I recently read this post by one of my LinkedIn connections. I’m hiring. I’ building out a ROCKSTAR Product Marketing Org. for a ROCKSTAR financial technology company. DM me if you are interested! As a result, I googled to explore the origins of the business buzz word Rock Star.
My research disclosed the expression “like a rock star” surfaced at the turn of the millennium with the popularization of the rise of a “creative class”, people who were going to drive growth via innovation in the 21st century. Rock stars were no longer free-spirited musicians who fronted a famous band playing to sold out stadium crowds and selling millions of records in between drinking and drug binges, smashing guitars and occasionally tossing a TV out of their hotel room. The new rock stars of the 21st century were visionaries, super skilled workers. Human resource management coined the term to label people who were talented and had the expertise to handle repetitive, detail-oriented tasks – technology gurus, social media strategists, B2B telemarketers, sales people and consultants.
I clearly remember the first time I heard the term. I was having a drink with one of my ephemeral social media connections in Philadelphia discussing a digital marketing project I was working on and he said to me: “Bring me on board and I will make you look like a rock star.” I remember saying to myself: “Self, what if I don’t want to be a rock star, what if I just want to be a marketer, one cut above.” Later that evening I went home and compiled a list of the key attributes needed to become a marketer, one cut above:
- Creative – Think “outside the lines.”
- Adaptable – Aggregate information, study marketing trends and embrace change.
- Innovative – There are no bad ideas!
- Strategic – Transform relevant insight into marketing movements.
- Organized – Harmony = balance.
After reviewing my list, it occurred to me I did not want to be a rock star. I wanted to be more like a jazz musician, since jazz musicians are known to improvise.
“I rather be a musician than a rock star.”
- George Harrison