Society seems to talk about entrepreneurship as something new and hip; it’s cool to do things for yourself… right??
Look at me; I’m cool, I’m hip… I’ve got a beard.
Well entrepreneurship is cool.
But it’s not new.
And no matter who you are, you’re almost certainly not as hip as Mike Watts- a man who could be defined as the greatest entrepreneur of the past 30 years.
And that’s entrepreneur in the truest sense; personal liberation. Not entrepreneur in how it’s seemingly talked about today- money/ celebrity/ fame/ 6-pack/ social media scores.
The 80’s American Hardcore Punk scene still defines entrepreneurship for me; a bunch of people pretty much written off by society who end up creating a living by doing the thing they love- which just so happens to be sticking it to the people who wrote them off in the first place.
Punk, like Hip Hop, came to be about much more than music; it became a way of life. The entrepreneurship was all about finding a way to fund your band to make, record, and play music. In it’s truest form, the monetary return from playing your music wasn’t important; what was important was the music, and it’s message. And so begins the trail of fanzines, poster prints, tours and personal sacrifice that you can read in any punk rock story; my personal favorites being Keith Morris, Henry Rollins and of course Mike Watts.
Mike still lives this entrepreneur way of life – he’s been a Minute Man, a Stooge, a Fire Hoser, a solo artist. Today he’s a band member. And he’s amazing. And his bass playing carries on getting better and better.
And there’s a lesson in there for all of us.
He’s still tours, still produces his own material, still sells it cheaply, still never trades in on his name and sells out for large scale reunions or tours.
The world needs more Mike Watts… and less beards.