OK GO

What OK G0 is Teaching Me About Business 

Have you seen OK Go’s new video for the song Needing/Getting? If not, take 3 minutes to watch it. (Totally worth it, I promise.)

Amazeballs. THE CAR is playing the song.

Here are some business lessons I’ve taken away from their latest installment of awesomeness:

1. Creativity Still Counts

Doing something wildly inventive has set OK Go apart as a band and a brand. Do you remember Here it Goes Again? The video was just four guys on treadmills – a complete 180 from the big, flashy, full-of-bravado videos that were coming out at the time. It was refreshing. They are continuing that trend with their latest song, albeit with a larger budget. Creativity remains at the center of what they are producing. Which brings me to the next point….

2. It’s Fun

Were you ever part of an Odyssey of the Mind team when you were in school? I totally wish these guys were on my team back in the day. They have taken what is seemingly ordinary – a piano, a car, aluminum wind chimes, trash cans – and turned it into something extraordinary. And it’s a blast to watch. It makes me think about business in general – ¬†are we creating something new out of what is ordinary? Is it a joy to interact with?

Of course, fun isn’t everything, that’s why it’s important that….

3. They have the Talent to Back it Up

They started out with a great song that stands on its own with or without the video. They did their jobs as songwriters and musicians and that takes talent.

The OK Go Car - a suped up Chevy Sonic

4. Collaboration is Key

Some of the criticism about the video is that it is a three-minute long car commercial (it is) and that OK Go is selling out (they aren’t).

It’s important to remember that OK Go is in the midst of creating a new business model. In 2010 the band left a large record label and struck out on their own in order to have more creative freedom over their product and its distribution. In order to produce their music the band has partnered with corporate sponsors to pay the bills. Lead singer Damian Kulash said,

“If you want to spend your day making stuff, somebody is going to have to help you pay for it.”

The band’s partnering with Chevrolet gave them financial freedom to make a video. In return, Chevy is reaching their targeted audience. Both parties needed each other to come up with a better final product than what they could have created on their own.

5. It’s about Planning and Practice

Needing/Getting took planning – and lots of it. The car was modified, Kulash went to stunt-driving school, a MIT engineer developed the driving course, and one of the band members wrote a computer program to ensure the song was rhythmically converted to miles per hour. In short, they worked hard.

OK Go's Musical Driving Course.

Hard work is what gets us from point to point. It gives us room to learn so we can produce something that is innovative and spectacular.

What do you think of OK Go’s video?

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