Operational Discipline: What It Looks Like
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PERFORMANCE: How Nine Inch Nails Destroyed Soundgarden...

head like a hole
black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve

-Some dude in a Spandex kilt

As some of you know, I took a little trip to Vegas to attend the 2014 NBA Summer league earlier this month.  Full review post here, lots of lessons in Talent for those willing to look.

But it wasn't all hoops - thanks to Matt Stollak, we were able to score great seats to Soundgarden/Nine Inch Nails at Planet Hollywood on our last night in town. 

I'm a huge Soundgarden fan.  But they didn't win the contest for best performance that Saturday night.  Nine Inch Nails secured the victory by understanding that the performance is as important as the music. 


1.  I really didn't give two ###ts about Nine Inch Nails coming into the show.

2.  I was pissed that Soundgarden opened for NIN instead of the other way around.

3.  Soundgarden came out and did what they were supposed to do.  Here's the video I shared earlier of the opening to "My Wave".  Not bad (email subscribers click through for video)...

4. All of the fans to these bands are my age.  Remember the mosh pit with kids churning around back in the day?  Not so much these days.  Look at the heads in the crowd.  Lots of investment bankers trying to not get beer on them.

5. When Nine Inch Nails started, I thought Trent Reznor was a roadie.  He just walked out and started playing his synthesizer or whatever the #### it is that he plays.


Nine Inch Nails put the beatdown on Soundgarden by understanding people come for a show.  While Soundgarden did the rock band thing - just played their set with a big LSD influenced screen behind them, Nine Inch Nails was much more visual.  Examples:

1. They started out with the stage in that classic minimalist industrial that I actually like a lot.  Picture below (email subscribers click through for photos).

Photo 1-1

2. Reznor just walking out and starting to play is also a choice.  Bonus - he wears a kilt.  Not a kilt like the guys are used to at "Tilted Kilt", but a goth version that's probably performance gear like Under Armor.

3. All of the people in Nine Inch Nails play a variety of instruments.  They mix it up every 2 or 3 cuts to keep you on your toes.

4. They did stuff with lighting to create big shadows intially.  Interesting, and even if you didn't know their music, it held your attention.

Photo 2

5. Once the big shadows were in, they started moving LED screens in to create smaller shadows.  Pics below.

Photo 3

It might not sound like a lot, but visuals, performance and marketing matter.  I loved Soundgarden and didn't really care about Nine Inch Nails.  Yet I declare them the clear winner of the night.

Don't mail it in.  Make your peformance in HR and recruiting an art show to the extent you can.

It will convert people who don't expect to be converted.



I've seen some amazing shows--Metallica with Danzig and Suicidal Tendancies, RATM with Wu-Tang Clan, Foo Fighters with Rise Against, but the NIN show I saw last fall was hands-down the best show I've ever experienced. And I attribute it to Trent's perfectionism--every song sounded perfect, and the creativity and artistic talent from a visual and performance standpoint blew me away.

Janet Jakobe-Gray

A side note/interesting fact about Trent Reznor: Looks like he will be a new employee of Apple via his role as Chief Creative Officer of Beats Music. http://upstart.bizjournals.com/entrepreneurs/hot-shots/2014/07/31/report-apple-draws-fresh-blood-from-mr-self.html?ana=e_du_ubj&s=article_du&ed=2014-07-31&u=r2WE86S3FY3F0NskKYZR2f6FFRx&t=1406839864


Hey Janet - I saw that as well - probably indicative of the creative side of Reznor and how it's regarded in the industry, right?

Shannon - I saw Foo and Against Me together - that was good, but like you, I think Reznor would have beat them as well.



It's a Utlikilt. Get your own here: http://www.utilikilts.com/


This post sounds like something an investment banker trying to avoid beer getting spilled on himself would write. It's music. The point isn't to "win" anything and it has no applicability to HR anything unless you are a total tool.


Hey ASDF -

I posted your comment because I post all of them unless they're spam. I think everyone - HR pros included - can learn a lot from a variety of situations. This isn't the blog for you. Thanks for calling me a tool, though. Pretty high end on your part.


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