Dr. Dre and Apple – Lessons about Collaboration

Well you can’t log on to any site right now without seeing some news about the confirmed, but still not really confirmed collaboration between Apple Inc. and Dr. Dre‘s Beats Electronics. A partnership, that would make Dr. Dre the wealthiest hip-hop artist in history, and most likely, based on his entrepreneurial savvy, the first hip-hop billionaire.

We may not be creating a $3.2 billion dollar collaboration, but there are some very valuable lessons to be learned from this event:

1. If you want a sweet deal, don’t go hunting… become the target.

I say this to entrepreneurs all the time. You have a 99% chance of NOT getting the deal you want when you approach someone to partner or collaborate with. But you have a 99% change of getting EXACTLY what you want if they come to you.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a billion dollar buyout or just looking for someone to joint-venture with for a promotional project. The rule rings true. When you are the one asking for the collaboration, you immediately give the person you are approaching the upper hand. This isn’t bad, you just need to be aware of it.

I’ve created a free webinar on this exact subject for my recent pre-release campaign of Collaboration Economy. While the webinar talks about an opportunity to get my book for free, which is no longer active, the information in the webinar will give you some great details about how to become the target. But very briefly we can look at Dr. Dre and see that he has down all of these 4 steps exceptionally well. These 4 steps are taken directly from the Key Person of Influence program which is currently being offered in London, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, Tampa, and Orlando.

Step 1 – Have a Perfect Pitch. All people of influence are known for what they are known for. Whether it be a civil rights activist who says, “I have a dream…” or a spiritual guru saying, “Be the change.” It could be a president who says, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” It may not be a famous phrase but they’ve pitched themselves so well they are known as the “Rebel Billionaire.” In Dr. Dre’s case? He started what the media dubbed, ‘Gangster Rap’ with his group, NWA.

Step 2 – Get Published. While to my knowledge, Dr. Dre hasn’t written a book himself, he has many written about him, and the list of music that he has published for himself and other rap artists is a veritable “who’s who” in the rap scene giving him massive credibility.

Step 3 – Productize Your Business – Dr. Dre wasn’t content just standing behind the mic. He wanted his influence to be stronger than just getting paid to rap. If he would have been just a rapper his ability to earn would have been limited to his ability to rap and there are only 365 days a year he can do that… so he developed product lines that allowed his revenue to continue even when he wasn’t rapping. The most famous product now? His line of headphones, Beats.

Step 4 – Raise Your Profile – Entrepreneurs have no time to get out and raise their profile when they are the soul rain-maker in their business. But Dr. Dre productized so well through his electronics company and all the other rappers he signed under his record labels that he had the ability to make himself an industry name and appear on TV, radio, movies, and every single other form of media known to man.

By doing these 4 things so well, the 5th step, Collaborative Partnerships was a no brainer, and an easy one, and one which, looks like will garner him about $3.2 billion dollars.

HERE’S WHERE THE LESSONS GET GOOD…  It’s great to learn how to position yourself nicely for a collaborative buyout like his, but how he’s handling it right now I think also gives us some lessons as well.

2. Stay classy.  I get it… it’s definitely news worth celebrating.  And there is even value in leaking this type of information to the media to inflate some stock value and get people buying.  Just do it in a way that says class, not crass.  And Dr. Dre really missed the mark by letting his drunk friend post a video of them shouting and swearing.   If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is.  Warning, they swear a lot.  What a shock.


3. Get your facts straight. I mentioned earlier the figure $3.2 billion dollars. On the video he claims he’s going to be “The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the motherf**king West Coast.” (Again, see lesson #2) That won’t all go to him. He owns 25% stake so his claims that he will be the first billionaire hip-hop artist most likely will not actually be true, but more like around $800 million. However, he’s no dummy; I’m sure he will be able to invest it such that it can grow, and put him in the coveted BBC- Billionaire Boys Club)

So there you go. 1 lesson on what to do and 2 on what not to do. But overall, my hats off to Dr. Dre and I have no doubt that he will do great things beyond this buyout.

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