Ryan Leatherbury

Business. Tech. Life

The Business Lesson of Jake Shimabukuro’s Ukulele

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When I bought my first real acoustic-electric guitar, I convinced myself only one with a cutaway would do. Cutaways allow you easier access to the high frets beyond the 12th. Of course, I was far from mastering the first 12.

Enter a guy like Jake Shimabukuro who has pushed the ukulele, a four stringed instrument with a very limited range to unimagined places.



He once called the ukulele the “underdog of musical instruments”. It’s an instrument that most of us associate with simple, happy Hawaiian beach music, but not one that’s featured on a stage.

Beyond the incredible talent, I think there’s a deeper appeal though.

Shimabukuro’s playing reminds us that there is often a huge amount of hidden potential in what seem like limiting circumstances.

It doesn’t always take a prodigy to spot it, but it does take imagination. This applies in life, business, relationships, sports. You name it.

For instance, Uber saw the hidden potential of matching extra supply (people who weren’t using their cars) with demand from people trying to get from A to B. AirBnB did the same for rental homes, cabins and condos. In the same way, when most saw rusting shipping containers, the folks at Container Technology saw the possibility of retrofitting them as pop up restaurants and mobile offices.

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Ryan Leatherbury • December 30, 2014

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