Pay your Dues. I heard this a lot in my 20′s when I was a struggling musician. And I think that every business across the board has to pay them as well. But just because you pay them, doesn’t mean that anything will come from them. That’s the kicker. You can work really hard (for years) and still get nothing in return.
To put it bluntly, there is an element of luck in everything that becomes successful. And there isn’t a rote step-by-step blueprint to get there.
Hard work may get you closer to your goal. But luck plays a catalyst in how far you will go….
How a Chance Encounter at a Record Store Set the Wheels in Motion for Discovering One of the Best Rock Bands Ever….
In the 50′s, the Epstein Family decided to open a record store in England on Great Charlotte Street. Their son, Brian, was a flaky but otherwise normal British boy who was trying to figure out what he wanted to do in life. After a brief stint in London, he returned back to Liverpool and went to work in his family’s business.
The business became a success and soon they were opening up more stores, one of which Brian was put totally in charge of. He eventually started a music column in the then popular music magazine, Mercy Beat.
One day, a guy walks into the record store and asks for a copy of a single called “My Bonnie”. The record store didn’t have a copy, but it prompted Brian to research the single which ultimately led him to go all the way to Germany to check out the band who wrote the song in a bar called the cavern.
At this point, the band who had recorded the single had been doing 8 hour gigs, 7 days a week for 2 years and had honed their craft; in musician terms, the music was tight.
And Brian was impressed…..
After a brief courtship, Brian signs the band to his newly formed management company, NEMS Publishing, and soon paid all the expenses to have the band record to generate label interest.
All the labels showed no interest with the exception of EMI, which Brian had threatened to pull all EMI records out of his stores unless they gave his band a shot.
And they did.
And you probably know the rest of the story.
The band became recognized world wide and at one time, it’s guitarist, John….Lennon that is, famously stated that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ.
So, there is no denying that all those years of putting in tough 8 hour gigs in smoky bars 7 days a week honed the Beatles for the possibility of success. But you have to wonder where they would be had that person not come into the record store and asked Brian Epstein if they had a copy of the single “My Bonnie“.
It set into motion the perfect storm….
2 parts talent and 1 part luck (or visa versa)…..
This kind of falls in line with that instagram thing I was talking about yesterday. We can all talk about the success of instagram and even make the assumption that it became something solely off the hard work and efforts that it’s founder put into it….
But what if instead of going to Stanford, Kevin went to a small mid west college in Montana? Certainly, this would have changed who he knew which ultimately would affect who knew him. And what if his internship was at an old school corporation instead of the high tech hi-brow socialite companies of silicon valley?
Even if he had produced instagram under these conditions, the road would have definitely been harder. He wouldn’t have had as much access to the gatekeepers of the tech world, which would mean that the start up money would have been harder to get. And then what about the inevitable bonds he formed when he was interning at Twitter? What about the network he would have established while working at Google?
What I am trying to say is that you make a couple variations to his (or the Beatles) storyline and the outcome could have drastically been different.
Yeah, you have to do the work to be good at what you do..but in most cases, you need help along the way to push your idea forward.
Image Attribution: SCFiasco