Taylor Swift, Fearless Rainmaker

By Mo Bunnell

What's On My Mind

Ever forward, always improving.

Part of progress is having a vision of the future.

​Doing the work you want so you can thrive at work.

​Thriving at work so you can build the career you want.

Building the career you want so you can live the life you want.

​You're an expert in something.

​You're spent years honing your craft.

You're really good.

But here's the thing.

To get hired the most for the work you like the most, people have to meet you.

​Know you.

Like you.

Technical skills are important. They're the portal to do meaningful work.

But they're not enough.

​You have to pair technical skills with business development skills.

​Enter today's model of BD greatness.

Record scratch sound...

Taylor Swift.

​Taylor Swift, Fearless Rainmaker.

​We love music at the Bunnells, but there are just a few artists that all four of us enjoy.

​(My Volbeat and deep cut Weezer picks have a short half life.)

​The tops of our family pops: Bronze Radio ReturnAir Traffic Controller and, you guessed it, Taylor Swift.

​Taylor came in through the front door of our two daughters' teenage years and she's still hanging around the house.

So what's she got to do with BD?

​Tayor Swift is a fearless rainmaker.

​Her technical craft: songwriting and performing.

​Her BD craft: running her business and growing her platform.

​My 3 top Taylor BD takes:

  1. Taylor hones her craft and creates.

    She didn't sit on her hands in the pandemic like a lot of other artists -- she released not one, but three albums. Three in one year!

    She moved into folk.

    She learned new skills.

    All three albums reached number one in a 12 month span, breaking Donna Summer's record of two number one albums in a year.
  2. Taylor fanatically grows her platform.

    No shame, I like Taylor's music. Especially her latest two folk records.

    But I'd argue Taylor's as famous because of her marketing and business development efforts as much as her musical abilities.

    No knock on her music, this is a compliment to her BD skills.

    Think of the relationships she's built over the years. From Good Morning America to Apple for marketing. From rappers to country artists for cross promotions.

    She's a marketing maven.

    There's no doubt Taylor is a genius.

    But show me someone that looks like they're "born with it" and I'll show you someone that worked hard to get there.

    Taylor works hard at marketing and BD.
  3. Taylor tests.

    No one, and I mean no one, has ever devalued their back catalog to advance like Taylor had.

    Like Apple killing the iPod to bet on the then unproven iPhone, Taylor devalued her own music that she was getting huge royalties on.

    Her contract disputes with Big Machine Records and now Shamrock Capital led her to the crazy idea of rerecording her back catalog.

    Recording a brand new "Taylor's Version" of all her music so she could own them.

    This was crazy.


    A potential fail in front of the entire planet.

    Would people like it? Respect her? Would it lead to shame? 

    It had never been attempted at this scale. Not even close.

    And it worked.

    Her new rerecording of her 2008 record Fearless had the biggest sales week in the US of any album of 2021.

    You know how many songs from Fearless (Taylor's Version) were on the Hot Country Songs chart?


    The 2008 version of Fearless that Shamrock Capital now owns fell 19% in sales and dropped off the Billboard charts.

    The 2021 Taylor's version?

    Number 1.

    She used her platform to take her content back. 

    ​These are the skills of rainmakers.

​These are the hallmarks of someone creating the career they want.

To live the life they want.

They hone their craft. Ever foward, always improving.

Rainmakers are fanatical about building their platform.

​Meeting people. Being helpful. Finding win/wins.

​Having great technical abilities is important.

​But it's not enough.

​There are a lot of musicians as good or better than Taylor Swift.

​Hey, she's good. Really good.

​But most artists, most technicians, ignore BD.

​Or they think marketing is secondary.

They play music for no one.

Not Taylor.

​She pairs her technical skills with business development.

And she's living the life she wants.

What's Worth Revisiting

We're creating SUCH great content over on the podcast.

Some of my recent favs:

Marissa King, author of Social Chemstry, and I talking about how to ask for help. 

​And how it's one of the most powerful ways to deepen relationships.

Glen Jackson, author of Preeminence, and I talking about trust is a peculiar resource,

And how to get more of it.

Ron Friedman, author of Decoding Greatness, and I talking about how his Decoding Greatness process works. 

​And how to do it efficiently.

​These are short little episodes that pack a punch. Lots of value per minute!

What's Worth Lingering On

You've heard me talk about my friend Ron Friedman's book coming out next week, Decoding Greatness.

really liked this book.

After reading it, I've realized I've been the decoding greatness of others for a long time.

I read Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs three times.

Then I decoded how he thought using his own direct quotes, wording and the HBDI thinking style model.

​That analysis taught me a ton. It was worth every second.
​But Ron's book and my conversations with him have taught me so much.

​We had our live session this week --> 55 minutes of awesomeness, with Ron and I mashing up Decoding Greatness with The Snowball System.

​Decoding the Greatness of Rainmakers.

So fun!


Ron's taught me how to decode faster and better.

And how to adopt what I learn authentically.

Since some of our best inspiration comes from other industries, his book got me thinking about Taylor Swift.

​And I'm more inspired than ever.

There's no need to calm down.

Let's get fearless with our BD.