If Dilbert played in a rock band

I have a new favorite band. They’ve actually been around for seventeen years, but I never took the time to give them a fair listen. (Hey, I’ve been busy.)

What first grabbed me was their choice of album and song titles (Welcome Interstate Managers, “Bright Future in Sales,” “Utopia Parkway,” “Song of the Passaic”). This is a band that loves to skewer the insipidity of industrial life, as often practiced. Their song topics are grist for the mill for organizational change agents (that might be you) who would like to see more spirit, color, and joy in officeland.

Here’s a video of “Hey Julie” featuring their patented bash-the-boss humor.

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An opinionated company

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We love to see a rock & roll attitude in business anywhere we can find it.

And we've found it at 37signals, a web application company that checks off on two key qualities we always look for in a team or organization: a distinct personality/identity and an anarchistic spirit.

37signals (named after the 37 radio waves detected from outer space that have never been explained) is a business that likes to keep things REALLY simple—and they’ve made it their signature.

Co-founder Jason Fried: “I like to make things easier for people. I love competing on easy.”

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Introverts, stand up for your rights!

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Since reading through Susan Cain’s popular book—Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking—I can’t stop talking about introverts. Especially in the world of business—and rock & roll.

First, some differentiation is in order. Cain, paraphrasing psychologist Carl Jung, says, "Introverts are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling … extroverts to the external life of people and activities ... Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough."

The problem, Cain asserts, is that extroversion has been established as the norm in American society and that schools and workplaces are designed for extroverts—leaving introverts to feel there is something wrong with them if they prefer working alone.

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You say you want a revolution

By my reckoning it all started 50 years ago this Monday. On the morning of February 11, 1963, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr descended on EMI studios at 3 Abbey Road in St. John’s Wood, London and in workmanlike fashion laid down 10 songs in less than 13 hours.

Producer George Martin could only marvel, "I don't know how they do it. We've been recording all day but the longer we go on the better they get." By 10:45 pm, after the last guitar chord of “Twist and Shout” had faded into the night (and the last of Lennon’s vocal cords had been thoroughly shredded) the insurgency was underway. Pop music and pop culture would never be the same.

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