Ten Lessons Start-Ups at TLV StartUp Challenge Can Learn from the Rolling Stones

50 Year of Story Telling with No Exit Can Still Lead to Earning a Nice Living and Having Fun in the World.

By Alan Weinkrantz

Rackspace Brand Ambassador to Israel

Note: this article first appeared in my column for The Times of Israel upon my return from the Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv on June 4, 2014.  Less than one year later, I look at what startups can learn in advance of the TLV Startup Challenge and what we can learn from the world’s great rock and roll band.


1. Have a consistent message.

If the Stones have an over arching message, it’s one of being who you are, challenging authority and being disruptive.


2. Build a body of work.

Your set list can be your blog. It will change and evolve of time and with the signs of the time and where your company is in its evolution.


3. Find your voice.

You don’t have to sing like Mick Jagger or Keith Richards, but you can you can certainly find not just your voice, but your startup’s collective voice. Bring in the core team and build a common and unifying voice.


4. Don’t build your startup just to have an exit strategy.

The Stones have made a pretty nice living for many years being remaining who they are. And on their own terms.


5. Embrace your fans and serve your community.

They sang for us. They welcomed us. People of all ages. They work hard and serve us well.


6 Collaborate with co-founders, even when they leave or go other ways.

It was nice to see Mick Taylor join the band tonight for a bit. You may part ways with early founders. Don’t forget your roots and your family.


7. Embrace the long-tail — even when they don’t “buy.”

Part of my experience tonight was not just taking part in the concert, but walking around the concert and seeing who was there, where people hung out and how they managed the swarm of 50,000 people. I purposely left about 20 minutes early — I stayed to end — but walked outside of the concert and noticed that there must have been something like 5,000 additional fans who were on the periphery of the concert gates. OK, they did not pay. They could hear the music and even see parts of the big screens. They are fans nonetheless.


8. Act local. Think global.

The Rolling Stones are a global brand.

The concert in 2014 was held at the end of Shavuot. And to allow for the religious fans to take part in the concert, the band decided to delay the start of the concert for about 45 minutes to allow for the religious fans to observe the holiday, have it end at sundown, and travel to the venue. That’s not only just acting local, it’s being very respectful.


9. Remain humble. And be real.

This is just an observation, but in reading all of the interviews and hearing all the stories of lore about this miraculous band, I think that they, even in their own right, remain humble about what they have done, how long they have lasted, and how thrilled they are that fans will still come and see them perform, play and buy their music and merchandise.


10. When possible, integrate and own the supply chain.

The Stones own their own supply chain. They are an integrated business. Yes, they partner with the likes of local concert promoters, but when possible, they own it all.


Alan Weinkrantz is the Rackspace Brand Ambassador to Israel with a mission to help Israeli startup and developers succeed.