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Business lessons from rock: Not everyone can be the Beatles

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What do you do when there’s a singular talent in your field that is SO demonstrably superlative that no one can EVER hope to compete with it? This is “the Mozart problem,” according to Boston Globecolumnist Alex Beam, who describes it as “the presence of a market-clearing talent in one’s chosen profession.”

The reference of course is to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the child prodigy whose musical genius eclipsed that of all other classical composers of his time, leaving jealous rivals such as Antonio Salieri—according to the movie Amadeus at least—in despair of ever approaching Mozart’s creative endowment. Beam gives examples of other “market-clearing talents” who spent careers psyching out rivals—such as Bobby Fischer in chess or Michael Jordan in basketball—but leaves out my favorite example: a rock & roll band that has cast a long shadow on popular music for half a century. The Beatles—by nearly any measurement of artistic or commercial success—have blown away the pop music competition since they exploded on the world stage in 1964. They have been the biggest AND the best—selling over a billion units and topping most polls for best pop artist ever and best pop album ever (Revolver or Sgt Pepper usually comes out #1). 

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Source: Business Lessons From Rock

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