Rock or bust

I wrote a while back about culture and heavy metal. On the morning it was published I got the usual surge in views on the blog but something else happened. This day was a bit different. One of the blog subscribers read it and decided to seek me out. It’s someone I’ve known professionally for a few years but haven’t seen for a while.

They checked me out on LinkedIn and saw where I now worked. They called my organisation and got through to me on the phone. The reason? To see if I wanted to go and see AC/DC at Wembley. They had a spare ticket and in the years that we’ve known each other professionally haven’t shared that we’re both metal fans.

We met up on Saturday, had a great time, chewed the fat on gigs, films, L&D (yes we’re sad) and all things family before we went our separate ways. A great evening, enabled by the use of social.

Helen Blunden asked on her blog this week about how you summarise social. Tell people stories like this one and swap the AC/DC ticket for a learning activity.

It begs the question, is formal/traditional offer anything more than a ticket agency, trying to standardise people’s experiences? Delivery on its terms, through regulated channels?

As we meandered towards the stadium along Wembley Way there were dozens of touts, all looking to buy and sell tickets for the event. Police were there but didn’t do anything – their role was crowd control and there were simply too many touts for the police to have dealt with. They accepted the touts were there.

If L&D attempts to control the supply of content, it engineers what it perceives is a closed market.

But the market isn’t closed; content is available everywhere – free and accessible. It’s like someone streaming the gig on Periscope or opening the gates and letting more people in. By attempting to control supply, is a by product the development of a tout culture – people who help people get to content without going through the formal and traditional channels?

Is it in L&D interest to encourage people who open the market to everyone, taking away the hierarchical authority, disrupting the supply model? Or are they seen as touts, an unofficial and necessary channel, to be tolerated but not encouraged?

Let me know via the comments.



4 responses to “Rock or bust

  1. Love the analogy Andrew and appreciate that my post got you thinking about this. Does L&D have the wrong perception of the market? It seems that it does. However, I also believe that rather than trying to disrupt, make change or shake some feathers of the powers that be, it’s an easier route to try and enforce adherence the status quo. I once describe Learning and Development as the “Brown Cardigan Brigade” – the embarrassing uncle “Uncle Bert” who you have to invite to your fabulous party and I recall saying that I didn’t want to be known as the “Uncle Bert” character…. this post reminded me of this….


  2. Nice piece, great analogy.

    Obviously, in any market there will be those trying to gain access to content or product without paying.

    But is the ticketing industry looking at this the wrong way – obviously the big boys are keen for touts – Ticketmaster are the worlds biggest touts – but for the public, the touts aren’t good. Pushing up prices, and opening fans up to potentially dangerous scenarios such as thefts…

    Legislation has made a small change to the way the online secondary markets work, but this doesn’t seem to have affected prices.

    Maybe it’s time for a technological barrier for the touts. Tickets that can’t be touted or counterfeited…?


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