Scott’s Thoughts: Your Long, Strange Trip

“You don’t want to be the best at what you do. You want to be the only one who does what you do.”

Jerry Garcia, (August 1, 1942 — August 9, 1995) American musician with The Grateful Dead.

A Grateful Dead Logo

Whether or not you’re a fan of The Grateful Dead’s music, there are a few interesting lessons one can learn about the concept of differentiation from the band’s long history.

When bands were eager to fit into a genre such as rock or country, the Dead wandered happily across a field of musical styles. When bands worked to craft tidy radio hits, the Dead turned toward sprawling compositions with rambling, often improvised jams. When record companies were eager to squeeze every dime out of a performance and recording, the Dead set up special “taping sections” of their concerts so bootleggers could record the concerts and share them (provided they didn’t turn a profit from the recordings).

It wasn’t so much that the Dead were the best musicians of their era (and really, you can find some glaring examples that prove they could be truly awful). What made the Dead a legendary brand in the world of music was the way they injected their originality into everything. Composition, performance, equipment, merchandising and icon design… it all had a special flavor which was uniquely the Dead.

No, you probably can’t bring a freewheeling musical spirit and copious amounts of LSD to your real estate career. But what you can do is look for opportunities to embed aspects of your own originality in what can otherwise be a cookie-cutter experience. There’s a profound tendency towards certain tonal conformity in real estate, but don’t let that persuade you to shed what makes you, you.

Keep truckin’.

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