Linkin Park made a whole lot of money selling streamlined angst anthems to socially maladjusted teenagers during the last few years when large numbers of people still paid for CDs, and they are doing things with that money. Drummer Rob Bourdon founded an “innovation company” called Machine Shop in his garage in 1999, during the band’s early days. And now, in a new Harvard Business Review piece, Machine Shop’s Executive Vice President Kiel Berry traces the ways that Machine Shop has become a tech incubator and venture capital firm. Business-speak basically reads like Sanskrit to me, but the piece is full of sentences like this, a quote from co-frontman Mike Shinoda: “Our goal was to build an internal team of diverse talent to support the non-traditional endeavors the band plans to pursue in the coming years.”
The band and their business ventures were the recent subjects of a Harvard Business School independent study, and the students and professor worked to help the band rebuild Machine Shop into a venture capital firm that “will focus on investing in early-to-growth-stage consumer-focused companies that align with the band’s ethos of connecting people and innovation through tech and design.” They’ve already focused in a lot of futuristic-sounding companies with names like Shyft. And the band will spend the summer touring Chinese stadiums and taking the opportunity to meet with tech companies. So: Go ahead and laugh at these guys trying so hard and getting so far but in the end it not even mattering. But soon enough, they will own all of us.
I’m just hoping this becomes a plotline on season three of Silicon Valley.