Jacksonville, FL -- If you haven't already seen the movie, chances are you've heard about the 2 weeks and counting box office smash biopic, "Straight Outta Compton". At the very least, you've seen your friends' odd obsession with "Straight Outta" memes on Facebook. The movie is based on the true story of some of hip hop's most well known artists. It documents the rise to success of notorious 80's rap group "N.W.A.". It is produced by one of N.W.A.'s founding members, Ice Cube, played by his son O'Shea Jackson Jr. and depicts, among others, rappers Eazy-E and Dr. Dre.
While the movie takes viewers through a range of emotions as we view the world through the eyes of youth as they navigate life and success surrounded by drugs, gangs and police harassment, I could not stop thinking about the fact that the members of N.W.A. had the perfect sauce to make it big in the field of reality rap.
Having recently founded a Start-Up myself, the lessons from the movie about necessary ingredients to any successful entrepreneurial endeavor jumped out from the screen at me. Here are five of those indispensable elements:
Of the group's members, Dr. Dre was the visionary. He saw what reality rap could become at a time when rap wasn't even seen as a real art-form. As a visionary he motivated the other characters to see what their group could become as well. In any start-up endeavor, having someone with clear vision is of paramount importance. Dr. Dre was successful time and time again, even after some heartbreaking failures because he never lost sight of the vision. Vision can help a start-up team overcome challenges associated with any new business.
2. Sound Operations
Dr. Dre was a masterful music producer. He knew how to bring the different pieces of a production: artists, lyrics, sampling etc. together to create a valuable end product. Any successful Start-Up must develop processes to make all the parts come together. One trait of a good entrepreneur is the ability to juggle many moving parts to make the business successful, whether that means, for example, personally interacting with customers one day and liaising with suppliers and partners the next.
3. Good Content / Value
Ice Cube brought sound lyrical content to the table that resonated with N.W.A.'s audience. So much so, that it was near impossible to replace his talent when he chose to leave Ruthless Records – the label Eazy-E had formed. The role of business is to solve a problem for a consumer, to satisfy a need, whether real or imagined. Any successful business provides real solutions that consumers can see value in.
Eazy-E put up the start-up capital to found N.W.A. and Ruthless Records. He also built relationships to secure investments. It is naïve to think that a start-up business can be successful with no capital. The amount of capital needed depends on a multitude of factors but some type of investment is needed to get started.
N.W.A. was rapping songs about riding in a '64 (1964 Chevy Impala) and selling drugs. The only member of the founding three that had really done any of those things, at least according to the movie, was Eazy-E. The others convinced him to rap their first song which would go on to become their breakout hit, "Boyz-n-the-Hood". In an effort to get him to rap with conviction, Dr. Dre encouraged Eazy-E to think about the times when he went cruising in Compton in his '64. The result was a 2x platinum album. Credibility is that elephant in the room that many ignore when starting a business. Customers need to feel like you know what you are talking about when you present them with a product or service. This is why stories sell products. What experiences have made your take on addressing a consumer need unique?
Since I saw the movie this past weekend I have had to think long and hard about whether I have all these elements in my start-up. I encourage you to do the same and hopefully we will soon have our own industry version of going platinum.
By Kristy Alexander
Kristy Alexander is the founder of Apple Rose Beauty, a company that provides spa quality Natural and Organic Face Care products to harness the power of nature to help consumers achieve healthy, glowing skin. They are committed to the fight to end human-trafficking. They believe that we have a responsibility to be our best selves by taking care of our bodies and showing compassion to those in need.