“No New Friends” – A Network Perspective on How Maybach Music Group’s Friend Policy May Damage their Inventive Music

This song,  and please don’t watch it if a) there are children around b) you’re squeamish about the taken for granted objectification of women in rap c) explicit language offends you, and d) any combination of the above:

The theme is that they don’t want any new friends because they have a tightly formed network based on trust, cooperation and collaboration. They don’t trust new friends to be of any assistance or to have their best interests in mind.

As an organizational decision, this is a terrible idea. Ron Burt has repeatedly shown that with increased network diversity, there are increased returns on investment, that is, you get exposure to more knowledge. David Stark has shown that recombinations of creatives making video games lead to awesomer video games. Mark Granovetter has shown that having some distant acquaintances can serve you better than any close friends or family might in some situations. So, no new friends?

I imagine that based on this policy change–which apparently doesn’t include half-clad women as either people or friends–will soon lead to Maybach Music Group (Rick Ross, Drake, Lil Wayne et al, 2013) relinquishing their throne of creativity in producing inventive music.

As their network becomes isolated and cut-off, the redundancy of ties will create a sort of echo-chamber of information which is likely to involve decreased criticism and perhaps overly sanguine support for mediocre ideas. We can see this occurring through the No New Friends video which recycles trite lyrics from previous songs and using a beat that would be just as at home in any other Drake song so as not to be memorable here. The fact is, we’re already seeing the effect of the No New Friends policy–the future will likely be even less forgiving.

While there is something to be said for operating in isolation when attempting to develop an organizational identity and mission under times of environmental stress or structural vulnerability, Maybach Music Group’s current status does not indicate such risks. They’d be better off developing diverse network ties or else they may end up surpassed by competitor rap music organizations. Perhaps the resurgence of the now philanthropic G-Unit?

Life-altering footnote:

Not sure which Drake is responsible for this video:






My bet is on Sir Francis, who was quoted as saying “No new sailors” (ca 1567).


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