StartUp = Band Pt. 2: The “2 Weeks” Syndrome

Two weeks ago I began a series within a series of articles on the parallels between being in a startup and being in a band. This week, I want to talk about a mental disease that is shared between the band world and the startup world called “2 Weeks Syndrome”. It might affect other industries, but it most definitely affects bands and start-ups.

Back in the 90’s, (that’s last century yo!), our band “everything” ran our own independent record label as a mechanism for releasing our own albums into the world. (This was prior to our deal with Blackbird/Sire). At one point during this part of the journey, we were planning the release of our 4th or 5th record and it was deemed correct to say that we would have the record out in “2 weeks”.  This was based on the mastering being done and simply waiting on the artwork. We proudly announced to a sold out audience in our home club The Bayou, in Washington, DC, that we would be releasing the new record in “2 weeks”.  The crowd was pleased, as were we…

Several months down the road as the “2 weeks” syndrome worked its dark magic, the reality that we still hadn’t released our album became a running joke amongst our audience. We were perpetually touring, so at various times prior to the release, members in our audience would simply yell “Two Weeks!”.  Hilarity and slight embarrassment would then ensue. Our record did eventually come out, and it did well for our career, but “Two Weeks!” remains a meme amongst our tribe to this day.

This same syndrome has certainly found its way into our process at times in Light the Music.  Often it comes in the realm of development, where it seems we are “Two Weeks” away from having an issue solved or something done. The mental illness part comes from the fact that even the most educated of guesses can end up looking like delusion on some level, mixed with the real, true desire to crank up the release narrative to our stakeholders and audience.

This syndrome is similar in character to the “20 Minutes” syndrome in Los Angeles. It is very common for people to say “20 minutes” when they tell you how far away they are from getting to your house or party, when in reality, they are much further away or not even coming.  I was sometimes guilty of that during my time in LA. Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby, has a great blog about Los Angeles that addresses some of this cultural goodness.

One of the antidotes to this is to hit “pause” before saying ANYTHING is two weeks away, especially in technology or creative endeavors where there are many things that can go awry and/or you are dealing with talent that is breaking new ground. The “Two Weeks”syndrome is a mixture of the enthusiastic hope and excitement that is naturally felt when getting so close to the finish line, as well as the real trickiness of the last 3% of details before that line can truly be crossed.  

My guess is that you have experienced this too…

Craig, COO and Musician.