The PR Industry’s Biggest Deadheads


Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott and Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan just released their new book, “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History.”
The authors provided PRNewser with an exclusive excerpt from the book, which we’ve posted after the jump.
Also, to coincide with the release, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of the PR industry’s biggest Deadheads. This list is according to our 100% un-scientific ranking system.
Click through to get the full story.

The executives are ranked in no particular order, and PRNewser thanks them for sharing their stories with us. Note: their inclusion on this list does not imply an endorsement of the book, although we’ll guess that they may like it.
If you’re not on this list, and would like to be added, we will consider updating it with a “second edition.” Email us or add your thoughts in the comments.
Shel Holtz, Principal, Holtz Communication + Technology
What was your favorite Grateful Dead experience?
My favorite experience would be the last show the boys ever played in California, at Shoreline Amphitheater on June 4, 1995. We brought our kids and friends who attended with us brought theirs. Ben was 14, Rachel was 6, but they can both say they saw the Dead, which performed at a higher level than usual that night for this late stage of their journey.

My daughter had her hair braided by some girl wandering the crowd offering braids for $5. It was a beautiful night in Mountain View, California and all was right with the world. Oh, and the friends we were with were printers whom I’d met because they handled some of my work at the time.
A lot of people say to companies: “Be like the Grateful Dead, give something away for free (the live show recordings) to entice people to buy other products (tickets to live shows). Can you give an example that sticks out to you of where this can, or maybe more interestingly can’t, work for other companies/organizations?
One of these days I’m going to write a post titled, “Everything I know about business I learned from the Grateful Dead.” I don’t know if you saw the Atlantic Monthly piece, “Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead.”
There’s a lot more to the Dead’s business savvy than giving music away. The connection with the fans, the special accommodations (like selling tour ticket packages for the tour-heads), these are things a lot of working-class artists have discovered in the social media era. The Dead did it with printed publications, post cards and telephone hot lines in the days before computers infiltrated the household.
In any case, I once heard John Perry Barlow speak. Barlow wrote lyrics for Bob Weir and is part of the Grateful Dead Family.
He’s also a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which was the focus of the talk he gave at an International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) international conference in the early days of the Net. He made little reference to the Dead until somebody asked about the risk to copyright in the digital world. Here’s what he said (from memory, not a literal quote):

At some point, the Dead decided to let Deadheads tape concerts. It wasn’t a hard decision. We were a hippie band, it wasn’t about the money, and it was bad karma to throw a Deadhead out of a show. But people started trading and playing the tapes, which exposed our live music to a lot of people who’d only heard the studio version of “Truckin” on the radio. That brought a lot more people into the shows, and we moved from clubs to concert halls to arenas to stadiums. We all became millionaires because we gave the music away.