‘We Built This City …’

Go Lean Commentary

There are 3 kinds of people:

  1. Those who make things happen
  2. Those who watch things happen
  3. Those who wonder “What happened?”

VIDEO # 1http://youtu.be/K1b8AhIsSYQ – We Built This City on Rock and Roll

Music video by Starship performing We Built This City. (C) 1985 Sony Music Entertainment.
A Number 1 song in the US, Canada and Australia. In 2011 a Rolling Stone magazine online poll named this as the worst song of the 1980s. – Song facts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1248

Needless to say the ones who build a city, society or country are from that first group identified above: The “movers and shakers” that make things happen. But reality sets in and teaches us that not all people make up that first group; it may very well only be 10 percent (the Talented Tenth) or maybe even just the One Percent. The majority are constituted in the next 2 groupings. This first group though is the focus of this commentary. Make no mistake, when a community suffers societal abandonment, this “mover-shaker” group is always the first to leave.

This is the Caribbean’s current disposition.

According to the song in the foregoing VIDEO #1, the “city” was built on “Rock-and-Roll”. What city exactly is being referred to? The song describes a metonym of any American city with lyrics describing a city built on rock n’ roll music. The lyrics explicitly mention the Golden Gate Bridge and refer to “the City by the Bay”, a common moniker for the recording artists’ Starship’s hometown of San Francisco, California. However, the lyrics also refer to “the City That Rocks”, a reference to Cleveland, Ohio, and “the City That Never Sleeps”, a reference to New York City. [Lastly, the reference as a destination for “runaways” is iconic for Los Angeles].  Capitalizing on this ambiguity, several radio stations added descriptions of their own local areas when they broadcast the song, or even simply added their own identity in its place. – ‘We Built This City On Rock and Roll’“, OddCulture, Retrieved June 2, 2011.

The “city” reference can apply to any Caribbean city as well.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean champions the cause of building and optimizing Caribbean communities, cities included. The book uses the tagline “a better place to live, work and play”. Building a city involves work – see VIDEO #2 below. Rock-and-Roll is clearly a playtime activity. All of this makes the community a great place to live.

One city is identified in the book is Freeport, the Bahamas 2nd city (Page 112). This metropolis has a history of fostering great musical artists in “Rock and Roll” and profiting from the investment (T-Connection, Johnny Kemp with the band Foxfire, and others). The city has now endured hard times and needs a renaissance, a rebirth perhaps based on its “Rock and Roll” upbringing. Don’t you remember

The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), a technocratic federal government to administer and optimize the economic/security/ governing engines in the homeland of the region’s 30 member-states. The CU strives to elevate all of Caribbean society and culture. The Go Lean…Caribbean clearly recognizes that Caribbean culture is unique … and exquisite. In addition, to “rock and roll”, the Caribbean features mastery of 169 different musical genres; imagine reggae, calypso, salsa, merengue and the “mambo” featured in the lyrics of the featured song of this commentary (see VIDEO above):

Marconi plays the Mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember…

(Marconi refers to the inventor of the radio, Nobel Prize Winner Guglielmo Giovanni Marconi; (1874 – 1937)).

At the outset, the Go Lean roadmap recognizes the value and significance of building communities with the assets and strengths of the Caribbean people and catering to the ‘games people play’. There is no doubt the region excels with music; this intent was pronounced early in the book with these statements in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12 & 14):

xiii.  Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxxii.  Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

The Caribbean needs the people who would make things happen. We have lost many of them in the past to the brain drain and societal abandonment. We now declare that we want them back. Failing that, we must keep the next generation at home. This point was also pronounced in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 13) with this statement:

xix.  Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit…

The Go Lean roadmap was constructed with the community ethos in mind to forge change and build up the communities, plus the execution of related strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to make the change permanent. The following is a sample of these specific details from the book related to building up the music eco-system:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Choose Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Around Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Vision – Invite Diaspora to the Caribbean Homeland Page 46
Strategy – Mission – Celebrate the Music, Sports, Art, People and Culture of the Caribbean Page 46
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Re-boot Freeport Page 112
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate to the Caribbean Page 118
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean Region Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 136
Planning – Reasons Why the CU Will Succeed Page 137
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Local Government Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications Page 186
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood Page 202
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Arts Page 230
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Music Page 231
Appendix – Copyright Infringement – Catching Music Thieves – Protecting the Music Business Page 351

This Go Lean commentary previously featured subjects related to developing the eco-systems of the music/show business, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3568 Forging Change: Music Moves People
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2415 The Broadway Musical ‘The Lion King’ Roars into History With its Impact
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1909 Music Role Model Berry Gordy – No Town Like Motown
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=866 Caribbean Music Man Bob Marley: The legend lives on!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=676 Introduction of Bahamian ‘Carnival’ – The New Quest to Build on Music

This Go Lean roadmap calls for heavy-lifting to build up Caribbean communities, by shepherding important aspects of Caribbean life, beyond music and/or show business. In fact, the development roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book focuses primarily on economic issues, but it recognizes that music, in its many genres can build a city, community and nation. But the quest to re-build, re-boot and re-tool the Caribbean will be more than just song-and-dance. No, the Go Lean roadmap describes the heavy-lifting of many people, organizations and governments. But the goal is conceivable, believable and achievable. We can build our cities on rock-and-roll (music), art, sports, culture, education and heritage. We can make the region a better place to live, work and play; and have fun doing it.


Download the book Go Lean…Caribbean now!


VIDEO # 2 – http://youtu.be/DTvpikMIs3Q – “We Built This Business” – ITT Commercial, 1990

Published on Aug 21, 2012 – The much-maligned Starship hit single “We Built This City” (described by some as among worst pop songs of all time) is re-interpreted in September 1990 with this commercial for ITT, an amorphous conglomerate then promoting its acquisition of The Hartford Financial Services Group.

Appendix – Song Lyrics:

“We Built This City” was written by Page, Martin George / Taupin, Bernard J.P. / Lambert, Dennis / Wolf, Peter F..

- Photo 1

Say, “You don’t know me or recognize my face”
Say, “You don’t care who goes to that kind of place”
Knee deep in the hoopla sinking in your fight
Too many runaways eating up the night

Marconi plays the Mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

Someone always playing corporation games
Who cares they’re always changing corporation names
We just want to dance here, someone stole the stage
They call us irresponsible, write us off the page

Marconi plays the Mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

It’s just another Sunday, in a tired old street
Police have got the choke hold, oh, then we just lost the beat

Who counts the money, underneath the bar
Who rides the wrecking ball in two rock guitars
Don’t tell us you need us, ‘cos we’re the ship of fools
Looking for America coming through your schools

Don’t you remember
(‘Member, ‘member)

Marconi plays the Mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

(We built, we built this city)
Built this city
(We built, we built this city)
(We built, we built this city)
Built this city
(We built, we built this city)


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