Business Entrepreneur

How Is a Rock Star Like a Business Entrepreneur?

It’s funny how you can pick up lessons on leadership and entrepreneurs from all sorts of people, isn’t it? Leadership expert Steve Farber (@stevefarber) sent me this YouTube video of Jay Jay French, founder of the band Twisted Sister.

This so-called “glam metal” band started in New Jersey in 1972 and is still performing. Now, admittedly, I’m a Twister Sister fan, so it was easy to love this video with a Twisterd Sister hit playing in the background. But it was what Jay Jay French says about leadership and what it takes to last as an entrepreneur that really makes this worth the watch. Here are a few excerpts that I picked up on:

  • In the eyes of the public, rock stars seem to have a free pass to be bad… as long as they can last (“it’s not party like a baker”)
  • Yet, you can’t last without really working hard at it
  • The rejection can be overwhelming so you have to be honest, take a good look at yourself, and go back out and fix things, reinvent yourselves

French has been with the band in one of it’s 11 versions for 40 years. They’ve given 9,000 shows. To stay alive, they had to fire people and start anew.

“It takes a strong stomach…It’s either instinctual or not. The entrepreneurial world is tough and without that strength you can’t survive. You have to have a deep need to succeed.”

Along the way, French has used mentors to help him. What he says about the rock business is probably true for all business owners and CEOs:

“Rock is a people business. You have to really like people and want to hear what they have to say.”

His message is one of humility, authenticity, resilience, and true grit. I hadn’t thought of a rock star as an entrepreneur before this video, and it adds perspective, don’t you think?


I also highly recommend checking out:

The Extreme Leadership Summit.
August 17 – 19, 2012. San Diego, CA