How punk rock is your company?


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.”

Newsvine – The Punk Rock Brand

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.

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4 Responses to How punk rock is your company?

  1. Mike Sansone August 26, 2006 at 11:27 pm #

    Good points, Andy. And sometimes, giving a hug to new ideas is all that’s needed.

    It doesn’t mean go die your hair green and become a punk rocker, but at least acknowledge the existence and be open-minded to the value of the differences.

    It’s what learning – growing – organizations do, right?

  2. Andy Brudtkuhl August 28, 2006 at 10:48 am #

    No, I do not mean embrace punk rock or you will fail. I am just saying learn from the ideologies and apply them where necessary.

    You should look to internal and external differences because that’s what makes you original.

  3. Brett Terpstra August 31, 2006 at 5:01 pm #

    Well hey, from one punk rock kid to another, the philosophy can make waves in any size community! I went from running the streets with a punk rock band, to art school, to corporate world, to running my own ad agency and my punk rock sensibilities have served me well in all areas. It’s not confined to one subculture, it’s just another way of spitting in the eye of the status quo.

  4. bule February 6, 2008 at 8:06 am #

    i agree punk its not about fashion and now look like just a trends. how about attitude, and filossofi.
    punk rock never die and will never die

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