Iron Maiden frontman and businessman Bruce Dickinson says making a business idea work involves exactly the same creative thinking as it takes to make a song work.
His comments come as he argued that the music industry’s problems over the past 15 years held lessons for the rest of the world – and soon after he completed Maiden’s world tour in support of 16th album The Book Of Souls.
Dickinson, who’s also worked as an airline pilot, recently told CNN: “I know a lot of musicians who are pilots and a lot of professional pilots who are musicians also. There’s something about the three-dimensionality of both mediums, and there’s also something about the creative aspects of both things.
“For the last three or four years I’ve been doing some business speaking – something I call corporate stand-up. One of the big questions is creativity. People want to know, ‘How do you be creative in business?’
“I’ve been creative, songwriting, all my life. So I just think naturally about creative things. To me, creating a business idea is very much like creating a song. It starts off from one little idea, then you just daydream what happens next. Eventually you put it into a process. You have to make it fit and make it real.”
Dickinson cites the example of the leap he took from being a pilot to running an maintenance company Cardiff Aviation, whose clients include industry leaders Boeing and Airbus, and the creative thinking that opened conversations to those firms becoming clients.
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“People said, ‘You’re a pilot – why are you starting a maintenance company?’ I said, ‘It’s really simple.
“‘If you want to sell lawnmowers, what do you do?’ They went, ‘I don’t know, open a lawnmower shop?’ I said, ‘No. You buy a patch of grass and wait.’
“Somebody will come along and say, ‘You need to cut the grass.’ And you say, ‘I can sell you a lawnmower.’”
He applied the “same weird lateral thinking” to consider Cardiff Aviation. “Why have you got a maintenance company? Because eventually people will bring you aeroplanes that they don’t know what do with with. At which point you can say, ‘We can make money for your aeroplane.’
“You get a cheap aeroplane. You do everybody a favour. It’s a good deal for everybody – but you don’t have to commit a massive expense to that aeroplane.”
He offers an alternative viewpoint: “Why do airlines go bust? Answer, because they own aeroplanes.”