I just finished reading an excellent article by Darryl Ohrt on Newsvine called ‘The Punk Rock Brand‘. This article definitely hit home being a punk rock kid turned business man. If you are not familiar with punk rock you would think it is all about the music, or the fashion, or the philosophy. But it’s not. It’s about the attitude and way of life. It is about rejecting normalcy, questioning and standing up to authority, and being different – not just to be different but to institute change.
Until I read Darryl’s article I had not realized how much being a punk rocker has influenced my business career. In all jobs I have had I have had issues with authority and being forced to adhere to principles and processes I didn’t believe in. And I usually fought back and tried to institute change because I could see the landscape of business and technology changing. And this is a very tough task for a punk rock kid straight out of b-school. I haven’t won all the battles and I have had to compromise some of my punk rock values
But I have been able to incorporate these values into my entreprenuerial endeavors. I have been realigning Simplifive to embrace new media services rather than being a traditional web design firm. I want help lead technological change in Iowa, a state that is notoriously three years (or more) behind new trends. Web 2.0 idealology won’t be embraced here for awhile. Enterprise SaaS will not be embraced for years either. You can’t get much more punk rock than striving to institute change in a very traditional business and technology industry like that which exists here in Iowa. I want to be at the forefront of that change with the likes of Zane Sifrit and Mike Sansone.
So, how punk rock is your company? Ask this of yourself and your business. If you are not embracing punk rock ideals, than you are missing out. Being different is a great way to differentiate. Leading change creates new markets. Questioning authority and business norms gives you credibility once that change is accepted. Look at folks like Dave Winer and Chris Anderson (there are many, many more). These guys are visionaries whose ideas have lead waves of changes. They weren’t adopted immediately but once they were they were instant experts. They created new markets by being different.
“Punk rock brand philosophy exists in nearly every successful product or service. These brands break through the clutter, present themselves in unique ways and generate the kind of fans that create buzz. When a businesses inspires people to talk about it, get emotional about it and believe in it, that’s punk rock.”
The landscape of business and technology is changing. You need to embrace these changes in order to succeed. Embracing some punk rock attitude here and there will help you along the way.