What managers can learn from Amanda Palmer

This morning we announced that American singer Amanda Palmer will be honored with a leader in the Digital Age Award in the category Entertainment. Palmer has set a world record last year: She collected $ 1.2 million via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. In a guest-article in the Blog of the German magazine “Wirtschaftswoche” I will explain what managers can learn from the U.S. artist who understood so masterfully to mobilize their fans, and to make them active supporters.


I collected a few key points – maybe this whets your appetite for participating at the LIDA Award Ceremony in context of the CeBIT 2013 on March 6th. Or – just as well – it’s just thought-provoking.

The most important lesson for managers is probably that to Amanda Palmer proves an altered power structure – a revolution which was made possible by the Internet, but its impact hardly arrived at management level so far. …

Just as Prince and David Bowie, Amanda Palmer does not have to work for the music industry or their managers any longer. It’s possible without them. If you’re good, you don’t have to dream any longer of making something completely different as in the past.

What does it mean for me as a manager even if I do not work in the music industry? It’s simple: If I – as the managers of Amanda’s former record company – do not make suitable offers for the best ones in my company, they don’t work for me anymore. They will look for ways to work without me – and they’re going to find them thanks to the internet. …

Obviously, this is not just about musicians who are missing in a company someday. Almost everywhere experts for new IT and innovation issues are needed and desperately sought.


Especially the best ones, who know how to digitize processes, sell products online or to program an maintain the system, are people who know how they can take advantage of the internet – eg by using crwodfounding platforms. An E-Commerce expert who works for a traditional trading-company could be an example.

This is an employee who can usually choose whether the conditions under which he works, suit for him. Or if he leaves – to work for direct competitors or the new digital competitors such as Apple, Zalando or Amazon. Or he does his own thing and starts its own specialty shop – financed by Internet users who like the project

What managers need to learn in the digital age, is: to cultivate talents, not to scare them. And if there is no alternative and the best want to do their own thing? Then I have to learn to work together with them in networks. The alternative is to lose their expertise or their ability to develop a good product completely.


By |2017-01-13T16:20:06+00:00March 1st, 2013|Bloggin|0 Comments

About the Author:

Willms Buhse
Dr. Willms Buhse ist Experte für Digital Leadership, Gründer und CEO von doubleYUU, einer Managementberatung spezialisiert auf die Digitale Transformation.

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