SXSW V2V: What Rockers Can Teach Startups

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Monday / July 14, 2014 / 1:45 p.m.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas
United States

What does it take to launch a great startup? The common answers tend to be a great business plan, a cool idea, flawless execution by the founders, and access to vast amounts of capital. But is that really the case?

This panel, presented by the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) will challenge these assumptions. Though many assume that successful entrepreneurship is about good planning, thoughtful analysis, and flawless execution (all left brain disciplines), most accomplished entrepreneurs say their approach closer resembles musical improvisation.  A person starts with a general concept but begins creating by using available "ingredients;" trial and error; attentive and persistent listening; evaluating; iterating; and just as importantly, gut feel (right brain activities). More support for this idea is underscored by the fact that many successful founders—such as ones from Microsoft, Apple, AOL, Fenway Sports Group, Kayak, Groupon, and Silver Lake Partners—are musicians.

Combining musical performance, workshop, and discussion, this interactive panel will draw parallels between musical creation and startup founding in unexpected ways. Can skills often associated with musicianship and creativity, such as listening, collaborating, synthesizing and improvising really boost the odds of success for entrepreneurs?


  • Panos Panay, Founding Managing Director, BerkleeICE
  • Ken Zolot, Lecturer, MIT
  • Steve Bailey, Chair, Berklee Bass Department
  • Ruth Blatt, Writer, Forbes and The Rock Band Project
Select Berklee students and alumni can apply for a free pass to SXSW V2V, courtesy of SXSW.