If you don’t know the joys of ska, you’re really missing out. I’ve been a fan since the late 1970’s and last night saw The English Beat again. The Beat are one of the original 2 Tone ska bands and although the band has changed over the years, it’s still led by Dave Wakeling and Everett Morton, their distinctive drummer. And amazingly enough, in the midst of 3 hours of dancing, I had a business thought!One of the band’s hits was a remake of Smokey Robinson‘s Tears of a Clown. Last night, the steady ska beat and Dave’s vocals had the sold out crowd grooving right along and I thought to myself this is a great example of taking a good product, adding your own twist, and producing something which is in many ways better than the original. Yes, I really did think that in the middle of the song. We see this in digital media all the time – Twitter is good, their open API has allowed developers to create something better such as Tweetdeck. You get the point.
The lessons? First, don’t be afraid to take a good idea and improve it. Over the years, I’ve heard, as have you I’m sure, “oh, someone did that – we have to find something new” as ideas are being tossed around. The Japanese built an entire economy from borrowing, refining, and selling other peoples’ ideas. Second, figure out your mission and stick to it. Dave’s, according to his website, is he loves to play music, period. Second, his job here on Earth is to bring a message of love, unity and a steady, rhythmic groove of danceable songs with a message to the masses. He accomplishes both things well, as my sore knees will attest this morning.
I’d urge you to go see The Beat if they’re going to be anywhere near where you are. And in the meantime, how can you make something good even better?