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Dark Side of the Moon

December 28, 2010 5 comments

Sorry for the unusually long gap in blog posts. I have two excuses – firstly, I’ve become a bit of an obsessive twitter user … and secondly, I had a bad dose of “Man Flu”! During my convalescence, I did manage to catch a really good Sky Arts documentary on Pink Floyd’s creation of Dark Side of the Moon. For those who are not 70s music aficionados – here is the programme summary:-

Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” Classic Album is the creative story behind the masterpiece: “Dark Side Of The Moon”. “Dark Side Of The Moon” transformed Pink Floyd from art house favorites to global, stadium superstars. With the timeless qualities of its production and musicality, allied to the hypnotic evocation of its central themes – alienation, paranoia, madness, war and death, “Dark Side Of The Moon” would become the album that would

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dominate the 70’s and 80’s (with a record number of 741 consecutive weeks in the Billboard 200).

The reason I mention this was that I found it fascinating how a group of individuals could come together to produce something so brilliant. The programme showed that it was not just the brilliance of the 4 band members – it was the whole network of people around them. The documentary interviewed the band and explained the parts played by many others in producing this level of excellence. People like Alan Parsons (the producer), Storm Thorgerson (sleeve designer), Clare Torry (haunting female vocals), etc. Some of the cool quotes that intersperse the tracks were provided by roadies, doormen, etc – it was a real team effort.

Three things struck me – and felt very relevant to my thinking as I try to create a new start up business, VizWho:-

* You can get the core members of the team right – but to produce something special – all the team need to come together
* It’s so much easier to achieve this when you are young. Maybe it’s the lack of commitments – coupled with youthful enthusiasm. (Do I sound like an old git?!)
* Finally, once successful – is this possible to replicate? It was interesting seeing the ageing band members still playing their instruments brilliantly … but it’s unlikely they will every create another “Dark Side of the Moon”!

At the same time, through my twitter following I’ve found some terrific blog posts. One was particularly relevant to this last point – by Ben Horowitz (he’s a very serious person who cofounded, along with Marc Andreessen, the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz). The post that took my eye was how he “reluctantly funded” a new venture created by a successful entrepreneur. Ben’s take was:-

…one general rule of mine is don’t hire or fund rich people. The reason? Building a technology company is hard. It’s really frackin’ hard. Many of the tasks that you do when building one are no fun. When things go wrong as they always do, it’s no fun at all. Rich people tend to like to work on things that they enjoy, because if they don’t enjoy it, well, they are already rich. When the going gets tough, the rich get going . . . to their vacation homes and their yachts.

Luckily, Ben did decide to back this venture. I’m currently thinking that having been successful and not being young anymore is really pushing against me building a successful start up!

Maybe I need to just dip back into music history a little further … Frank Sinatra did sing “The Best is Yet to Come”…

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