4 business lessons from Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden singer, pilot and startup founder
You probably knew that Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden was a licensed pilot, but did you know he was also the founder of an airplane repair shop in Wales? Cardiff Aviation was founded a few months ago, and it wants to become “a one stop shop for that difficult aircraft that doesn’t fit in”, but that – according to international fight regulations, apparently needs a fixed home where it is maintained and repaired. According to Dickinson, there are “hundreds” of those planes around the world.
Dickinson was a speaker at the Entrepreneurs Wales 2012 conference this week, where he talked a bit about his experiences of being an entrepreneur.
1. Bruce Dickinson: “Become the ultimate virus”
His advice: turn yourself into the “ultimate virus”, something that consumers or corporations can’t live without. “You have to get in the head of consumers and corporates as being indispensable,” he said.
2. “When disrupted, increase the price of t-shirts”
But he also talked about his experiences of being an entrepreneur in a business that has been in a lot of turbulence the last decade: the music industry. How Iron Maiden deals with that is very simple, they figure: you can steal our music all you want, we’ll increase the price of the t-shirts:
“You have to make music because that gives you the moral authority to play live, but everybody is going to steal it or get it for a fraction of what it was worth,” Dickinson said. ”It makes it a little more tedious – the music is free, but the T-shirt now costs you 100 bucks.”
3. “Turn your customers into fans”
Your goal should be to turn a customer into a fan, he said – and while a lot of marketing people dole out this piece of advice, coming from him it actually means something: Iron Maiden sold 50,000 tickets for a concert in Stockholm in 49 minutes recently, and that’s the kind of pent up demand that few mobile device makers can drum up.
4. “Be different”
“Everything about being an entrepreneur is about the customer,” said Dickinson, who said that to achieve this, “you really have to target your customers and know exactly who they are and what you are going to deliver for them that is different.”
Dickinson’s own repair shop is differentiating itself by caring for the ugly ducklings in the airliner’s fleets, but he also has plans to produce engines for the piston-engined market. And they’re also involved in the airship market (an Iron Maiden airship: that would be something to behold.)
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Feature photo: Iron Maiden plane by jbozanowski, Flickr
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