How The Mighty Fall

I just finished Jim Collins’ truly enlightening book, “How The Mighty Fall”. It’s a short read covering the five steps to an organization’s decline, and is one of the best books I’ve read in a LONG time. It’s just too good not to share, so below are some quick notes I took while reading:

How the Mighty Fall


1. Hubris Born Of Success

  • Biggest mistake is confusing what and why
  • “We’re successful because of what we do so well” replaces “we’re successful because we understand why we do specific things, and under the conditions in which they would no longer work.

2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More

  • Leaders stray away from the key to success: disciplined creativity
  • The company dives into areas where they cannot be excellent or are outside the scope of work that made them successful to begin with

3. Denial of Risk and Peril

  • The company and its leaders discount negative data, amplify positive data, and put a positive spin on ambiguous data

4. Grasping For Salvation

  • Leaders panic, and begin to take bold leads into unknown/unmastered territory, look for mergers/acquisitions, and pursue untested strategies.
  • Only hope left at this stage is to go back to disciplined creativity

5. Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death


  • You can be profitable and bankrupt. You pay your bills with cash.
  • The best leaders feel a sense of urgency in both good and bad times.
  • Recovery lies in sound strategic thinking.


“Circumstances alone do not determine outcomes. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our setbacks, our history, our mistakes or our staggering defeats. We are freed by our choices.”

“The point of struggle is not just to survive, but to build an enterprise that makes such a distinctive impact on the world it touches, and does so with such superior performance, that it would leave a gaping hole – a hole that could not be easily filed by any other institution – if it ceased to exist.”


1) Why Ignoring Labels is the Best Way To Get Signed

2) The Golden Circle: Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?


Doing It Yourself vs. Finding An Excuse

In today’s age of “DIY”, musicians still seem to not actually want to do it themselves.

It is much easier (i.e. takes less effort and thought) for a musician to talk (usually to other musicians sharing a similar situation) about how evil record labels are, or about a local promoter who expected them to bring people to their own show, than it is to do any of the below things that will have a direct impact on their career:

  • Register with a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.)
  • Create a Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube account
  • Copyright songs with the Copyright Office
  • Learn the basics of Photoshop, even if you’re terrible at everything after the basics
  • Read the amazing TuneCore blog
  • Watch these helpful videos from Artists House Music
  • Understand the difference between booking agents and managers
  • Read books about the music industry, even only a few specific chapters

It seems to be, in other industries, very common for those who are honing their craft to be knowledgable of the industry they are aspiring to join.

I mean, do you really think any successful DIY artist didn’t take the time to learn how the music industry works?

Thanks to the internet, there is no excuse for musicians/artists to be absolutely clueless of the industry they are trying so hard to break into.

Musicians, however, almost intrinsically seem to rely on the NEGATIVE stereotype surrounding their profession (i.e. that musicians are lazy, irresponsible, uninformed, etc.) as an excuse to avoid putting in the effort it takes to “Do It Yourself” like they are consistently advocating for.