Startup Lessons from… Manowar

You’re in a startup. That guy is a Manowar fan. So what has he got that you don’t? Read on and find out.

Manowar is the one band that lives, breathes, writes, and plays metal the way that metal should be. By that, I mean that metal always was (is) a mindset and an attitude. No band lives it like Manowar. I know at least one promoter in Australia who finds them hard to deal with; but, really, they are mindful of their product.

Now, shout-outs where shout-outs are due. Steff Metal wrote a killer piece on Life Lessons from Manowar. It’s fabulous (she did the hard work for some of these quotes – thanks, Steff!), and this is a bit on from there. This is Startup Lessons from Manowar.

No matter the problems, get the job done

This is one of the things that makes Manowar appear “difficult” to work with. They (particularly Joey DeMaio) are perfectionists. If you watch any interviews with Eric Adams, he’ll talk about Joey’s golden ear, and Joey’s vision. So when he wants something in a certain way, it will happen. As their crew say: it doesn’t matter what the problem is, just fucking do the job and make sure it happens.

Manowar are famous for bringing in many more rigs, many more power inputs, many more cabinets; for blowing speakers, and circuits, and so on. It doesn’t matter what problem you encounter, you get it done anyway.

This is similar to the startup community’s just fucking do it. But with one small difference: It asks you to solve problems and do it. Just doing it means it might be shit. Surmounting problems and getting the job done asks you do to things to a certain level of quality.

Stay true to your vision

As an entrepreneur you have a vision. People will laugh at you. People will tell you that it’s impossible. People will tempt you from your path, always. And even the well-meaning sometimes have small-thinking attitudes instead of big-thinking attitudes.

Listen to them, but decide whether or not it is right. You can only do that if you know yourself and what you’re doing very well.

If you care less about the stuff that others say you will find your way for sure and get by very well. That should not mean that you should not listen to others anyway. Because nobody got his wisdom from the whiskey bottle. And everyone can and should take a real look at himself, think about his behaviour and change sometimes. And the needed impulse for it comes often from outside. The only thing you have to do is to decide whether this impulse comes from the right side or not. And you should not stick to a one-way thinking, nor should you let others confuse you.

~ Scott Columbus (RIP)

Haters gonna hate… fuck them

People will to kick down your ideas. And sometimes we get told no by things and people we need (like banks). Fuck them, keep the fighting spirit. The best revenge is success.

They wanna keep us down
But they can’t last
When we get up we’re gonna kick your ass
Gonna keep on burning
We always will

Other bands play – Manowar kill!” – Kings of Metal

You are in battle and you have to be prepared (and strong enough) to fight.

Entrepreneurs know well the struggle. Every day something will happen that will cause you to question yourself and your path. Every day you face battles of time, motivation, money. And we all know that there is a point where we want to give up, throw it in, go get a job. But we also know that pushing past this point is important: Around its corner is success.

If you’re not prepared to fight, every single day, go work for the man. You’re not a warrior.

It takes courage and strength, and that’s what Manowar is all about.

“Each day, you wake up and get out of bed knowing that there is shit waiting for you. Each day is a struggle, a battle and you must prepare for these battles, these wars. You have to be prepared. That is where the spirit of MANOWAR comes in. It is for everybody, both men and women, who have the fighting spirit. You either fight to win or your throw up your hands and admit that you are fucked.” – Joey DeMaio

Everyone has a hero, and a leader, and it doesn’t matter who that person is

Fuck the groupthink of following all the key “amazing” starteruppers and entrepreneurs. The truth is, if you don’t lead, you follow, and you can be your own hero. Mentors are everywhere, they’re not just that guy who headed over to Silicon Valley. You can learn just as much by spending time with yourself, or by talking to the guy who’s owned the fish and chip shop for the last 20 years even though Maccas opened up next door.

We need heroes and mentors, and we need to celebrate that knowledge, too.

(referring to the Faceless Warrior) “‘it purposefully has no face because it’s our hero…it’s a hero that we all need, and the no face is because that hero could be anybody. Could be you, could be me, could be the chick you fucked last week, could be any face … and that’s the hero in all of us and that’s why it represents power, it represents what metal is. It represents a leader: you can bet your fuckin’ ass that that guy doesn’t follow anything, he leads.” ~ Eric Adams (2004)

You work to make people’s lives better. It’s NOT for you!

How do you add value to people? How do you improve the world? If you’re in it to get rich, you’re in it for the wrong reasons, with the wrong people (most likely). You are part of a community and that community is what makes you. Therefore, recognise it, strive to improve their lives, and do everything to serve them.

While kicking arse, of course.

“Let us drink to the power drink to the sound
Thunder and Metal are shaking the ground
Drink to your brothers who are never to fall
We´re all brothers of Metal here in the hall
Our hearts are filled with Metal and masters we have none
And we will die for Metal, Metal heals my son

We are fighting with power and steel
Fighting for the Metal Metal that´s real
Brothers of Metal will always be there
Standing together with hands in the air” – Brothers of Metal, pt 1

Every time you do something, do it bigger, better, and more impressively than you did before

Manowar is the loudest band on earth. The loudest, with the highest fidelity, the clearest sound, the best experience. They blew five speakers yesterday, they’ll blow 10 tomorrow.
As a startup, you got one customer yesterday; so get two today. You blew three minds yesterday; blow six tomorrow. Your event was great and feedback was good; next time, make it bigger and better, and make people rave about it.
If you’re running courses, better them every time. Every time you get testimonials, make sure you’ve worked hard enough that they’re bigger and better than they were last week.
And no, it doesn’t fucking end. You can always do something better, always. If you can’t, then you need another challenge. And if you’re not doing it better than you did last time, then it’s time to go home.

Your customers are the only reason you exist

Everything you do must be in service to your customers, your fans, your advocates. Everything. Every decision, every new product, every new way of doing something, must add value to them. Because without them, you don’t have a business. And if you start thinking about your things (your metrics, your money, your position) then honey you’re going off the path.

“Everything is for the people.  Everything is for the fans. And if you don’t like it, fuck you”. – Joey DeMaio


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