Keep On Rockin' in the Free (Market) World

Author: Jarrett Haley


Who says entrepreneurship doesn’t rock? Over at is a fascinating article that offers The Black Keys as a model for startup business.

The Black Keys, for those who don’t know, are only the hottest upstart rock duo to come up from a basement in more than a few years. Even if you’re not a rocker, chances are you’ve heard their riffs driving many a car commercial.

The Forbes article is all the more interesting for its discussion of a Minimum Viable Product release strategy, in which a product is presented with just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. Author Anthony Wing Kosner cites The Black Keys' “irreducible components of rock and roll (the beat, the guitar, the rough vocals)” as the source of their product’s “minumum viability.”

Of course a strategy like this, in rock or otherwise, takes a great deal of determination and a willingness to keep up enthusiasm even when there’s a lack of any foreseeable return. In the words of Seth Godin, the process of “see what works and do it more” leads many to drop out before real viability, and sustainability, ever comes.

But like any garage rocker, entrepreneurs are no strangers to working at their projects in a basement. The trick is, as The Black Keys would no doubt agree, to keep banging away until the world listens.