By Eric Garland
[Update: Rexly duderino Joel Resnicow has written a better and more informative announcement. Please read his first.]
Tonight I’m feeling reflective, on the eve of the announcement that we have acquired iPhone social music star Rexly and that the Rexly team will establish our new San Francisco presence, Live Nation Labs North, or LN² as it’s already known around here. I’m feeling reflective (in addition to yeehaw, hellyeah, and damnright) because Joel and Kyle have just entrusted to the Labs something handmade, something precious and rare. I did that myself just a few months ago.
I’m also feeling reflective because with team Rexly we continue to recruit the people who inspire us. The people we try to imitate and flatter on our best days. The people on The Short List*.
After we started the Labs, but before we’d told anybody what we were up to, Ethan and I started sneaking** up north to court Rexly. We bought them some drinks, sure. But mostly we listened and talked, in that order. When we listened and talked (and drank some very fancy teas), we learned a lot about each other’s work and life experiences, and the paths by which we’d arrived at this moment. We started to sketch out the place we’d like to build next. The place we’d be excited to come into on a Monday morning, or blog about on a Sunday night. ;-)
The Live Nation Labs sketch looked a lot like Rexly’s sketch. Only Rexly’s was colder and foggier and had fancier tea service. I keed. What followed was a plan to build something big together.
Joel and Kyle, I am fortunate to know you and to have this chance now to partner with you in such a bold experiment. On the eve of our big pair-up, here are some things that I believe about Live Nation Labs. Some of these scribbles came directly from our earliest conversations with you on the shhhh. All of these beliefs have been informed and inspired by you both.
Labs is a great team of people, and great teams are even more powerful than great ideas or great leverage.
A team of true believers will beat non-believers almost every time. Non-belief is a symptom of feeling powerless and disconnected; direct personal success almost every day is required to suspend such disbelief.
Listening is good, but not enough. Respecting and actually employing input makes the difference.
Great people want to be respected and treated as the competent individuals they are. Heavily legislating the behavior of great people is both demeaning and a lost cause.
In order to treat each other respectfully, we have to trust each other. Trust is first extended but subsequently earned.
If you set great people up to fail, they will enjoy great success. At failing.
I believe you are good and your motives are, too. You want to win and make us better. You fight against things you believe are making us less than great.
The Golden Rule is self-centered and therefore faulty. Don’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Instead, do unto others as they want and need you to do. And don’t expect them to treat you “the same” way — they are not you. Help them to extend you the same courtesy. Parity is a trap.
To do the above, you have to understand “which guy” you’re dealing with. And never stop explaining “which guy” you are. Be both aware and self-aware.
Taking 10 seconds to ask myself, “What am I adding? How am I helping?” before typing, speaking or meeting is impossible — but it’s still worth a try. If we could always take these 10 seconds, there would never be a bad conversation in the Labs.
The most important thing teams can learn from tribes (or happy families) is that we advocate for each other and protect each other. Good family members always work to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Your children are presumed innocent. You should be, too. It’s cold out there. The world will treat our fellow Labs people with careless indifference. We should not.
That said, healthy tension can make individuals better and is often an ingredient in the recipe for greatness. Yes, tension can be truly healthy. This is hard. (See Trust, above.)
Laughter is contagious, and we must encourage it to be. Playing together during “work hours” is important and productive.
All the beliefs I’ve described here are much more expensive than providing free soda. These things take time and focus and priority. I believe we are committed to prioritizing them.
I believe that great products and services are byproducts of everything I believe above. (Whoa. That’s heavy.)
Okay, anybody who’s read this far: It’s your turn. What do you believe about people and teams? Comment below or tweet to me @bigchampagne, thanks!
*These are the people who squint and see the world as you do — as a better place. These are the people who want to get up in the morning and make it so. These are the people who add to one another, who complement each other yet sometimes clash — in the best and most productive ways.
**Well, I was sneaking. Ethan kept “checking in” everywhere like some newly paroled ex-con.
My high school sweetheart posted this on Facebook. I should probably source it better than that.