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铁娘子乐队主唱如何叱咤商业领域

Phil Wahba 2017年12月31日

迪肯森在谈论自己的铁娘子乐队时指出,“我们创建了自身的生态圈,而且变得越来越大。”他自己的商业经营又何尝不是如此?

布鲁斯•迪肯森,威尔士,摄于Cardiff Aviation公司 | Pal Hansen—Contour by Getty Images

在59岁的年纪,大多数摇滚明星都乐意靠着源源不断的版权费,在热带小岛上花天酒地,消磨时光。

但布鲁斯•迪肯森(Bruce Dickinson)是个例外。这位英国 “铁娘子”(Iron Maiden)乐队的主唱(其嗓音造就了重金属经典歌曲《Run to the Hills》和《Wasted Years》)转而利用10个月的巡演间歇,试图为飞机维护修理和飞行员培训公司Cardiff Aviation筹集高达2700万美元的资金。他和别人于5年前共同创建了这家公司,目前担任公司的董事长。

迪肯森说:“对于这家维修公司,我们是认真的,但这需要一定的投资。否则,我们始终将徘徊在资金不足和投资不足的边缘。”(2017年有迪肯森所谓的媒体恶意报道称,Cardiff已开始拖欠工人工资,而且迪肯森不得不从自己腰包掏钱来支付薪资。)

有关财务状况的低调说辞与在演唱会上与大批粉丝互动时“为我尖叫吧!”的夸张吼叫形成了异常鲜明的对比。

At age 59, most rock stars would be happy to while away the time between tours luxuriating on a tropical island as the royalty checks roll in.

Not Bruce Dickinson. The lead singer of British band Iron Maiden, whose voice has propelled songs like “Run to the Hills” and “Wasted Years” into the heavy metal canon, is instead spending a 10-month hiatus from the road trying to line up as much as $27 million in funding for Cardiff Aviation, an airplane maintenance, repair, and ¬pilot training company he cofounded five years ago and which he currently chairs.

“We want to get serious about the maintenance business, and that’s going to require a proper level of investment. Otherwise, we’ll always be just bouncing around underfinanced and undercapitalized,” says Dickinson. (There were media reports in 2017, which Dickinson calls “malicious,” saying that Cardiff fell into arrears on worker pay and that Dickinson had to fund the payroll out of his own pocket.)

The finance-speak couldn’t contrast more starkly with his operatic exhortations for his legions of fans to “Scream for me!” at concerts.

迪肯森在上个世纪90年代干起了第二职业,担任商用飞机驾驶员,如今在乐队巡演时负责开飞机运送乐队和工作人员。他自豪地介绍了公司的二阿手飞机租赁和维护以及飞行员培训业务。他解释说,“飞行员目前十分短缺。”

另一个机遇:小国希望组建其自己的航空公司。因此,Cardiff Aviation所谓的盒中航空公司再次设立了吉布提航空——提供飞机、空乘和维护服务,然后将其交给当地的首席执行官。迪肯森表示,另外两个非洲国家也在考察这一服务。

即便他是巨星,他也得准备好90秒的电梯游说说辞,这样在遇到风投资本家之后就能立即用上。他说“事情不会因为我是布鲁斯•迪肯森而不同,对于每个人来说都是完全一样的。”

诚然,迪肯森并非是唯一一个从事投资职业的音乐明星,例如,U2的保罗(Bono)也是私募股权公司Elevation Partners的执行董事。迪肯森之所以与众不同,原因在于他会全身心地投入到自己所投资的公司当中。

“关键在于重新改造自己,但是不能超出自己的职责范围。”

例如,他会亲自从事Trooper craft ale的产品开发和营销业务,该公司是铁娘子乐队与Robinsons Brewery的合资企业,以乐队最流行的歌曲命名。在与酿酒师共同合作打造啤酒口味时,迪肯森意识到,如果要让Trooper的啤酒产品走的更远,光靠铁娘子这个噱头是不够的。

他说:“如果它只是由铁娘子乐队冠名的啤酒,我们的销量不可能达到1900万品脱,或成为英国超市的顶级品牌之一。”

然而迪肯森还嫌自己不够忙,他还自己掏钱(约合33.5万美元),以种子投资者的身份加入了英国Hybrid Air Vehicles,该公司致力于让巨大的齐柏林式飞艇重返天空。(该公司在11月遭遇挫折,其Airlander 10脱离其锚泊塔升空,后坠毁在田地中,造成两人受伤。迪肯森表示,他对该项目依然有信心,而且“我们会再建一艘”。)

在很久以前,也就是在迪肯森意外地发现自己的摇滚嗓音之前,他曾怀揣着创业的梦想,他在其畅销自传《What Does This Button Do? 》 (Dey Street)中对此进行了详细的描述。在10岁那年,他便开始进行首次创业——Rent-A-Pencil(租铅笔),针对的是那些忘带铅笔的同学。然而,他很快便学到了资本主义残酷的一面:“当我问同学要回我的铅笔和租金时,没有人付钱。”

30多年来,迪肯森运用同样的经营理念,让粉丝们不知疲倦地掏腰包购买铁娘子乐队的专辑和演唱会门票:“关键在于重新改造自己,但是不能超出自己的职责范围。”

他在谈论自己的乐队时指出,“我们创建了自身的生态圈,而且变得越来越大。”他自己的商业经营又何尝不是如此呢?

本文发表于2018年1月1日期《财富》杂志上,标题名为《空中金属》。

译者:冯丰

审稿:夏林

Dickinson, who in the 1990s launched a second career as a commercial airline pilot and now flies Iron Maiden and crew when they are on tour, describes with pride how the company leases and maintains used airplanes and trains pilots. “There is an airline pilot shortage,” he explains.

Another opportunity: smaller countries wanting to build their own airlines. Hence, Cardiff Aviation’s so-called Airline in a Box, which relaunched Air Djibouti—providing aircraft, crews, and maintenance—before handing over the keys to a local CEO. Dickinson says two other African countries are looking at the service too.

His megastardom doesn’t spare him from having to keep a 90-second elevator pitch at the ready in case he meets a venture capitalist. “Nothing’s different because I’m Bruce Dickinson,” he says. “It’s exactly the same as for everyone else.”

To be sure, Dickinson isn’t the only music icon who doubles as an investor: U2’s Bono, for example, is a managing director at private equity firm Elevation Partners. What makes Dickinson unusual is his deep involvement in the companies he invests in.

“The key is to reinvent yourself, but within your own terms of reference.”

He is, for instance, very hands-on in the product development and marketing of Trooper craft ale, a joint venture between Iron Maiden and Robinsons Brewery named for one of the band’s most popular songs. While working with a brewmaster to come up with flavors, Dickinson understood that for Trooper to have longevity, it couldn’t just be a gimmicky beer.

“We would not have sold 19 million pints of beer or been one of the top brands in U.K. supermarkets if it was just an Iron Maiden beer,” he says. The beer is now sold in 50 countries.

And if he weren’t busy enough, Dickinson has also put his own money (about $335,000) as a seed investor into Hybrid Air Vehicles, a British outfit¬ that aims to bring enormous zeppelin-like airships back to the skies. (The company suffered a setback in November when its Airlander 10 broke free from its mooring and crashed into a field, injuring two people. Dickinson says he is keeping the faith and that “we will rebuild.”)

Long before Dickinson accidentally discovered he had a rock star’s voice, he had entrepreneurial ambitions, as detailed in his bestselling autobiography, What Does This Button Do? (Dey Street). At just 10 he started his first venture, Rent-A-Pencil, to take advantage of fellow students who had forgotten theirs. But he soon learned a brutal lesson about how hard capitalism can be: “When I’d ask for my pencils back and for the rent, nobody paid.”

Dickinson relies on the same philosophy that has kept fans buying Iron Maiden records and concert tickets for over three decades: “The key is to reinvent yourself, but within your own terms of reference.”

“We’ve created our own niche, and it’s gotten bigger and bigger,” he says of his band. He could well have been speaking about his business ventures too.

A version of this article appears in the Jan. 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Air Metal.”

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