3 Startup Success Secrets depicted by "The Defiant Ones"

3 Startup Success Secrets depicted by "The Defiant Ones"

Starting a startup can be overwhelming and to be honest, quite scary. The #KeysToSuccess are to be fearless, innovative, and acquire the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities. Through two legendary figures in the music industry, we will discuss how these three keys opened the doors to where they are today.

HBO's new documentary The Defiant Ones traces the rise of two men who have helped create the modern musical landscape:
engineer/producer/record executive/Apple Music director Jimmy Iovine and engineer/producer/rapper/headphone mogul Dr. Dre.

The Defiant Ones 

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre dedicated their lives to what they love and as a result, they are at the top of their industry. The Defiant Ones is an incredible documentary with legendary musicians and music industry professionals who all played a part in Iovine and Dr. Dre’s rise to success. If you are a music geek like we are here at Wurrly, we would highly recommend watching this documentary if you haven't already! This documentary isn’t just about music, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre deliver loads of inspiration to the viewers and walk you through a fascinating, 40 year journey to the top.

From the online publication Entrepreneur, here are 3 Startup Success Secrets:

DJ Khaled Keys to Success


1. Use Fear To Your Advantage

In 1973, Iovine was working as a go-for at New York’s famed Record Plant, one of the world’s premier recording studios. On Easter Sunday that year, Iovine got a call from Roy Cicala, one of the Record Plant’s head audio engineers. Cicala asked if Jimmy would come in to “answer the phones” during a client’s session. Much to the disappointment of his mother, who was getting the family ready to attend church, Iovine made the trip from his parents’ apartment in Brooklyn to the Record Plant in Manhattan -- where he found that the client was John Lennon. Cicala and Lennon were impressed by Iovine’s drive, and the 21 year-old was invited to join Lennon’s studio team as his new assistant engineer.

Iovine was thrilled with the chance to work with Lennon, but he was also terrified: 

“I was in way above my head...Fear is a powerful thing and it’s got a lot of firepower, but for me, [the decision to work with Lennon] was the beginning of making it a tail wind instead of a head wind.” 

Jimmy worked with Lennon on the former Beatle’s next three albums...

In a nutshell: With greater responsibility comes greater fear. A startup takes bravery, so instead of becoming crippled by fear, figure out how to use it to your advantage. Turn your fear into motivation. Let it encourage you to work smarter as you seek greatness for your brand.


2. Continually Refresh Your Roadmap

“People become successful and then get locked into the behaviors that led them to be a success,” said Bruce Springsteen in the documentary.

“Jimmy was very, very good at letting go of the things that might have made him a success up to that point, but he was willing to shed them and go for something completely different... Jimmy’s career is based on a tremendous lack of fear of moving forward.” - Bruce Springsteen

In a nutshell: When a Startup begins to flourish it is in most people’s nature to narrow down what exactly has generated such success, and then mirror that strategy. Yes that may work for a bit, but if you don’t preserve your “freshness” and strive to keep your brand innovative and different, then your organization will eventually become stagnant in an ever mutating marketplace. It is essential to remain open to new methodologies, concepts, and input from people who can make your good ideas better.


3. Leverage Threats Into Opportunities

Thanks to chart-topping hits from Eminem and 50 Cent, Interscope was living large in the early 2000s while the music business overall was in crisis. The downloading/sharing of music files was decimating the industry’s profits, and CEOs at the major record labels had no solutions to the challenge.

“[I saw] how toast we really were...music -- the distribution of it, the elegance, the album, the art -- it was all disintegrating.” - Iovine

Unlike his fellow label execs who either ignored the threat, were petrified by it or had no useful ideas to combat it, Iovine faced it head on and sought to devise creative ways to navigate this unfamiliar and intimidating terrain.

The big break happened when Iovine met Steve Jobs in 2004. He developed a new understanding of how music would be consumed and purchased in the digital era. His enlightenment inspired the development of the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones (which dramatically improved the listening experience on digital devices and sold 1.6 million units in 2008, its first year of business) and Beats Music (a streaming service that launched in 2014).

Iovine’s relationship with Apple led to the purchase of his (and Young’s) Beats Electronics hardware and software offerings in 2014.

In a nutshell: When “business is boomin” for your startup, your team looks like a rock star. BUT it’s when obstacles arise that you have the opportunity to show your true potential as a #BOSS. If your solutions prove to be correct, your brand will become stronger and more equip to jump over any unexpected hurdles thrown your way. Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s remarkable achievements in the music, hardware, and software industries were made possible by their relentlessness, creativity and risk taking mentality. Startup owners, should aim to integrate the lessons of their extraordinary accomplishments into their own business ventures.


Keep these Success Secrets in mind while trying to build your brand and make your business dreams a reality. You just might take Jimmy Iovine or Dr. Dre’s place! If you’d like to check out the documentary head to HBO now!

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Until next week!

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