Endure Like the Grateful Dead

By mtharvey | March 8, 2011

How do you make a company endure? Author, VC, and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki believes that a secret to building enduring brands is to enchant your customers. But what are you willing to do to make this happen? For the Grateful Dead, it meant letting their fans tape their concerts and share them with the world — starting in the late 1960’s. This model didn’t hurt business, and it’s now even a subject of management studies.

“Once we’re done with it, the audience can have it.” This quote about the band’s music is famously attributed to late Dead guitarist, Jerry Garcia. While listeners were certainly enchanted by the Dead’s music, this audience-centric attitude moved people from being fans to becoming devoted followers. As Kawasaki shares in the video below, the Grateful Dead even set up special sections at concerts to help fans in taping (ask your parents) the highest quality audio recordings.

“Once we’re done with it, the audience can have it.”

Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia

It’s not that hard to see parallels between technology startups and up-and-coming bands. How will you enchant your customers? What can you do to build deep value for your “fans?” Share your ideas and experiences on creating great customer value below, and watch Guy Kawasaki’s full lecture on Enchantment at ECorner.

You can also share this clip through eCorner’s YouTube channel.