Business Tips from the Music World

I attended an orchestra concert tonight for the orchestra I will be joining in January and it made me think about how playing in an orchestra is just like being on a business team. Here are some tips I thought about:

  1. If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re fired. This is a mantra I’ve heard from several conductors. Now, the last part of that may not be true for most orchestras not playing at a professional level, but for the most part, if you are playing in a professional orchestra, you will most likely be fired. Same goes for work. Show up late often enough and sure enough, you’ll be fired
  2. Follow the leader. In business, you usually have a boss. In orchestra, that boss is usually your first chair. The conductor is your one-over/skip-level (manger of your manager).
  3. Rehearse for that big presentation. Never go cold turkey into a meeting with a leader or executive.  Same goes for orchestra. Never go to a rehearsal without practicing and never perform in a concert without having at least one rehearsal.
  4. The final product is the only thing that matters. You may have spent a week without sleep working on that deck for the executive; five seconds into the presentation, he rips it apart. You spend months developing that new iPhone app, but the customer finds it overly complex and you end up making no money. Same goes for orchestra. You may have spent countless hours in rehearsal and self-practice, but the only thing that matters to the audience is that final concert. If you sound bad, they think you’re bad. No second chances.

I’m sure I’ll have more soon, but these are ones I wanted to record.


Line of Business vs. Business Segment

At my job, we sometimes mix definitions when referring to Line of Business (LOB) versus Business Segment, so I wanted to get some clarity on the difference between the two.

Business Segment

Typically also referred to as a business unit, a business segment is generally a major division in a large corporation. For example, General Electric has GE Energy, GE Capital, GE Healthcare, etc. These units often act like their own businesses complete with their own presidents, vice presidents, etc. Their revenue is also usually reported individually in the Income Statement. Below is an example of what a company with business segments might look like.


Line of Business

Unlike a business segment, where an entire corporate structure is necessary, a LOB is small classification of products  that might reside in a business segment.  Wikipedia describes LOB as:

Line of business (LOB) is a general term which often refers to a set of one or more highly related products which service a particular customer transaction or business need.


Going forward, I definitely need to keep these two separate since they are not the same things.