If you follow rock music and are familiar at all with the Grateful Dead, you might raise your eyebrow at the comparison Jerry Garcia's former manager is making.

A former manager of the Grateful Dead is comparing the late Jerry Garcia to Steve Jobs for his leadership style in business.

“Much is now being made of the Grateful Dead’s business model as some kind of guide to contemporary industry,” writes Sam Cutler, examining what was it that made the Grateful Dead’s experiences relevant to today’s companies. “Whatever the Grateful Dead model was, it would have been inconceivable for Jerry Garcia to have been dismissed.”

Cutler goes on to increase the circle of comparison with a few other surprising names.

I can think of no CEO that bears comparison to Garcia in the contemporary economic scene – Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs are the only two that even come close in my mind, and neither of them played in a band – they (like Garcia) simply ran companies with unrivaled personal power and authority. Buffet and Jobs approach was big picture stuff as was Jerry’s, and Berkshire Hathaway and Apple (and the Grateful Dead) seemed to have worked on a principal where bye (sic) all was fair as long as the “main man” didn’t disagree. This allowed for flexibility and innovation and an environment where people’s ideas were valued and seen as real assets rather than annoyances.

Part of the comparison comes from Garcia's and The Dead's ever-evolving influence and business model.

Another key aspect to the Dead’s business model was involving the customers, or in this case, the Deadheads.

“The priority for the Dead was to make sure that their fans (their customer base if you like) always felt involved and catered to by the band’s activities. The Dead made music with them and for them and every deadhead felt an intimate connection with the band’s activities.”


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