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Stay Tuned: The Overture, Movement #2 of 3: The Adventures Begin

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Let me be honest. I’m a GSD-or-get-out kind of guy. (Hint: the “G” stands for “Get” and “D” for “Done.”)

So, in the days after my revelatory walk, I translated my passions for entrepreneurship, music and the performing arts, and building community -- and my new realization of their connection -- into action.

First, I fleshed out my thesis:

Those with experience in music and/or performing arts, such as theater and dancing, are uniquely well positioned to be successful as entrepreneurs, whether or not the person remains an active performer or the endeavor has anything to do with music or performing.

Then I started talking to friends who are entrepreneurs, musicians, and/or performing artists, and others who are just superstar connectors, asking them for their insights and to introduce me to their friends. They were eager to share their perspectives and generously opened their networks to me.

Among my conversations thus far, I have talked to:

  • A venture capitalist and co-founder of an acclaimed entrepreneurship organization and who played classical clarinet as a child and young adult and attributes her professional success to the diligence and grit she learned as a musician

  • A startup founder, now CEO of an artificial intelligence software company, who uses the skills he developed performing in musical theater growing up to command audiences of investors, customers, and employees

  • A professional dancer who founded an arts organization and has trained thousands globally on how creativity and collaboration drive business success

  • A touring musician for several R&B icons whose resilience and constant pursuit of excellence has led to numerous successful entrepreneurial opportunities

  • A trauma survivor who went back to school to study jazz and, leveraging her experience connecting with audiences, started a non-profit to teach fellow survivors ways of coping through music

  • A music Ph.D. who founded a successful social app company and emphasized how music training improves creativity and problem solving

  • A guitarist, music minor, and founder of a company on the leading edge of neuroscience who deploys improvisation skills daily as an entrepreneur

  • A Haitian immigrant who started playing the piano as a teenager, attended a world-renowned music school, and is leveraging his love for teaching music and work ethic as the founder and CEO of a music tech company

  • Faculty in music and entrepreneurship from one of the country’s largest universities who are studying how to facilitate entrepreneurship among students studying music and other disciplines

I read articles and books exploring what happens to someone’s skills and capabilities when they study music or perform. I’ve just scratched the surface of the available resources but my memory was correct: scholars have found connections between music education and experience, and cognitive ability. I also reviewed data about when and how artists engage in entrepreneurship.

Bottom line: I was onto something.

My conversations with friends and even friends-of-friends-of-friends-of-friends-of-friends were informative and energizing. I was following my passions and building a community conversation-by-conversation.

But, in Silicon Valley speak, it wasn’t scalable. I needed to engage a lot more people.

(continued in Movement #3)

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