Bursts of Color

By Geoff Donaker

Bursts of Color - Brown M&Ms





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Bursts of Color - Brown M&Ms
By Geoff Donaker • Issue #31 • View online
This week brought one of those “I should have known better” business snafus, which reminded me of Van Halen and their legendary Brown M&M rider, described here by NPR:
It’s one of those rock ‘n’ roll legends that turns out to be true: In the 1980s, the party-rock superstars in Van Halen demanded, via a clause embedded in their tour rider, that no brown-colored M&Ms be allowed backstage at their concerts.
…The clause was less an example of “simple rock star misdemeanor excess” than an ingenious, curiously skewed (and sadly still relevant) safety measure. 

David Lee Roth on the Brown M&Ms
David Lee Roth on the Brown M&Ms
Two Suggestions:
  1. If you haven’t seen it before, watch David Lee Roth’s explanation of why and how this worked.
  2. Consider what Brown M&M equivalents you use (or can add) as early warning detectors with your team, product or business.
An Example Brown M&M From My Past
During my time at Yelp, we had an amazing team of Community Managers (“CMs”), who built and nurtured our user groups in cities all over the world. The CM job was complicated and often difficult for us to measure from headquarters. Among the many things CMs were asked to do, there was a straightforward one: please write a new review every day. This new review (or absence thereof) became my brown M&M for the expanding team: I could simply glance at a CM’s profile to see their latest activity. If you’re 7/7 this week, good. While that doesn’t guarantee that the bigger projects are going well, it is a signal that you’re doing the small stuff right. On the other hand, if you’re only 1/7 on new reviews this week, that’s a real warning sign that we had better dig in and do a full “line check” (as David Lee Roth explains it) of everything going on in your city.
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Geoff Donaker

Bursts of Color is a newsletter for start-up leaders who work with Burst Capital. It's meant to include products, people and ideas that I think are interesting and maybe relevant for you.

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