Start-Up = Band Pt. 1

When Steve Van Dam called me in December of 2013 and asked if I wanted to help him build his company “Light the Music”, my first thought was - “I’ve already been in one band with you, is it a good idea to start another one!?”. Steve and I go way back obviously, but the sentiment was spot on in comparing start-ups with bands. Before I wrote this blog, I did a little google research on “how running a startup is like running a band” and fun things like that. There are quite a few articles written by a variety of people on this subject. One I like was written by David Larson Devine, and gives a good overview on this comparison.

Growing up in Crofton, MD in the 70’s and 80’s, I was an aspiring rock star. As with many aspirants, I religiously studied the hallowed ground of those luminaries who came before - The Beatles, AC/DC, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks amongst many more. My crew was obviously listening to a much larger variety of music, but these giant groups had been successful for long enough that there was a lot of research information on them in the form of multiple albums with great liner notes, a large amount of press coverage over time and a huge amount of social cachet amongst several peer groups. You might say that there was a GIANT bread crumb trail of “this is how you become a famous rock star” bits of knowledge. It was easy to look at these groups and their history and think: “If you play guitar, write great songs, get into a great band, then you can fly around the world playing shows, make great albums, change human consciousness and make a boat load of money”.  AND of course have a lot of girls call your parents house trying to find you.  Quite the “If-Then” statement!

As a result, everyone was trying to get into a band, change the world and become rich/famous.

In recent memory, this narrative has shifted from being in a super-band, to owning a Unicorn - Unicorn being the name given to tech startups worth a Billion Dollars or more.  Start-Ups are about the same size as a band initially, and if done right can lead to changing the world and becoming rich/famous in the process. Steve and I have been around the block enough to know the many layers of reality involved in all of this, but the environment we are in, and the top of the mountain of the game we are playing in is populated with Unicorns.  

So it’s safe to make the comparison between Unicorns and The Beatles.

Can I get a $B!!!???

There is much more Steve and I will talk about on this subject and it will become a running subject on our blog here.


Craig, COO Sometimes.

Craig Honeycutt