How to Become the Beyoncé of Your Ecosystem

How to Become the Beyoncé of Your Ecosystem

Alexandra Zagury 4 min

Las Vegas got hit in late August with a true double-header: Cisco Impact aaaand Beyoncé. Roads were blocked for hours while a small city’s worth of chrome-clad Bey fans swarmed their way into Allegiant Stadium (capacity 65K!!) and Cisco’s 20k strong Sales team arrived from around the world.  


Hanging out across the street from the Queen and her ginormous Beyhive got me thinking: What does Beyonce know that the IT Channel needs to know?


Let’s start with the platform, the tech foundation that allows everyone from you to me to Beyoncé to run our apps and processes smoothly.


What’s so cool about this life on the platform? Tech is interconnected. It’s open and extensible–so you can combine random whatevers, with an app just piloted by the leanest imaginable startup, with a sleek new Meraki offering, and put together a rich, bespoke experience.


Beyoncé orchestrates the near-endless opportunities of the platform like a modern-day Jedi. As she puts it, “I’m not a teacher, babe, but I can teach you something.” (Before you read on, you may as well cue up “Schoolin’ Life”—you won’t regret it.) 


Here are three mini lessons in platform essentials from Beyonce:

First, keep moving! 


Would Ms. Knowles-Carter be a thing if she was still doing Destiny’s Child? Please. Bey’s never static. Every album and every tour is fresh and new. She’s an icon but she’s no old school archetype. She changes costumes nine times during each Renaissance Tour show, assuming different roles to bring each song to life. 


The lesson? Embrace roles that suit each partnership and each customer’s needs. Be flexible when you define roles together, but be clear and intentional—think about B’s creative control over every piece of visual and audio content that’s released.


Second, bring the hive. 


Beyoncé is the epicenter of an ultra-cool ecosystem. There are hundreds of thousands of diehard Beyhive fans, who take on specific, complementary roles: digger bees, honeybees, and more. Not to mention the mini-nation of global teams and technologies who bring her music, visuals, merch, and tours to the world. In a world where fans stream music for free, Beyoncé’s robust ecosystem is an economic machine that leads to average ticket sales of $700. Fun fact, her May Stockholm concert bumped up the monthly Swedish inflation rate! 


The lesson? Being part of something bigger, part of an ecosystem, is how you thrive in the world of the platform! We’re way past the days of doing things in isolation. An ecosystem involves rich, interdependent relationships between its many organisms and physical environment. They are the key to adaptation as conditions change. Without ecosystems, this would be a sad and lifeless planet. 


Three, prioritize delivery. 

Beyoncé hasn’t “just” dropped a new CD in decades (sorry, dating myself), if ever. She surrounds her music with visual albums, endless merch, and unforgettable concert tours. 


She drops a lifestyle—an ongoing, immersive experience. Those silvery scenes from her Renaissance Tour? Her fans will never forget that—and she knows that. Heck, she even started it, asking them to bring the bling: “We’ll surround ourselves in a shimmering human disco ball each night.”


Hip-hop writer Dan Runcie nailed it when he wrote, Beyoncé’s “real measure of success won’t be in ‘units sold.’ It will be in the moments created.”


The lesson? It’s about the experience. Remember the human disco ball. Create that for your customers. They’ll even buy their own bling to help!


Okay, time to recap:

  • Quit the archetypes in favor of agile, specialized roles that you define clearly and intentionally 

  • Build (or join) an ecosystem

  • Deliver an experience, not a product

Partners who really navigate this exciting new partner ecosystem are the Beyoncés of the IT world. They’re smart and creative and bold enough to maintain close relationships with their fans, adapt to the cultural moment, and re-create themselves to deliver superstar-worthy experiences time after time. 

* While we’re on the topic of bees: we’ve had an actual beehive on our Cisco Amsterdam office roof since 2012. It’s a “smart hive” of course, equipped with Webex and Meraki cameras, router and switch for real-time sharing of sensor data on temperature, lighting, humidity and more. Only the best for our beehive, too.

Alexandra Zagury 4 min

How to Become the Beyoncé of Your Ecosystem

What does Beyonce know that the IT Channel needs to know?

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