Monday, July 25, 2011

Amy Winehouse: She was like a plumber

Full credit to @TheMichaelMoran for discovering this ill-judged response to Amy Winehouse's death on HuffPo. Tricia Fox has something to say:

Unlike others, I won't be picking apart her chosen lifestyle, nor will I be judging her. She made her own choices and, although it would appear that these choices ultimately led to her death, they were hers to make.

For small business owners there is, however, a lot to be learned from Amy's untimely death.

This is like a small business equivalent of one of those Thoughts For The Day where a priest will suggest that, in a sense, Jesus was like Manchester United, or we're all a bit like a bottle of mineral water.
Although rarely referred to as such, most musical artists and celebrities are businesses in their own right. In fact, for all those detractors out there that say that being "self-employed" is not a "proper" business, think again. This successful business model is one that has been proven time and time again.
Has anyone ever said that being self-employed isn't a proper business? Worryingly, I'm not sure the business part of this piece works any better than the attempt to hook it into Amy's death.
But whether you are a pop star, a plumber or a business consultant, the same rules still apply: you are the product. And if that's the case, you are going to need to take really good care for yourself if you want your business to succeed.
It's true: if you're a plumber, and your label is demanding a tour and a third album, you better not develop a psychological problem like addiction. Hang on...

Fox then tells Amy's story again, throwing in a couple of businessy terms like "brand", before trying to hammer in a business parallel:
There are so many parallels here in business. A young business starts well, and gets busy. The business owner frequently ignores their own health, swapping trips to the gym for an extra couple of hours in the office, eating takeaway dinners instead of healthy home cooked food, scrimping on sleep and generally running themselves into the ground.

This cycle of personal abandonment all leads to poor decision-making in business. Recruiting too many staff (usually the wrong ones) too quickly. Missing deadlines. Not responding to customers. Falling behind with the business finances.

And then the wheels fall off. This is the business equivalent of being booed off stage.
Is it? Do people rush to put up YouTube videos of you not returning calls? Does The Sun spread 'Jim The Plumber fails to make sure petty cash tin topped up' over three pages?

Fox's advice? You know, be careful or something.
And today, in honour of Amy Winehouse, I am going to go to the gym. For the first time in about six months. She's just reminded me why I should.
Yes. That's what she would have wanted.

Seriously, you're suggesting that Amy's enormous problems of addiction and abandonment and god knows what else are a bit like a plumber skipping a few trips to play on a running-on-the-spot machine?