Why Broadway Musicals Will Improve Your Life


"West Side Story" was one of the most beloved musicals on Broadway. Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Pipe Dream" was a flop. How does one become a success while the other crashes and burns? That's what sociologist Brian Uzzi wanted to know. Is there a formula for taking the complexities of producing a Broadway musical and achieving success? Could that formula then be applied to other areas?

For five years, Uzzi analyzed 2,258 Broadway musicals reaching back to 1877 through 1990. What he reasoned was that Broadway musicals were a form of group creativity requiring a diverse and multifaceted legion of talents: dancers, musicians, composers, playwrights, actors, producers, directors, casting agents, etc - much like the networks and communities we all reside in.

After exhaustive research, he discovered a distinct pattern that formulated one of the most important findings in group dynamics and how any teams, be it in business, arts or sports, can attain their goals:

Lesson #1:
We need to have a group of people who are interconnected in a social network and have a history of working together.

Lesson #2:
We need to invite a sprinkling of fresh faces and new ideas - even at the risk of disagreement and discomfort; not a lot, just a few with empowered voices that will provide new perspectives.

Lesson #3:
This relationship of collaborators needs to gather stewing time so that all ideas are taken seriously resulting into a mixture of time-tested methodologies garnished with innovative new concepts.

The end result: Uzzi simply called his measurement "Q":

  1. If a musical was created by a team without any new input, it would have a high Q score.
  2. If a musical was created by a team that had never worked together, it would have a low Q score.
  3. A combination of seasoned pros with enough new faces to make a difference had a median score.

In every case, the first two musicals failed while the third proved to be a winner each time.

Keep that in mind as you collaborate. We apply this principle to our Urban FIRE entrepreneur programs with the hopes that it will produce better-than-average results. Coupled with 40 years of entrepreneurial experience and the latest research on the most significant developments in business strategies, our graduates are equipped with the most complete set of tools to succeed into their new ventures. Each hour of our materials required no less than 60 hours of development time.

It's true that not all graduates launch their businesses right away and for some, taking Urban FIRE is more about honing their employement skills in our new economy; but the results are always significant: our students are better informed with better sustainability for the future. What more can an entrepreneurship program ask for - especially when entrepreneurship needs to be more than a business; it needs to be one's ability to find purpose and passion for living. Those are the best businesses.

Our final class for the year - our award-winning 5-Finger MBA (micro business accelerator) - begins on Saturday, July 14 - each Saturday - for four weeks through August 4. Four hours starting at 9am of the most innovative, visual, communicative method of understanding. So, if you have a business idea that you're ready to move on; there is no better, faster way of organizing your thoughts and improving your concepts.

For the last time, it's offered at $100 - and $50 if your annual salary is less than $12,000 AND you sign up by June 29. (Discount pricing extended to July 4th!) Signups will be taken afterwards at $100 until we max out at 24. If you wanted a serious change this summer, then get the tools to be a changemaker and watch your life take on a whole new meaning.

Find out more about the 5-Finger MBA Program

Please note: this will be the final class in Oakland until further notice. Our next sessions will be taking place at the new Renaissance Marin Entrepreneurship Center in San Rafael.