What’s Common Between Rock Bands and Startups ?

Do you see any similarity between the life of a band and that of a start-up? Is there a correlation between bands & the bandits?

Yes, there is apart from the rough rides that both undertake.

If you watch the startups closely, the ones with say two to three co-founders, you’ll find that they are more like a rock band than anything else.You simply won’t get the right kind of music from the thing, without that synergy, sync and will to perform with each other.

While for a solopreneur, like the one behind this website, the situation is closer to that of – eww – a pop star! I mean not quite so much for Pluggd.in, but do you get the point? The risk, the trade offs and the rate of emotional erosion is much higher for a soloist. And well being pop soloist, does have higher rewards to make up for lower probability of being successful.

Anyway, I researched a little more than that. Both startups and bands have a lot of troubles in common. No money, no product, no sales, no visibility and worst of all – no process. Fortunately though, startups have a few templates and tools called business plan, TAM, SAM, SOM to figure out a path. Bands, at least those in India, don’t have even that. And these common challenges only reinforce the need for team entrepreneurs – i.e a technology band – to stick together. Startups are like an amateur band trying to play the tune for the early adopters, perhaps even masses, who want to relish a well packaged  and meaningful piece of music. Probably pay for it. But endurance of success and pain together is what makes the band worth its salt.

Let me share the story of Pink Floyd over here. In 1965 co-founders (not just musicians, you see) Syd Barret, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, each having a flair for philosophical compositions started a band called The Pink Floyd Sound. Later on, once their core sound (product), rather a new sound was ready, they dropped ‘The’  (Oops! Facebook only repeated this) from their name and called themselves Pink Floyd. Psychedelic Rock was their niche to be.


Pink Floyd’s journey was not any different from Facebook. Numerous lawsuits, forced exits, leadership changes, rights removal, ego clashes and power-struggle marked its own time-line.

Like a startup they started with zero visibility, little money often changing their name & music. But finally after a lot of experimentation they did strike the right chord with people. And when they did, Pink Floyd only got bigger to achieve the ‘father of rock’ status. A bloody hockey-stick growth, you see.

It was ‘team work’ that did them good. Over time they got a perfect amalgam of great music, great lyrics and execution from each other. I mean how much do lyrics from Waters, guitar leads from Gilmour, operatic keyboards from Richard Wright or crazy percussion from Nick Mason penetrate the music market when the band isn’t play together? Those who have heard anthems like Another brick in the wall, Coming back to life, High hopes, Run like hell, Comfortably numb, Learning to fly will surely understand what these products mean to ardent rock listeners.

It is pertinent to reiterate that each band member came up with an independent album; but none got any close to creating history in rock music like Pink Floyd did. Team spirit is what kept them ticking.

Don’t you agree? How important is your team for you? Leave your thoughts rockers.

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