Last night I watched the documentary Flight 666 about the world tour rock legends Iron Maiden did back in 2008. It was very inspiring to watch because it showed me what you need to do to get to the top and stay there for 30 years.
Iron Maiden started as part of the New British Heavy Metal scene in the early eighties of the last century and became famous overnight. But as the saying goes: ‘It’s easy to get to the top but very hard to stay there’. This proved to be true for almost all the other bands in their genre who got swept away within ten years when grunge turned out to be the next big thing. But not Iron Maiden.
The secret? Iron Maiden didn’t try to fit in with new music flavors that came along. They kept doing what they do best; bring their own mix of hard rock music, mythical lyrics and theatrical showmanship. “If you like us, great. If you don’t, you’re a f…. no problem”, according to drummer and band comedian Nicko McBrain.
What they prove is that by sticking to your guns, instead of adjusting course when the water gets rough, you’ll have a far better chance to survive and thrive. The audience, or your customers for that matter, know when you’re the real deal or just selling out. By going with the flow you may be the flavor of the month but people will ultimately trade you in for the next big thing.
This documentary shows that staying true to yourself can pay off big time. You still see a few guys doing what they love to do in the first place: play music in front of an audience. Their old Ford Transit turned into their own Boeing 747 (Ed Force One) and Birmingham became Costa Rica, but that doesn’t change their attitude one bit.
The other thing that’s very clear when you watch this documentary is that being humble about your success instead of arrogant and giving everything every night will create a big, loyal and enthusiastic audience, for a long period of time. In this case it’s a rockband, but this philosophy works for startups as well, no matter what product or service you deliver.
Stay humble and hungry! And have fun along the way!
Posted by Eric Verweij