Thursday, July 04, 2013

Songs about facilitating successful meetings

Remember Groupon? The boss the company deposed when it turned out that selling money-off vouchers actually wasn't a business at all, Andrew Mason has been busy. Presumably having worked through the nineteen vouchers for one-hour massage sessions that he got as a payout, Andrew has recorded a motivational business album:

Before I leave you to your speaker system or headphones, one word of advice for managers thinking about how to make best use of the album: Context is king. Sure, you can just leave copies of Hardly Workin' on your employees' desks and achieve an incremental increase in productivity and morale (productivity is a function of morale, people!), but I wrote this album as someone someone who believes that messages mean different things depending on the time and place they're delivered. Try ending your next all-hands meeting with "It's Up to Us," for example. Or, having trouble communicating with a low-per/hi-po employee? A "Thinkin' of You" note attached to a flash drive preloaded with "My Door is Always Open" might be the catalyst you need for that transformational breakthrough.
Here's my own management tip - if you go round leaving stuff like that on people's desks, that's going to attract lawsuits.

And if you do plan to end a meeting with a rousing song, I'd suggest you get IT to block access to LinkedIn first because if anything ever said "update your CV and contact employment agencies", it's that.

Interestingly, Steve Albini also has a view on the record. Go on, Steve, get all Big Black-y on this one:
“I think it sits in a tradition of absurd but sincere gestures,” Albini said when reached by phone at his studio. “I think it’s one of the most amazingly realized great ideas I’ve stumbled across in a long time.”
That seems... surprisingly warm. But mostly surprising.

Still, Steve Albini is an independent voice, and if he says there's something in this... oh, hang on, what's this?
Mason holds a degree in music from Northwestern, once played keyboard in a punk rock band and interned for legendary producer Steve Albini, who also counts him as a personal friend.
Let's just pause before going 'oh' and imagine what it might be like being an intern for Steve Albini.

Okay, and now lets go 'oh, he's a pal.'

But could Albini be right, rather than just doing a mate a favour?

Paste supplies a sample of lyrics from Hardly Workin:
Don’t make me cut through no thistles / You can keep all your fancy bells and whistles and shove them / Where the sun don’t shine.
You've got to say: by endorsing that, Steve Albini shows he really sticks by his friends.