Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline and a visionary who has over 750 patents, told me “My advice to CEOs is to pay more attention to history.” As I think about it, one of the greatest lessons on innovation and success comes from none other than the Beatles.
On April 4, 1964 the Beatles made history by having all of the top five songs on the music charts:
#1 “Can’t Buy Me Love,”
#2 “Twist and Shout,”
#3 “She Loves You,”
#4 “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and
#5 “Please Please Me.”
Even with this unprecedented success the Beatles proceeded to completely reinvent themselves in what might be called one of the most profound examples of creative destruction. The result: three years later in 1967 the Beatles created a higher ceiling by reinventing rock n’ roll forever with a new concept of album, and of music itself, in what is broadly considered the greatest rock album of all time — “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The model of creative destruction has been utilized by many companies, including Netflix, who jettisoned their winning mailbox strategy for streaming.
The lesson is clear — great companies shouldn’t be afraid to transform themselves into new levels of greatness.