“Who is the Grateful Dead and why do they keep following me?”
I remember watching the 1987 New Years Eve show and a taper named Gus made that comment during that NYE show. Looking back I now find the comment to be both hilarious and enlightening especially if you view it in today’s era of social sharing.
My friends and I traveled all over the place to see the Dead and we met a bunch of new people along the way. Sometimes we didn’t even realize they weren’t a part of our “caravan” until we were heading home and would mention “how nice your friends were.” We then got the response – “What do you mean? They weren’t your friends?” We all just thought someone in our crowd knew them. Hey, it was all about having fun and making connections, and we did. So it’s all good.
A few things about knowledge sharing and collaboration I picked up while following the Grateful Dead.
We did some of our best networking over grilled cheese sandwiches, lines at the port-o-potties and songs about you guessed it… “Grill cheese, Grill Cheese… Grill Cheese me in, I’ve been on tour starving for days, Grill Cheese me in” (you must sing it in the tune of “Don’t Ease Me In”, if you don’t it’s not going to make any sense at all). Really, who knew Ken from Mars was actually some guy from Pennsylvania—my friend Dave did. They met at a show and then continued to tape at the shows and meticulously tracked each show and set. Their bootleg collections were infamous. They knew exactly when a certain song was played… “Terrapin Station, oh yeah, they played that during the second set, fourth song in. I remember because the sky opened up and the sun blasted through the clouds… what a revelation I had at that moment”… Hmmm OK, I think the home grown merchandise you bought in the parking lot must have kicked in. The best thing is they shared their tapes with anyone who wanted them, and if they didn’t have a particular show you wanted, they would actually find it for you, from their matrix of tapers.
The Lot was a centralized asphalt platform of content, collaboration, information and more. It was a phenomenal social sharing hub that included music, questionable food, home grown merchandise, interesting conversation and a place to connect with old and new friends. So where am I going with this? Social Sharing. You set up camp and your shop in one of the many isles in the parking lot. It was the only place you would ever think of buying your still cherished collection of Grateful Dead T-shirts (Store bought? No thanks). When we think about Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration today what comes to mind- Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more, we should take a look back at the information we were able to stumble upon in a parking lot at a Grateful Dead show and quite frankly be in awe with how quickly we advanced since then. It’s pretty amazing!
Here are a few of the things we shared in our localized social community (THE LOT), without today’s convenient ways to share and find similar information.
- Information on where to find the cleanest facilities (even if it was the woods, just watch out for picker bushes). Now there’s an App for that.
- We knew which Lot vendor had the coldest drinks and freshest veggie burritos; because they were recommended we usually ate at that car.
- New friendships formed and then even more when you met their travel companions
- Free impromptu concerts on top of cars
- Sharing content of each show that included full set lists
That’s a lot of knowledge picked up at a Dead show and shared by followers, fans, vendors and the like, leading to great insight and experiences about how to make the next leg of the tour better. The Lot where most social networking was done may have defined the way we collaborate and learn from each other. – Peace Out!