Daily Inspiration: 24 Strategies for 2024 #15 – “Shatter some norms”


“Shatter some norms” – Futurist Jim Carroll

Futurist Jim Carroll is running a series that began November 27, 2023, and will end on January 1, 2024 – ’24 Strategies for 2024.’ Rather than running a trend series for the upcoming year as he has previously, this series will examine a number of his personal beliefs on how to best align yourself with the future. There will be a post each weekday, excluding weekends and holidays, until the series runs its course. You will find it on his blog at https://blog.jimcarroll.com, or on the website https://2024.jimcarroll.com

Let’s talk about Taylor Swift, and what you can learn from her stunning success as you go forward into 2024.

Being named Time’s Person of the Year was just the fitting conclusion to a stunning year of success, well earned over an era of far more than a decade of performing, innovating, and disrupting.

As someone who speaks about innovating and disrupting, I admit that this year, I came close to being a ‘Swiftie,’ as her fans are known, fascinated by her ability to shatter some norms. I first watched her Netflix documentary when it came out a few years ago, and came away fascinated by her business acumen. This year, watching the story unfold, I realized that not only is she a stunning performer at the peak of her career, but she is also one of the most brilliant business executives of our time. Her ability to completely shake things up in terms of how things should be done offers striking lessons in how to succeed on your terms. Like many, I watched the twists and turns of her Eras tour throughout the year; you can’t be on social media and NOT encounter posts from Swifties. I was fascinated by how suddenly, the NFL belonged to her; and was equally stunned by the speed with which she demolished established entertainment business models by bringing her concert tour to the theater and then almost instantly to streaming services.

Check Amazon Prime today – it’s there. I will probably watch it in the next few days.

But first, a story!

I will admit that this year, I twice tried to succeed in the limited concert ticket availability game, signing up for the lottery for concerts in Toronto and Vancouver. I planned to take my two daughters-in-law to the event – one is certainly a Swiftie, and the other is most definitely not. Secretly, I suspect they were quietly horrified at the thought of attending such a concert with this old man, but they did not need to worry – I was, as were many millions of others, unsuccessful in my quest.

That process provided a bit of bit of entertainment, but the most amount of fun came later.

I overheard my Swiftie daughter-in-law speak of going to the Eras theater experience shortly after it was announced. Quietly, one evening over dinner, I asked her what time I should meet them, and where.

For what?” she asked.

For the Taylor Swift concert movie,” I said. “We’re all going to watch it, aren’t we?”

The look on her face at that moment in time was one I will never forget; I suppose she was immediately thinking about how she might politely tell me that I was not allowed to attend, or how she might explain to her girlfriends why her father-in-law was in attendance, singing and dancing in the aisles. (What a vision!) What a magical bit of fun I had for a few moments until I told her I was joking and that I had no plans to go.

I digress. Yes, learning from Taylor Swift’s 2023 is strategy #15 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. Shatter some norms!

First, a recap of her success; I’m sure you’ve seen all the news and all the numbers, but they are worth repeating:

  • Eras Tour: The Eras Tour, which kicked off in March 2023, is projected to become the biggest tour of all time, with a projected gross of perhaps $2.2 billion by the time it is all done; this includes over $200 million in merchandise sales. If you own a friendship bracelet, you’ll know.
  • Economic Impact: The total economic impact of Swift’s tour is estimated to be close to $5 billion, including ticket sales, travel, outfits, food, and drink. Each Era show generates around $36 million in direct and indirect spending for the local economy, supporting more than 300 jobs per show. Entire national governments – Presidents and Prime Ministers have publicly pleaded with her to bring her show to town
  • Revenue Generation: Data indicates that the average revenue generated per room in US states during Swift’s visits exceeded the national benchmark by over 4 percentage points. In these states, the revenue per room increased by approximately 7% on average during the months of her visits compared to the same periods the previous year.  That’s just hotels – the same thing happened with air travel, local restaurants and transportation, and just about everything else.
  • Streaming Impact: Swift’s tour has driven up the demand for streaming services, with her online catalog seeing a nearly 80% spike in streams in the weeks after the tour kicked off. This has also had a positive spillover effect on other artists, as her fans discover new songs and genres through her curated playlists and collaborations.
  • Contribution to GDP: Bloomberg Economics estimated that the tours from Swift (and Beyoncé, another innovation superstar), combined would add an estimated $5.4 billion to the US gross domestic product.

Let’s not forget that suddenly, she singlehandedly redefined the concept of social media during the year, and pretty much established the story of the year for the NFL. Countless new fans were drawn to the Kansas City Chiefs to spot her in the stands, watching her new romantic interest. Here’s a photo of her with some guy.

Indeed, some of the best social media moments of the year – a year driven by awful posts as the right-wing took over major platforms – came from women trolling the men in their lives as to how Taylor had suddenly elevated to prominence this unknown NFL guy by the name of Travis Kelce. LOL!

That the tour and her success were profound will certainly be studied in business courses for years to come, and rightly so, because if she has taught us anything, it’s to shatter some norms.

  • refuse to accept the status quo: her effort to re-record her old albums as an innovative way to regain control of her music masters is a stunning example of brilliant strategic thinking. When the ownership rights to her songs were transferred in one of those circumstances that pervades the entertainment industry, she didn’t simply accept that she would have to accept it – she set out to completely re-record all of those songs in a bold move to reassert her ownership, the first artist to ever do so.
  • refuse to follow existing business models: she didn’t follow the traditional entertainment model of releasing a concert tour video a few years after the tour ended – she recorded and released said video while the tour was still underway. Even better, she didn’t wait until years after the theater release was finished for the streaming version to come out – she released that almost immediately.
  • don’t back down: she refused to back down in the face of a withering campaign from the right-wing world to back away from the social and diversity issue she supports, and indeed, during the year, seemed to double down on her vocal support for LGBTQ+ rights and other issues.
  • continually reinvent: the entire tour was an overview of her music career; at the age of 34, she demonstrated an amazing ability to consistently reinvent her image and musical style, pivoting effortlessly from persona to persona and genre to genre, an example that could be followed by so many as the theme of career and personal reinvention becomes increasingly critical as a success factor
  • fuse leadership and emotional intelligence: Swift’s ability to connect with her fans on a deep emotional level through her music demonstrates a stunning level of emotional intelligence. She writes about complex emotions and personal experiences, allowing her fans to relate to her in a way that defines the Swiftie experience. This shows the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership – if only today’s CEO or another leadership group could display a similar realistic connection
  • authenticity, always: I’ll admit I’ve been caught up in watching Instagram, TikTok, and other video sources of her Eras tour moments, and one thing is clear – she is authentic and genuine, which is a fact that resonates with her fans. Business leaders today could learn a lot from her as to how to achieve authenticity in leadership style, and how to play to one’s strengths as a leader.
  • double down on resilience: if you watch the Netflix documentary on her story, or have followed her career in any way, you will see a story of resilience in the face of determined hostility, aggression, and controversy. (Kanye, anyone?). She’s faced numerous challenges and controversies throughout her career but has consistently demonstrated an ability to overcome them – with the result that her ability to bounce back from setbacks and maintain her artistic integrity is an inspiring story for all of us.
  • philanthropy and kindness. She shattered the norms of typical tour kindness, donating significant sums to local food-banks and charities. Not only that, she didn’t give her trucking tour crew a few thousand dollars a the end of the tour as is the norm – she game each of them $100,000 or more, changing their entire life trajectory in doing so.

Look, my thoughts here aren’t the gushing emotions of a Swiftie, but I will admit that I am close to becoming one, particularly as someone who studies and speaks about innovation and business.

Taylor Swift offers up a stunning example of the right type of leadership qualities for today – she’s a role model, innovator, disruptor, bold thinker, and transformative thinker. There is so much to earn from what she has done that others can adopt.

Above all, it’s to shatter the norms.

Try and do the same into 2024.

Shake off your past, and shake it into a new future. (-;



THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.