I read a tweet the other day and I felt sorry and sad for millennials. Not all of them of course. The tweet read: “King if you will not help me with my career then I will give up and go back to employment.” Then Kenyans On Twitter (KOT) jumped on the tweet as they tried all ways of letting him know that this ‘show business’ takes a lot.
That reminded me of an argument I had with a promoter. I recently watched a documentary about Usain Bolt. He came from the ghettos of Jamaica and realised he could run. He could run really fast. He was not much of a talker, but his running did the talking. You know they say let your success be the spokesperson. He aimed for the world, because he knew he belonged on the world score board. But he had to start somewhere. The key here is ‘Start Somewhere’. His school was his first audience and everyone felt the world needed to discover Bolt, so the school applied for regional competitions, because everyone wants to be associated with winners. And as much as he wasn’t a talker, everyone started talking about him.
He was always practising as he waited for games. Once, when asked if he knew the world would pay attention, he said: “No, but I paid attention to my discipline and practice.” You only get what you work for. He is now celebrated globally with multi-million deals chasing him.
With that in mind, the problem with millennials is that we want overnight success. I am in Oakland for my US tour, and I had a meeting at the Spotify offices. It’s reaping billions of profit now but it was started in 2006. One friend of the owners was a big time artiste in Sweden and was always complaining how piracy was killing their profits. It was this piracy issue that birthed Spotify.
But they started small, with a campus concentration group as their market. They had 20 users for three months before word started going round. However, at one point Spotify had to shut down as the business was not making profit.
At that point, most of us would have closed shop, and that’s where the young man is, the one who tweeted me. Everyone has that point where they feel like throwing in the towel. Going past that point is what differentiates the quitters from the winners.
As we speak, Spotify is worth $23 billion (Sh2.3 trillion), is used in more than 61 countries by 159 million users and has a 35 million library of songs. What do we get from this?
Value for your product
When they pay you for a gig, what are they really paying for? The hours you will perform or the time and creativity you put in the studio and visuals while developing your product? The more time you spend developing a product, the more value it gets. Even more is that you get experience from your previous mistakes. If you notice, apps always give us updates, because they are learning and developing their products.
When I started music no one gave me attention. I had to build a ‘community’ that would later become my fan base. If I had the ‘I give up’ mentality, then it would mean that Kaka Empire and every other product that I have developed would not be in existence. Have I ever thought of quitting? Countless times. Did I quit? No. Since I knew that no one owes me anything I had to work towards building a unique product. Since man is still evolving then your art, product or whatever you are working on needs to evolve too. Don’t give up.