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Coachella: Remote businesses learn from disputes to innovation

Coachella From Disputes To Profits Search Remotely

Want to know how to innovate? How to create an innovative product or service? Business owners of remote online operations have much to learn from the founding of Coachella.

How to innovate? Use Coachella as a business case study

The popular Coachella Music and Arts Festival is happening this weekend. Its a time where famous musicians come together to play live music. There are also areas on the grounds for concert goers to camp.  Owners and entrepreneurs of remote online businesses have much to learn about Coachella and how it was founded. The purpose of this article is to show how disputes can lead to profitable innovation.

Did you know Coachella originated based upon an entertainer and agent dispute?  Thirty years ago (1993), the rock band Pearl Jam protested the fees charged by the distributor of its concert tickets, Ticketmaster. Let’s learn a lesson on how to innovate to greater profits.

Coachella: From conflicted dispute to money-making innovation

What might a shrewd business leader learn? Did Pearl Jam musicians roll up their sleeves to ready for a bloody fist fight? No. They used their brains. Maybe they thought of profits first and revenge later? Instead of scheduling a concert in Los Angeles and using Ticketmaster for the distribution of concert tickets, Pearl Jam decided to hold a concert in at a Polo Club. This move of defiance was a success. About 25,000 concert goers attended. Twenty years later, in 2017 Coachella set attendance records. Up to one-quarter million attendees of the 2017 festival generated revenues of almost $115 million.

Conflict the mainstay to business innovation

Often, if a business has deep pockets, resorting to law suits seems to be the go to option. But when you are a small business owner, remote online business operator, solopreneur, all the cash you make is funneled back into your business. For you, disagreements on terms of a contract doesn’t automatically lead you to head to your attorney’s office. It may not be a viable strategy anyway. How can we turn a lemon into lemonade?  Acts of defiance and protest that eventually become profitable moves aren’t new; but maybe they are rare.

If remote owners of online businesses put on our thinking caps, we can innovate our way out of a disastrous situation. In fact, when our backs are up against the wall, that’s likely when many innovations start. Disruptions are the mainstay of ingenuity. There’s no better way to get our creative juices flowing than a little conflict sprinkled here and there.

The Innovation Code, authored by Jeff and Stanley DeGraff explores the “creative power of conflict;” particularly drawn from team members who hold opposing views. It’s premise is reminiscent  of the parable told by Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. In his story he talked about how rough stones when rubbed against one another in friction, making screeching noises, causing pain and chaos, ultimately leaves smooth gems of the finest quality.

Group think, accusations of microaggressions, complaints of victimization and cancel culture can stifle the exercise of debate and healthy discourse. When we are afraid to discuss problems for fear of causing tension and conflict, then solutions remain elusive.  Intangible. Remote. And therefore, harder to discover.

It is wrong for businesses to view conflict as the enemy

Danya Rumore, PhD, Director of Environmental Dispute Resolution at the University of Utah, School of Law, points out that innovation is thwarted because we often mistake conflict as a curse. We avoid it at all costs because it is viewed as THE problem. She argues:

  • conflict is perceived to be threatening, giving rise to our insecurities
  • fight or flight protective responses are engaged, disengaging our executive functioning
  • emotional and impulsive reactions to perceived threats leads to hard feelings
  • bruised egos and damaged relationships cause us to make bad decisions leading to poor outcomes
  • chances of negative outcomes increases which reinforces our views that conflict is bad

Conflict is a healthy part of life

Rumore concludes by suggesting that we should reframe conflict as being a healthy part of life. As humans we all share the desire to want what is best, however the way in which we go about achieving our goals may vary. This depends upon each individual’s own perspective, desires, needs and resources.

Remote online businesses should embrace conflict

Forbes actually suggests that business leaders should embrace conflict because work tension actually:

  • improves quality of work and product design bringing an amalgamation of different perspectives
  • builds deeper relationships because each participant feels valued for their unique traits and characteristics
  • saves time, energy and resources by uncovering product and service problems before your client does

Research shows employees respond to conflict differently

But conflict between work colleagues are said to be easier to resolve on paper, than in practice. In practical applications, dealing with tensions at work can be quite difficult. For instance, Harvard Business Publishing conducted research to show that employees respond to conflict in the following ways:

  • 36% place blame onto others
  • 28% listen and share perspectives
  • 19% focus on areas of agreement
  • 16% shy away from conflict

In thinking through the research cited by Forbes and the University of Utah, it is important to make effective use of work conflict, contract disagreements, and tension. When we become skilled in better navigating through societal turmoil, upheavals and chaos, we can arise victorious.

Success tips to transform conflict into profitable business ventures

Like a phoenix. According to mythology this prized bird symbolizing life after death. How can you as a remote team leader, online business owner and remote freelancer use alchemy to create an innovative service or product from the ashes of discontent and conflict? Here are a few success tips:

  • Shy away from conflict. When it occurs however, work to engage all of your mental faculties
  • Demonstrate mutual positive regard. When respect is shown, the disgruntled is less likely to hold back crucial pieces of information
  • Be an active listener. Listen for clues, choke points, bottlenecks and strategic barriers
  • Ask questions to delve deeper into the situation. Show curiosity
  • Show empathy and compassion
  • Review collaboratively alternative solutions and/or responsive design in the past that failed and seek understanding as to why
  • Brainstorm together on possible solutions to be tried in the present
  • Seek immediate and continual feedback until a permanent solution and/or responsive design is developed







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