to provide the sheet of music on the way teamwork comes together –
You realize what you can do playing guitar with another guy, and what the two of you can do is to the power of ten, and then you add other people. There’s something beautifully friendly and elevating about a bunch of guys playing music together. This wonderful little world that is unassailable. It’s really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it’s all for one purpose, and there’s no flies in the ointment, for a while. And nobody conducting, it’s all up to you. It’s really jazz—that’s the big secret.
A Bookmark from the Past – 51 – Clayton Christensen, Wardley Mapping, The Table Group
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