Already successful music artists tend not to bother attending Ivy League business schools mid-career. Exceptions include L. A. Reid who did a stint before grabbing the reins at Arista. Swizz Beatz appears the latest attendee. He is interviewed here at The Breakfast Club Power 105.1 on his latest trek in the HBS Owner/President Management Extension Program.
At issue for him are “graduating your brand” and “being an owner for real.” The artist’s hustle has relocated from the street corner to the studio to the board room. Beatz distinguishes “real” ownership (Dre’s Beats deal with Apple or Diddy’s Diageo-led portfolio driving a recent honorary doctorate) from puffery label deals with bad ratios.
Music industry players–regular first movers but also creative last movers and re-mixers of 1st movers–are consummate taste-makers and masters of technology, marketing, culture, and brand extensions. Beatz makes the case for an academy-based management competency and breakout collaboration networks offered by selective academic stints. Artists like Beatz who enroll to “sharpen their pencils” and do a brand upgrade may inadvertently rebrand some B school culture.
Literally off the beaten path is the below article I acquired in 1999 which appears nowhere else online today—at least according to Google. One reference to the article by a blogger does exist as learned via offbeat search engines duckduckgo and Dogpile. At 911 words it’s a succinct equation for the global oil business, with effective price setters in the oligopolist Saudis and Iraq, and disgruntled price takers in not simply consumers, but principally less formidable Western suppliers.
It frames US military intervention in Iraq in market terms virtually unfound in Western media. Western circulated fears for mass consumption concerned a supposed threat of retaliatory diminished oil supply by then Iraq President Saddam Hussein. Unchallenged was the irrationality of a regime whose economy depended on oil sales, foregoing oil sales.
This article presents the opposite case–excess supply and, hence, lower world prices and raised profit thresholds for smaller (Western) suppliers–as the actual fear by the Western investor class unbeknownst to the electorate. It remains instructive on the oil market today. The article’s premise—rarely heard by American audiences—is directly supported in U.S. legislative transcripts like that of Senate Hearing 106-86.
Here’s a start-up CEO interview refreshingly outside the mainstream. Walker & Company’s first product Bevel addresses a long overlooked market–the unique shaving experience for men with curly hair–with a niche solution.
This is one for doing good and well. This quickly growing Nigerian-based startup captures value from waste. Its young CEO who I first met in the US explains the opportunity she saw and the value-creating practicality of its incentive-driven and low-cost operations. Billikiss Adebiyi is one who struck me from the start as more than managerially thoughtful or entrepreneurially talented, but flat out smart and humane, with profound emotional intelligence. She can read scenarios for genuine upsides, and people–even off-beat characters like me–and finish their thoughts better than they would have.
Regularly, start-up CEOs with some success are praised for their smarts or vision or brands, or for “break things” mantras or disrupt coefficients, while being prickly or not too likable is virtual cache. This is a solid and refreshing counterexample: Supreme talent + likability.