Kanye Should Use These Startup Lessons for DONDA

February 18, 2016

1:41 pm

Whether you loathe or truly despise him, Kanye West has established himself as a successful rapper and a visionary in the eyes of fans, media and music industry. Yeezy declares himself to be many things: designer, fashion trendsetter, manager (of what IDK), and even God’s vessel. However, the one title he can’t claim is a business mogul or being rich for that matter. This past Saturday, Martin Louis the King Jr. West tweeted this bit before going on Saturday Night Live:

Confused as I am? You’re not the only one as fans and reporters are analyzing how Yeezy could be so far in debt that he makes 50 Cent look like he has a good credit score. Even former Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert takes a poke at him.

kanye donda org chart

DONDA‘s chart resembles a diagram from 9-year-old emo kids playing startup after binge watching Silicon Valley, Empire and the Office while high. Oh Great Internet, please let there be a photo of this somewhere. Other than the overwhelming nonsequential, arrangement of boxes supposedly representing an idea of some sort in an ill-advised color palette, DONDA is straight up a hot mess on a plate. I understand West wants to change the world by tackling every sector known to man, but one should know thy limits. As the fate of DONDA is unknown due to the secrecy of the company and Kanye, this would be the perfect time for him to incorporate some startup lessons before it’s too late.

Pick a Framework

Refocus all of DONDA’s efforts towards a singular, unified mission by selecting from the numerous options, such as lean startup methodology, Value map, SWOT, Porter’s Five Forces, business model canvas, GE-McKinsey matrix, BCG matrix, or Taco Bell menu, and do it. Once the objective is clear to the founder and his crew, it will be easier to talk to the target audience and potential investors.

Clarity on Fundraising

Speaking of investors, clearly drafting out the purpose of investors’ money, strategy for each dollar and transparency can go a long way, including closing deals with money bags rather than investors using the opportunity to meet the rapper legend. Any sensible person would totally drop everything to meet an A-list celebrity, even investors. Kanye’s name can easily open doors to the right people, but doesn’t convert to cash in hand.

Find the Customers

Startups tend to hear that their company cast too large of a net, and in DONDA’s case, it’s more of thousand of fishing lines. You can’t effectively do marketing without knowing the customers.

Build the Team

A captain with no crew is a lonely fisherperson. Having the right crew goes a long way.

Of course these are just the tipping points for Mr. West, but it’s a start on the right foot. One more advice: don’t drink your own Kool-Aid. It may become your downfall.

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Highly productive slacker at GrindHub and the general DC tech community. I'm an advocate for cultural and gender diversity in the tech industry. Also, I'm a latin dancer nerd and foodie.

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