Of all the ingredients that go into a successful startup or web product company, team and culture are the most important. Your team's passion is the biggest determiner of your success as a company. Looking outside of the corporate environment let's consider the world of music. One of our favorite bands, The Flaming Lips, were recently interviewed on Chicago's Sound Opinions. Lead singer Wayne Coyne revealed some insights about what drives their band to create.
The Flaming Lips have been around for 25 years. Not all of them have been successful. Band members have come and gone, certain sounds have made them popular and others dropped them into relative obscurity. What keeps them bouncing back is the way they reinvent themselves by risking doing something new. They aren't afraid to fall flat on their face doing it either, as Wayne explains:
"We have no other choice. No one likes what we're doing anyway, we may as well pursue something else. It does free you up to follow without . . . thinking, what's the worst that could happen? I mean, we could fail. I think that's if anything there's a lesson to be learned from the Flaming Lips it's don't fear failure. I mean especially in art, it's the main thing that holds people back."
They also stayed focused on the here and now. They avoided pressure to make any certain kind of record that people outside the band thought was right for them in favor of making the one they wanted.
"Honestly it's worse not to make the record that you want. 'Cause who knows, that could probably fail just as miserably too. And we always knew that. I think the sense of justlet's make the record we want. You go in there, you keep fighting away, finding ideas, turning mistakes into the things that are really working for you."
Wayne also revealed how a key part of their success is just their passion for the craft of music. They push its boundaries because they love doing it.
"I think we were all thinking, man, I wish something new would happen. I wish someone would take a chance. And whenever I say that, I always go, 'Why don't we? Why don't we be the ones to do something, to take a chance or whatever?'"
They also have a very grounded MacGyver-esque view of what it means to be creative. (Best line in the interview.)
"I think, to be imaginative and especially the word "creative," I mean, "creative" means you'll brush your teeth with a spare tire if you need to. Whatever it takes, you'll get it done."
Hear more from the Flaming Lips on that Sound Opinions episode or pick up one of their pop masterpieces from the past few years, The Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. (You can skip their last one, At War With The Mystics. Just because you don't fear failure doesn't mean you won't fail every once in a while.)