Team Building Lessons from the Grateful Dead

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead  |  Best Practices

Dead50_Santa_ClaraThe “core four” surviving members of legendary rock band the Grateful Dead are playing their final three 50th anniversary Fare Thee Well #Dead50 reunion shows in Chicago on July 3, 4, and 5. 

How do you build a business that thrives for fifty years? Let's learn from the Dead.

The hottest concert ticket of the summer

When put on sale several months ago, the millions of fans clamoring to be in Chicago this weekend broke Ticketmaster. Many people waited in virtual line for an hour before the system crapped out on them and said there were no seats left.

In the secondary market, StubHub says that the Dead are the top show to see this summer, selling better than Taylor Swift and at a rate double that of the Rolling Stones, another act playing together for 50 years.

I’ve been a Deadhead since catching my first show in 1979 when I was a High School student and have seen the various incarnations of the Dead dozens of times since then. I’m excited to be trekking to Chicago next week and have tickets to all three of the final performances.

With my friend Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO, I co-wrote Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History, which released several years ago.

Brian and I kept seeing parallels of success in the current business environment and the ideas the Grateful Dead has used for fifty years. I’ll blog a few more times about some other lessons in the next week or so.

Employee Team Building Lessons from the Grateful Dead

It has been twenty years since lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia’s death and many Deadheads say that without Jerry, it’s not really the Grateful Dead. But the Grateful Dead was always a team effort. They went through five or more keyboardists over the years (depending on how you count) and that worked just fine. Building a great team that’s better than the sum of its parts helped the Grateful Dead achieve greatness. And it can do the same for your business.

For the three Chicago shows and two this past weekend in Santa Clara, California, Phish front man Trey Anastasio is on the team at lead guitar and vocals. Having watched the video streams of those two shows, I can say that Trey fit in beautifully. He’s not Jerry but he’s certainly an key part of the music.

All businesses can learn about teambuilding from the Grateful Dead’s unusual and highly successful playbook.

I wrote a detailed article Employee Team Building Lessons from the Grateful Dead published over at TINYpulse. In that article I cover "Build a Diverse Team", "Be Yourself", and "Do What You Love".

The members of the Grateful Dead love to play live music. They could sit at home and enjoy a comfortable retirement, yet all of the band members play dozens of gigs a year with their own bands and in various combinations with others.

I can’t wait to personally see what they’ll come up with in their final three shows, a remarkable 50 years after their founding.

The image from this weekend’s Grateful Dead show in Santa Clara is by my friend Jay Blakesberg who is the official Fare Thee Well photographer. Jay provided us with the photos used in Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.